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” « NBA.com | 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.")
Comments

Since: Apr 13, 2011
Posted on: May 27, 2011 3:52 pm
 

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

Clarifying I did not mean Defensive player of the year 8+ I meant all-team defensive.




Since: May 31, 2007
Posted on: May 27, 2011 3:51 pm
 

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

LeBron is a great defender.  Better than Jordan definatly.

You do realize that Jordan was once defensive player of the year right?



Since: Jul 6, 2009
Posted on: May 27, 2011 3:50 pm
 

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

    LaBron doesn't merit being part of any conversation that included Magic, Bird, Russell, Chamberlain, Olajuwan, Jordon  - that's exactly the six that will be ahead of him, and ahead of Kobe, always.
    Those six had unique talents - each in their own way. LaBron is just a copy, although a good one. He doesn't bring anything unique to the table - just great stats (and future rings). He's a player with tremendous skills - though he's a good copy of a multitalented basketball player.
   .....just one man's opinion.



Since: Apr 13, 2011
Posted on: May 27, 2011 3:50 pm
 

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

For the record, Wilt played at a time when you could dunk the ball for free-throws as long as you were behind the line when you left. Makes it a lot harder to make free-throws, which were most of his 100 points in Hershey, PA game. Just FYI.

What surprises me about this board, is that its about scoring. No one has mentioned that Jordan was a 8+time all defense player. His game was complete, that is why he is idolized.


Jordan would have rather died then walked off the court with 4 mins left, like Bron Bron did last year. Greatness is not all points, its the total package. Jordan was not the GOAT of all time, simply because he scored a lot. He changed the game forever.


This is coming from a suns fan, who watched him dismantle us in Game 4-5 of the Chuck Era.



Since: Feb 16, 2008
Posted on: May 27, 2011 3:49 pm
 

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

More to consider: MJ won Defensive POY award. LeBron has not. MJ was also MVP that year which makes him among only two that have won both in the same season. LeBron is a better shot-blocker (he is 3 inches taller, btw) but I really do not think he is a better defender than MJ in general. Neither do the NBA voters...yet.

Also, in terms of points, if you look at LBJ's numbers next to MJ's, you see he has outscored MJ in only one season - their 2nd years. Oh yeah, btw, MJ was out most of that year with injury (he played in only 18 games that season). And, BTW, LeBron only averaged 5 more points per game and MJ was only averaging 25 minutes per game!!!



Since: May 31, 2007
Posted on: May 27, 2011 3:45 pm
 

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

LeBron may be the greatest of all time but Pippen is definitely the ugliest of all time.



Since: Oct 11, 2008
Posted on: May 27, 2011 3:36 pm
 

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

Well said, I am curious how Magic and Bird do when you total the numbers.



Since: May 27, 2011
Posted on: May 27, 2011 3:33 pm
 

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

Where do all of you Kobe obsessed people get the wild idea that Kobe is anYwhere near Jordan. Its enough already and I cant stand hearing it nomore. He isnt even the best player to play since Jordan. Just because Lebron chose the team he played with doesnt mean anything. Jordan and all the other great players had their teams built around them.... its the same exact difference. Enough with Kobe.



Since: Oct 24, 2009
Posted on: May 27, 2011 3:33 pm
 

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

 Lebron's problem with Cleveland, no reliable, consistent #2 scorer and they really didn't play defense that well.

Cleveland actualy had the best or 2nd best defense basicaly every season.  The #2 scorer thing couldn't be more true.  Your breakdown of numbers is nice, but you gotta think defensivly too.  LeBron is a great defender.  Better than Jordan definatly.  Lebron is overall the most talented and skilled player ever.  However you can't call him the best player.  At least not right now.



Since: Oct 11, 2008
Posted on: May 27, 2011 3:31 pm
 

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

The NBA started before ESPN.  Chamberlain and not Jordan was the greatest scorer the game has ever seen.  Abdul Jabber was a better scorer that Jordan.  Lebron is good and maybe even great, but Elgin Baylor  and Dr. J were better than The self titled King.  One other thing, There is a chance that LeBron is using PEDs.  That would explain why he came out of H.S. looking like a Twenty Five year old man and not an 18 year old kid.  If it comes out, and I think it will, that LeBron is using then he is just another cheater.


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