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: Jun 17, 2008
Posted on: May 27, 2011 4:28 pm

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

When looking at what Michael accomplished, he did it with a very balanced team, not a team of stars. Look at those Bulls rosters. Beyond Pippen, who is there that is a stud? Lebron on that team would make the playoffs but that's all. MJ is the GOAT because he brought a team to the pinnacle and kept them there...twice. Lebron can't be anywhere near this conversation until he does the same. Gues he never will be a part of it due to "The Decision". Playing on a team with three guys of that caliber automatically nixes your shot at being the GOAT.

Since: Oct 20, 2009
Posted on: May 27, 2011 4:27 pm

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

Nobody has ever dominated both ends of the floor like Wilt Chamberlain. Not Jordan, not Lebron, nobody! Although they didn't officially record blocked shots back in Wilt's day, it has been documented that one night the scorers table kept track just to see how many blocks Wilt would finish with....His stat line for that game....54 points, 22 rebounds, 27 blocks. And the sick thing is they said it was a routine performance for him.

Since: Jan 17, 2010
Posted on: May 27, 2011 4:23 pm

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

It's all about how you CLOSE OUT GAMES. You couldn't close out games Scottie so I can see how you would side with someone like yourself.

Since: Oct 22, 2007
Posted on: May 27, 2011 4:21 pm

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

Well %age wise Jordan's career 3 pt percentage was 32.7%, Lebrons is 32.9%.  That looks better.  Plus the fact that Jordan took 1778 in his 15 year career while Lebron has taken 2623 in his 8 year career.  I'd say that (like I said) you could argue that lebron does have a better shot. 

Look bud, I'm not going to argue with you, I think we're on the same side. 

Since: Sep 15, 2006
Posted on: May 27, 2011 4:18 pm

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

MJ - career 3pt .327
LBJ - career 3pt .329

LBJ wins

Dumbest thing ever?  Little off your game huh genelamont???  Heck, there are 9 seasons in which Jordan shot below 30% from 3 hahaha. 

Since: Apr 18, 2011
Posted on: May 27, 2011 4:12 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Aug 11, 2008
Posted on: May 27, 2011 4:11 pm

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

exactly, what the hell is Scottie Pippen talking about??? I am done with that clown, he is the most overrate player in the history of the NBA, he was nothing without Jordan, he was barely an All-Star and he goes and says something this stupid, I hope Jordan puts him in his place like he should, Lebron is not even a top 25 player of all-time, he might win some rings, but he had to join a stacked team to get there, his titles, if he wins, are all tainted, Jordan took a terrible team and turned them into champions, lebron joined a team that already had an MVP and Bosh came over with him, its disgusting, there is a reason everybody hates the Heat, such a joke , and so is Pippen...and I live in Chicago!!  Scottie may as well never show up at the UC again and we should take that dumb ass statue down, ugly punk

Since: Aug 25, 2006
Posted on: May 27, 2011 4:10 pm

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

Why do people feel the need to make a current player the best of all time?  Our sense of history is already terrible and when we constantly continue with this sort of ignorance, we encourage disrespect for the past.

The greatest baseball player of all time does not currently play.  Nor the greatest football player.  That is also true of basketball and football.  The greatest closing pitcher of all time is Mariano Rivera (Red Sox fan admitting this).  That is about the only place you can put greatest next to someone current.  Quit encouraging the know nothings, who regard players who played before they were born as inferior yet magically believe the players from their childhood on have somehow become "the greatest."

Since: Oct 22, 2007
Posted on: May 27, 2011 4:08 pm

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

In this video:

Since: Oct 22, 2007
Posted on: May 27, 2011 4:07 pm

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

If you say that Lebron is a better athlete than Jordan you never watched Jordan play.  He did things around the rim that Lebron could never do.  You could argue that Lebron is a better shooter and maybe has a better outside shot, but I don't think there is any way you can say he's a better athlete. 

And the real reason that Lebron can never be as good as Jordan is in this video:

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