Central Arkansas retires Scottie Pippen's jersey
January 21, 2010 – Chicago Bulls legend and former University of Central Arkansas great Scottie Pippen, the school’s most recognized alumnus, had his No. 33 jersey retired in a halftime ceremony in Conway during the men’s basketball game on Wednesday night. With a record crowd of 5,297 in attendance at the Farris Center, the Bears notched their first Southland Conference win of the season, beating the Nicholls Colonels 64-50.
Pippen was a two-time NAIA All-American at UCA (1986, 1987) and a six-time NBA champion with the Chicago Bulls. He was part of the original Dream Team that dominated the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain, and also played on the Dream Team II in 1996 in Atlanta.
“I remember the night in December 2005 when the Bulls retired my number and will never ever forget it,” Pippen wrote in his column at Bulls.com earlier in the week. “But the college years were a different phase of my life and that is why this week will mean so much to me.
"For me, getting your number retired is the greatest accomplishment," he said. "There is no accolade with more significance that you can receive from an organization or school. Whether it was my four years at Central Arkansas or all my seasons with the Bulls in Chicago, it’s a sign of respect for what I have done. Defensive awards and accolades aside, to have your jersey retired puts you in a position where you’ll be known forever.”
Pippen, a walk-on manager from tiny Hamburg, was discovered by then-UCA head coach Don Dyer and turned into a two-time All-American and a dominant player in the Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference. Two stunning pre-draft camp performances made him the No. 5 player chosen in the 1987 NBA Draft. He was picked by the Seattle SuperSonics, who then traded him to the Bulls.
Teaming with Michael Jordan, Pippen helped the Bulls win three consecutive NBA championships from 1991-93 and three more from 1996-98. He was a seven-time NBA All-Star and was named one of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players of all-time in 1997.
“It’s really where it all started,” Pippen said of his time at Central Arkansas. “When I grew up, I was just another kid who wasn’t going to college. I didn’t have any scholarship offers and there were times I wasn’t even thinking about basketball. I just wanted to be in a positive environment and have a situation where I could lead a good life. Basketball ultimately gave me that.”