Blog Entry

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

Posted on: May 27, 2011 12:05 pm
Edited on: May 27, 2011 12:29 pm
Scottie Pippen says that LeBron James may be the greatest player to ever play the game. 

Posted by Matt Moore

Bulls fans are having a bad morning. They lost the Conference Finals Thursday night. They blew a double-digit lead late as LeBron James flew by them like they were standing still. And this morning,  Scottie Pippen, Bulls Hall of Famer, Jordan's running mate, said on ESPN Radio Friday morning that LeBron James, the most hated man in Bullsland? 

Pippen says he's the probably the greatest player of all time.

“Michael Jordan is probably the greatest scorer to play the game,” Pippen said. “But I may go as far as to say LeBron James may be the greatest player to ever play the game because he is so potent offensively that not only can he score at will but he keeps everybody involved. You have to be on your Ps and Qs on defense. No guy on the basketball court is not a threat to score with LeBron James out there. Not only will LeBron dominate from the offensive end as well, but he’s also doing it on the defensive end which really makes him the complete package. He’s able to get in those passing lanes, shoot those gaps and create transition opportunities where he is pretty much unstoppable.”
via Pippen: “MJ Best Scorer, ‘Bron Best Player … To Ever Play The Game” « | Hang Time Blog.

Whoa, there, Scottie, let's not go nuts, here. 

The problem here is the word "is." If Scottie had just thrown in a "could end up as" or a "has a chance to be" this isn't an issue. Because everyone recognizes how great LeBron's game is. But the results haven't been there.

Fair or not, and you can make the case it's not but it doesn't change anything, we judge athletes on results more than performance. More specifically, we tier players based on performance, then judge them based on results. An example: everyone would agree LeBron James is a greater player than Robert Horry, despite Horry's impressive ring total, because Horry was never "the man" on a team. Jordan, however, is considered a greater player because he won six rings while being the man. And was totally unstoppable in nearly every situation. Stunningly, this is an area where both people who love and hate stats can agree. The numbers say Jordan is nearly untouchable. 

And the fact remains, Jordan did win those titles. He is that icon. There's a massive sense of overinflation of Jordan's accomplishments because so many writers and people in the target audience grew up in the era and Jordan was a cultural phenomenon as well as a basketball one. If you take all that away? He's still the greatest of all time. That's how big the gap is. There are other players you'd probably consider before LeBron as well. Russell. Chamberlain. Magic. Bird. Olajuwon. He's already a top ten player, but the best? No chance. Not yet.

However, Pippen does have one point. What player has made as much of an impact on both sides of the ball, and was as insolvable as LeBron? He guarded the MVP point guard into a nightmare series. He rained threes to get his team back from down 11. He's a two-time MVP. He's on the verge of winning a ring, and should he do so, there's a great chance he can win several more. Win three, why can't he win six? Then the conversation starts.

Then, not now.

For now, we have to respect history, even if Scottie's too close to the trees to see the forest. This isn't about LeBron teaming up with other great players or any sort of hypocritical, hyper-critical nonsense. It's just about the results. And until James possesses those results, Jordan remains the GOAT.  

(One last note: This is actually the best thing Pippen could have done for Chicago. Instead of focusing on how their team choked away leads multiple times in this series, how the MVP fell apart and failed them in the biggest moments, how all their regular season success resulted in a gentleman's sweep to the hated Heat, they can all rally around the greatest player in city history, remember the good times, and feel good about themselves again. This is the Pippen media version of Batman taking the blame for Harvey Dent in "The Dark Knight.")

Since: Jan 5, 2010
Posted on: May 27, 2011 6:03 pm

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

When James has six rings, then I might consider him in the same category as MJ.  Until then, He is not the GOAT

Since: May 27, 2011
Posted on: May 27, 2011 5:57 pm

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

When labron can win 11 championships in 13 years like Bill Russell did then maybe I will consider him the best of all time.  But my money will always be on Bill Russell .

Since: Jul 22, 2010
Posted on: May 27, 2011 5:44 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Sep 4, 2007
Posted on: May 27, 2011 5:40 pm

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

Are the players better today than 15-20 years ago or are they just flashier?  Better defenders?Better shooters?

I think that skill-wise the players back in the day were better.  They were for the most part fundamentally sound on both offense and defense.  The players today are amazing athletes. Lebron is good now but if he played 20 years ago (damn I am getting old) the only person that would have had a chance to stay with him would have been Pippen.  What made Pippen and Jordan so good is that they had the athleticism of the guys today with the fundamentals of yesterday.  They would kill in this league today.

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: May 27, 2011 5:34 pm

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

So then where does this place Dwayne Wade? Wade is a far superior defender than Lebron and he is a better shooter and playmaker than Lebron. There really is only 2 knocks on Wade and that is he gets hurt too much and disappears for some games as if he smoked a blunt before some of the games (which he probably did).

Since: Nov 17, 2006
Posted on: May 27, 2011 5:32 pm

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

LeBron has given up his rights to be considered the greatest of all time. He lost any chance of being a "best ever" candidate when he packed his bags and coordinated with 2 other "top 15 in the league talents" to win a title. Dirk is the guy that this bozo writer should be talking about. Dirk carried his team single handedly, put up some of the most amazing games in the history of the NBA, and never (not once) cryed like a little baby because he didn't have a ring. He showed strength and fought for a championship. That's a true champion and something LeBron can never lay claim to. Unfortunately, LeBron will go down in my book as a great basketball player, but definitely not an all timer. He isn't even a top 50 in my book.

Since: Mar 17, 2009
Posted on: May 27, 2011 5:26 pm

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

I agree,  LeBron will go down as the greatest.

Since: Mar 8, 2011
Posted on: May 27, 2011 5:19 pm

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

I hate Lebron, but he is great. Not the greatest, but great.  I wanted to ask this question to all NBA fans out there:  Would Michael be as dominating in today's game as he was in his era?  I keep thinking of guys like Kevin Mchale trying to match up against some of the bigger and quicker bodies and it just makes me chuckle. But for every Kurt Rambis VS. whoever comparison, I have to include a Karl Malone vs (insert favorite current NBA patsy here).  Are the players better today than 15-20 years ago or are they just flashier?  Better defenders?Better shooters?

Since: Feb 26, 2008
Posted on: May 27, 2011 4:53 pm

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

Miami is a free agency loaded team w/ 3 players making what 90% of the payroll? Imagine if Reggie & Barkley (just for example), joined the Bulls to play w/ Mike and win championships in Chicago. Ppl would hate them, like they do the heat now, and the league would be watered down as a result.

Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: May 27, 2011 4:51 pm

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

Ridiculous - LBJ has a LOOOONG road ahead in catching current all-timer Kobe, but to crack the top 3 of guys like MJ & Magic likely not gonna happen.  He's 3 rings away from even being in the convo.

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