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: Sep 1, 2006
Posted on: May 27, 2011 4:07 pm

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

Jordan won 6 titles with less talent than any NBA superstar ever has.

Magic had Abdul Jabar and Worthy
Bird had McHale and Parrish
Malone had Stockton
Kobe has Shaq

Lebron has Wade -- or Wade has Lebron?

Jordan had Pippen.  Let's face it, Pippen would be considered a weak #2 scorer/player.  We saw Pippen was nothing when he had the chance to run the Bulls during Jordan's retirement.  Jordan made Pippen relevant to the NBA.  Something Lebron could not do wither lesser talent and that is why he left Cleveland.

Lebron will never be Jordan.  He gave up his opportunity when he left Cleveland.  He needed to rebuild a team and lead them to the NBA Finals, not join another superstar just to get there.  Remember this Miami's team is just as much Wade as it is Lsbron -- maybe more!!

Lebron isn't even the best player in the NBA today.  -  That's Kobe!! Could you just imagine Wade and Kobe on the same team!

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

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

 LaBron is just a copy, although a good one.

Copy of who? IMO he is a more of a combination of Magic, Barkely, Jordan, and Pippen in terms of talent

Since: May 27, 2011
Posted on: May 27, 2011 4:03 pm

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

Actually, Wilt made 28 of 32 free throws and 36 (two-point; no 3's back then) field goals for his 100 points.  So only 28 of the 100 points were on free throws.

Since: Nov 19, 2006
Posted on: May 27, 2011 4:03 pm

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

But Lebron didn't join the Lakers or the Celtics, he joined a team who sure they have won a championship 5 years ago. But it's a completely diferent roster now and there is no storied tradition with the Heat. And Lebron didn't join the Heat to become a sidekick, that has been clear thus far in the playoffs. Lebron is not Jordan, but has a chance to be someday. Remember people, Jordan didn't win his first title till he was 28, so even if Lebron doesn't win one this year or next, he still has a chance to be on pace.

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: May 27, 2011 4:02 pm

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

Just when I was ready to give up on the world of bloggers, along comes gagepark.  That was a GREAT analogy - Bo Jackson and Dwight Gooden reached heights that almost no one could, but were unable to sustain it.  EXCELLENT point.  EXCELLENT.  The counter argument to that is that Barry Sanders and Jim Brown each retired early, and all due respect to Emmit and Payton, those two guys are the best two to play their positions, and neither played more than 10 years.  Lebron is finishing his 8th, should be the three time MVP, and if he wins the title this year, his claims grow bolder and more valid.  If Lebron wins and retires this summer, would he be the Jim Brown of basketball?

Since: Sep 4, 2007
Posted on: May 27, 2011 3:59 pm

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

As long as there are men named Johnson, Bird, Chamberlain, Malone, Jordan etc he will keep falling down the list of all-time greats. He is great don't get me wrong but even if he does perfect any of those 3 on your list he has by default no case. 

I respect your opinion and you have some valid points.  I just think that we look at it differently.  I like to look at the body of work of a player and it makes me no difference if the player played for multple teams or who he played with.  Right now I think Jordan is the GOAT no question about it.  I cant speak to Russell and Chamberlain because I never saw them play.  I think Lebron has the potential to be the GOAT more so than all the people mentioned when the subject is brought up.  I think its a shame that some people feel he is diminished because he chose to team up with Wade and Bosch.  He did not force a trade.  He left at the end of his contract.  Would Jordan be the GOAT if he did not have Pippen?  I say no.  His 6 championships all had 2 consistent factors.  Pippen and PJ.  Just like Pippen never won a championship without Jordan he got a lot closer than Jordan did without Pippen.  Pippen was a superstar as well and I would argue more valuable in terms of over all effect on the team chemistry.  Jordan was not diminished by that fact.  I dont think its fair that Lebron is.  Just my opinion.

Since: Aug 30, 2007
Posted on: May 27, 2011 3:58 pm

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

Jordan was and still is a collosal NARCISSIST JERK one of the most arrogant, spitefull, hatefull, athletes to ever appear on the public stage, just look at his recent Hall of Fame acceptance speach, years after playing and he's still that way today, classless!. Lebron isn't the scorer that Jordan was but he is an equlivant defensive far. Yet he still has a long way to go to become the ego maniac that Jordan became. Maybe one day?

Either way Ervin "Magic" Johnson IS the greatest basketball player of all time, and to argue against that is ignorant. Scoring, defense, rebounding, assists, making players around him better (not like Jordan by hogging the ball and opening up room on the court) but by actually making them better players. Not to mention that he was the Finals MVP as a rookie playing out of position as a CENTER in the series clinching game while putting up 40+ points, at 20 years old. Even Jordan can not claim that he did anything like that. The Greatest Basketball player that ever lived, PERIOD! 

Since: Apr 13, 2011
Posted on: May 27, 2011 3:56 pm

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT


Here is Jordan's career achievements.

Six-time NBA champion (1991-93, 1996-98); MVP (1988, '91, '92, '96, '98); 10-time All-NBA First Team (1987-93, 1996-98); All-NBA Second Team (1985); Defensive Player of the Year (1988); Nine-time All-Defensive First Team (1988-93, 1996-98); Rookie of the Year (1985); 14-time All-Star; All-Star MVP (1988, '96, '98); One of 50 Greatest Players in NBA History ('96); Olympic gold medalist (1984, '92).

At this point, Lebron is not even close to anyone on the top 10.

Since: Oct 22, 2007
Posted on: May 27, 2011 3:54 pm

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

And Lebron has 2 inches on jordan.

Since: Oct 29, 2007
Posted on: May 27, 2011 3:52 pm

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

Lebron's not even in the Top 10.  Take the guys Moore listed and throw in Jabbar, Duncan, Kobe, Shaq, and West.  Moore is an idiot for even saying he's Top 10.  If you want to say he's in the Top 10 talent-wise then I'd agree but as far as an accomplished player-not even close.  We might as well say that Dwight Gooden was a Top 10 pitcher and Bo Jackson was a Top 10 RB.  Again talent-wise maybe but didn't have the careers to justify those lofty comparisons.

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