After 27 years, Central Arkansas on Wednesday retired the jersey of its biggest star, Scottie Pippen.
The Bears hung the former Chicago Bulls star's No. 33 jersey from the rafters during a ceremony at halftime of their game against Nicholls State in Conway, Ark.
"No player can ever set a goal of having his number retired," Pippen said. "Those are things that are given to you through the organization or institution. To have this honor is a great feeling. I had a lot of great years here at UCA. There were a lot of times that I didn't feel like I was going to reach my goal, I felt like I wasn't going to get the recognition, but doors and opportunities kept opening up for me."
Before winning six NBA titles with the Bulls and playing on two Olympic Dream Teams, Pippen was a two-time NAIA All-American for the Bears. He famously started his collegiate basketball career as the Bears' team manager, eventually earning a scholarship and becoming an NBA lottery pick when the Seattle SuperSonics selected him with the fifth pick in the 1987 NBA draft, then traded him to the Bulls.
"The first thing I thought about was that this is the second jersey I have hanging like that [the Bulls retired his jersey in 2005]. I consider this on that level," Pippen was quoted as saying in the (Conway, Ark.) Log Cabin Democrat.
"Then I thought I made it; I did," he said. "I accomplished a lot of things -- as any player would want to accomplish. This is as great of an honor as any player could ever receive, higher than any All-American or gold medal."