Rasheed Wallace admits expectations when Scottie Pippen joined Blazers in ’99
There were a lot of expectations from the Portland Trail Blazers when they acquired six-time champ Scottie Pippen in the 1999 off-season. And the man sitting in the front seat of all the on-going changes to the team was rising star Rasheed Wallace who, at first, didn’t know what to expect from the Hall of Famer.
"I thought he was going to be a little stuck-up, but he wasn't. He was a down-to-earth dude, and personally he helped me, he helped us."
— Sportsnet 590 The FAN (@FAN590) June 11, 2020
“I thought he was going to be a little stuck-up, but he wasn’t. He was a down-to-earth dude, and personally he helped me, he helped us.” Wallace told the The Good Show podcast in Sportsnet.
Pippen was coming off an uneventful 1-year stint with the Houston Rockets after 11 very successful seasons with the Chicago Bulls when the Blazers traded for him. Before Pippen joined the team, the Blazers were slowly gaining momentum in the league as Wallace led the team to a Western Conference Finals appearance, only to be swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the 1999 playoffs.
“We were a good team (but) with his leadership at certain points deep in the season, that helped us. Certain games he won for us, being that leader. Being that spoken voice in that locker room and of course, you’d be a fool to not listen to a man who just won six championships and was a key part of that.” Wallace said.
The new and improved Blazers had a great season that year as they continued to rebuild with Pippen and Wallace leading the font court. The team was able to finish the regular season 3rd in the West with a 59-23 record. They were eventually booted out of the playoffs by Pippen’s old mentor Phil Jackson and the Los Angeles Lakers in the conference finals.