Scottie Pippen is coming back — to a small screen near you. Only for a night, and not on a court. But, as he was when he was on his way to winning six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls, Pippen is showing up as a lethal weapon.
Pippen is portraying himself on Fox’s Lethal Weapon series, which, like the film versions, is a buddy cop extravaganza. The show, in its second season, stars Damon Wayans, and, not to give too much away, Pippen comes between Wayans’ Roger and his wife, Trish, played by Keesha Sharp. But are his acting skills as sharp as his defensive skills were during his 17-year career as one of the most influential athletes of all time? He’d rather you be the referee on that one.
You’ve done this before, portraying yourself on a popular television show. Is it more pressure-filled stepping onto a soundstage or onto a basketball court?
It’s different. I’m not as comfortable in the acting field as I am on the basketball court. But this was a situation where I felt very comfortable because I knew I was working with people who are very established in the business.
What is your favorite throwback TV show?
Sanford and Son.
What is the last TV show that you binged?
I’m not really big on a lot of shows. I’m more of a sports guy … I watch more sports than anything. But I guess I watched a little bit of Empire. That counts.
Who’s your favorite athlete of all time?
That’s a tough question right there. As a kid, I enjoyed watching Dr. J — Julius Erving. He was probably one of my favorite athletes of all time. … He inspired me to want to play in the NBA.
Do you have a favorite athlete that’s currently playing right now?
I don’t really have a favorite player, other than my kids. I enjoy the game of basketball. I like watching all of the players play.
Is there another sport you think you would have excelled in?
Probably football. Receiver. I’m a big dude. My height is a strength. I think I would have been pretty good, based on my height and my speed.
What would you tell your 15-year-old self, knowing everything that you know now?
Were you working hard at 15?
When I was 15, I really didn’t get the game. I was a kid that enjoyed playing when time permitted. I wasn’t like kids are today. They’re more into developing at an early age.
What is the best piece of advice that you’ve ever received from someone?
To believe in myself. And to not give up. That’s advice I got from my high school coach.
What is something that you learned playing basketball that you still carry with you to this day?
Just working out. Just being healthy and realizing that it’s not just about you playing sports and doing it for your crowd. It’s good to have a healthy life.
If you had a theme song, what would it be and why?
“I Believe I Can Fly” by R. Kelly. I just like the song. It also came out early in my career … those times. It was a song for Space Jam and about Michael Jordan. … It was definitely a great song from the movie.
What kind of basketball fan are you?
I just watched a game and enjoy it now! I’m not a crazy fan. I just watch it for entertainment. I’m not gonna beat up my team … I’m still a Chicago Bulls fan. I’ve been employed by them, so I think they’ll always be my favorite.
Who’s your favorite superhero?
Superman. Everybody’s favorite hero!
Do you remember the first concert you ever went to?
I vaguely remember … I don’t even remember who was even performing. My classmates threw a little outdoor concert. But I don’t remember even who performed.
What about the last concert you went to?
I think it was Kanye.
What are you looking forward to in 2018?
Just being healthy, and happiness. I’m not going to try to do anything bigger than that. Just staying healthy and getting through life.
What will you always be a champion of?
People look at my career and they will know what I’m a champion of! That’s already been marked.