For some, the sight of a diamond on an NBA player’s earlobe makes them feel like they’re watching glimmering treasure chests being opened. For others it’s became less about jewels and more about justice – how could someone be so wealthy yet have so much inequality? Why are players often paid millions to play one game while their teammates aren’t even guaranteed contracts? These questions drive the interest in “He Blinded Me With Those Diamonds,” which is co-authored by basketball player Kyrie Irving.

The “she blinded me with science lyrics” is a song by the band ‘He Blinded Me With Those Diamonds’. The song talks about how the girl in question blinded him with her beauty.

Scottie Pippen had lost his ability to be a top player on a championship contender by the year 2000. He did, however, bring championship experience to a Portland Trail Blazers club on the verge of a breakout.

Pippen’s dissatisfaction with former Houston Rockets teammate Charles Barkley, as well as the resulting animosity between the two, drove the former Chicago Bulls star to seek a move. He wound up in Portland, where he was surrounded by up-and-comers like Rasheed Wallace and Damon Stoudemire, as well as seasoned pros like Steve Smith, Arvydas Sabonis, and Detlef Schrempf. The combination of young and senior leadership yielded a lot of success.

During the regular season, the Blazers won 59 games and advanced to the Western Conference Finals. After going down 3-1 against the Los Angeles Lakers, they needed motivation. Pippen did it in a flamboyant fashion, but the result was genuinely stunning.

Before a must-win Game 5 in the 2000 Western Conference Finals, Scottie Pippen showed his Blazers teammates his title rings.

NBA legend and former Portland Trail Blazers great Scottie Pippen looks on during a game in December 2000

NBA legend and former Portland Trail Blazers great Scottie Pippen looks on during a game in December 2000 In December 2000, Scottie Pippen grins on the field during a game against the Golden State Warriors | Jed Jacobsohn/Allsport

Throughout the first several games of the Western Conference Finals in 2000, Portland seemed lethargic. After a 29-point victory in Game 2 helped the Blazers tie the series, they lost the next two games and were forced to bow out.

Scottie Pippen realized he needed to take action. He used his championship expertise to deliver his colleagues a simple but powerful message.

Pippen proudly displayed his six championship rings with the Bulls as a reminder of what Portland aimed for. Bonzi Wells, a former Blazers swingman, provided a better explanation (h/t ESPN).

“Those diamonds completely blinded me.”

–Bonzi Wells, via ESPN, on Scottie Pippen displaying his championship rings to his Blazers colleagues in 2000.

Pip seemed to imply that he wasn’t content with only six rings. Despite his dissatisfaction with Michael Jordan’s depiction of the Bulls dynasty, he had already attained the ultimate aim of winning a championship. Scottie’s Blazers teammates were mostly without rings, and he undoubtedly recognized that such a gesture would encourage them more than any pep talk.

The Blazers performed excellently with their backs against the wall. In Game 5, Pippen led by example, igniting a stunning comeback.

In Game 5, Pippen led the Blazers to victory, pushing the Lakers to the verge of elimination.

Pippen issued a message to his teammates before the game. He was about to make another message to the Lakers.

The Hall of Fame forward had one of his greatest performances of the season. Pippen finished the game with 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting, six rebounds, and three assists. On defense, he was all over the place, recording six thefts and smashing four Laker shot attempts.

Portland capitalized on Pippen’s vigor, especially on defense. The Blazers controlled the perimeter and pressured LA’s guards and wings, but Shaquille O’Neal dominated in the inside. Before fouling out, Kobe Bryant scored 17 points on 4-of-13 shooting and committed six turnovers. Despite Shaq’s effective scoring, the Lakers shot 38 percent from the field.

The Blazers suddenly had a chance to tie the series in Game 6 at home. They accomplished just that, with Wells scoring 20 points in only 18 minutes off the bench to lift Portland.

In Game 7, the Blazers seemed to be on their way to completing the historic comeback. They had LA on the ropes with a 13-point lead going into the final stanza. Portland, on the other hand, broke apart.

The Lakers beat the Blazers 31-13 in the fourth quarter to go to the NBA Finals, with Kobe’s classic lob to Shaq finishing the comeback. Portland went nearly seven minutes without scoring after missing 13 consecutive field-goal tries.

The Blazers fell with an epic collapse after scraping and clawing their way back into the series. Portland never recovered, and Pippen squandered his last shot at a championship.

The Blazers started to fall apart nearly as fast as they ascended to the top of the Western Conference.

Pippen’s ring-flashing almost ignited a Cinderella run to the Finals. In retrospect, though, it signifies something quite different.

Even after the sad playoff loss in 2000, the Blazers seemed poised to challenge the Lakers in the years ahead. However, before the 2000-01 season, general manager Bob Whitsitt made an odd choice to mix things up. He swapped Brian Grant for an out-of-shape and elderly Shawn Kemp. In return for Dale Davis, Whitsitt also traded a young Jermaine O’Neal to the Indiana Pacers.

Following Kemp and Davis’ complaints about playing time, such changes contributed to the team’s deterioration. Despite having a blossoming star at point guard in Amar’e Stoudemire, Whitsitt signed Rod Strickland, putting the team’s future in jeopardy. Mike Dunleavy was accused by certain players, notably Pippen, for his failure to keep things together.

In any case, the Blazers went on to lose 11 of their last 17 games. Kemp attended a recovery center after his career was cut short due to drugs, and Bonzi Wells tore his ACL. Portland was seeded seventh and was swept in the first round by the Los Angeles Lakers. Everything went worse from there, with Portland getting the moniker “Jail Blazers” and having a slew of problems. Pippen, on the other hand, languished with the Blazers until a short farewell with the Bulls during the 2003-04 season.

What might have been a joyful moment for Pip and Portland fans has taken on a tragic significance as the final big opportunity for both a Hall of Famer and a rather misbegotten organization to win an NBA title.

Basketball Reference provided the statistics.

RELATED: Larry Bird Barely Played Against Scottie Pippen in His Prime, But He Still Complimented Pippen: ‘He and Michael Cooper Gave Me the Most Problems’

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