Chicago Scottie Pippen did his best to check his emotions. It didn't work.
Surrounded by Michael Jordan and other former teammates and coaches, an emotional Pippen fought back tears as the Chicago Bulls retired his number 33 during halftime of Friday's game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
"I want to let you know that you all have been a part of it," Pippen said during the ceremony.
His number is the fourth to hang from the rafters, joining Jordan's 23, Bob Love's 10 and Jerry Sloan's 4. Phil Jackson and Jerry Krause, the coach and general manager during the championship years, also have banners hanging from the rafters.
It was no coincidence the Bulls chose this night to honor Pippen, with Jackson and the Lakers in town.
"He was a great student and a really fine leader on the basketball court," Jackson said before the game. "He directed a lot of what happened, he was very much one of the reasons why we were successful over those six championships."
Teammates such as Horace Grant, Dennis Rodman and Toni Kukoc sat near midcourt, as did Jackson, former Bulls assistants and Pippen's high school and college coaches. One notable absentee was former teammate and current Bulls general manager John Paxson, who was on a scouting trip.
A highlights package aired during the ceremony, as did taped messages from Paxson, commissioner David Stern, former Bulls coach Doug Collins and Charles Barkley.