Updated: June 3, 2012 8:21AM
When Michael Jordan left the Bulls in 1993 to pursue a baseball career, it was by choice. Nonetheless, Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen did his best to compare the loss of Jordan to what the Bulls will encounter for the rest of the playoffs without Derrick Rose.
“It would be easy to hang your heads right now,” Pippen wrote in a letter to the team. “You could lose sight of the ultimate goal and give up before the rest of the games have even been played. But I know that’s not even a consideration for this group.”
Pippen justified the assertion by citing the example Rose set for the rest of the team, not by what the Bulls have been saying since Rose’s injury.
“Reflect on what you have brought to the table for your team all season long and why you’re a valuable member of the Bulls,” Pippen wrote. “Because all of you have contributed to this team’s incredible success. Ask yourself what you can do for the team moving forward.
“It’s going to be all about grinding it out moving forward.
“It’s been the effort of the group, as well as a tremendous job by the coaching staff, which has gotten us to this point. And it’s exactly why I feel good about this team right now. You’re a group that remains together. You’ve repeatedly lifted each other up when a teammate has fallen.”
Though the Bulls have publicly united as a team and said their goals remain the same, Pippen challenged them to prove that on the court.
“[Injuries] gave members of the bench an opportunity to step forward as you did all season long,” Pippen wrote. “And every single individual on this roster has shown that they can make positive contributions to winning.”