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: May 28, 2011
Posted on: May 28, 2011 9:29 am

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

i lov.e lebrons game but,watching jordan play defense was awesome.he never took a night off.he was a monster on defense,i think people tend to forget about that about jordans game.

Since: May 28, 2011
Posted on: May 28, 2011 9:19 am

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

Define "greatest ever."  MJ did more for the sport and the economy than any other player in history.  How much money did he bring into the city of Chicago during his tenure?  How much money did he bring to the stadiums on the road?  Every owner in the league drooled when MJ was coming to town.  His siluette is the most recognized around the world for a reason.  James and the other big names have some of the same appeal, but no where near Jordans draw.  
Stats, Championships, clutch and what he meant to the city of Chicago and the entire countrys economy, make MJ the "greatest ever."
Just my opinion. 

Since: Apr 27, 2011
Posted on: May 28, 2011 9:16 am

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

Pippen must be bucking for a career in polotics. He made the statement now he is recanting and polishing it up. So what James had one big moment in a playoff game and this wipes out the past? I've heard the comparisons between Jordan, Kobe, and Lebron. Jordan gets the edge because never did he quit on his team. Lebron quit in the playoffs lat year. Kobe quit in a game 7 against phoenix. How many closing second game winning shots has Lebron missed this year. Some on national tv. Experts coined james the best player for 46 minutes. But jordan time and time again hit those game winning shots. Jordan played 46 minutes then hit another gear for the last 2 minutes. I'm not gonna claim pippens statements as premature, I call them totally false.

Since: Sep 3, 2006
Posted on: May 28, 2011 9:15 am

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

Wow, he had ONE, in all those playoffs games. Still proves my point. How many has LeBron had already??

Since: Apr 7, 2009
Posted on: May 28, 2011 9:07 am

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

Lebron automatically took himself out of this conversation when he chose to go to South Beach to team up with 2 other superstars. He actually quoted I dont want to be the guy to have to win the game. Period end of conversation.

Since: May 13, 2008
Posted on: May 28, 2011 7:47 am

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

so if dallas wins the nba championship will the no talent couch potatoe pippen eat crow? lol

Since: May 13, 2010
Posted on: May 28, 2011 7:41 am

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

Realy Hawkman? You stil hating on he Mamba? You struggle to put him in your top 10? Your such a hater dude, your opinion in basketball is horrible. Anyone who doesnt except Kobe as a top 3 of all time player is a liar if they know basketball. Stop hating on Kobe Bryant guy's come on. I'm the biggest fan of Kobe ever, but I don't compare him to Jordan. I'm 28 and got to see most of MJ's career in the NBA, he was amazing. As a Laker fan I hated him so much and it took me til later in his career to appreciate Jordan for his game and stop hating on him. He was the greatest player I've ever seen, but him and Kobe played in two seperate eras. They were both by far the best of their eras.

Scottie Pippen is trying to get attentionn. I'd argue that Jordan could have won without Pippen. The East was getting old when Jordan started winning. Scottie Pippen will always be number two. He never earned anything without Jordan. To compare Lebroad with Jordan is the dumbest thing I've ever heard. I have never seen Lebron ever win anything. I've never seen the Queen do anything. How in the hell could Jordan be compared to Lebron James? Pippen says Lebron could get his teammates involved, he could play defense. I'm pretty sure Jordan was one of the best defenders in league history, 9 time first team all defense! He got Pippen into the top 50 players of all time. Scottie Pippen has always ben jealous of Jordan and still is. He is a second tier player at best. Didn't do much when he left Chicago. He was second tier in Portland, in Houston, he is always number 2.

Even Pippen is changing his story, He tweeted, " Don't get me wrong, MJ was and is the greatest. But Lebron could by all means get to his level someday." He doesn't even stand by what he said. 

Since: May 17, 2007
Posted on: May 28, 2011 7:28 am

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

This shouldn't even be an issue as Wilt Chamberlain is the best.

Since: Feb 13, 2009
Posted on: May 28, 2011 6:25 am

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

When you start REALLY understand the game you will laugh at somebody who does.
READ THE WHOLE COMMENT - it has facts and logic - something you do not posess or comprehend with your miniscule brain.
Than ask yourself the question - what are MJ's acomplishments without Scotty?
What about Scotty's - he was 5 minutes from another title in 2000. Stern could not let him win so nobody sees that HE WAS THE MAN.
Think about what I wrote for about a year, watch games - THAN WRITE and make judgements. People like you make me sick.

Since: May 12, 2011
Posted on: May 28, 2011 5:33 am

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

le bron will never be considered a etter player because he gave up on himself, and defered to wade to get him there. I dont care if they win the next 10 titles he will always be the guy who crawled off to find someone to carry him to a ring. Mj probably wins 9 in a row if he doesnt go to the sox, Magic went 8 times in 9 years winning 5 and losing once to injury, and twice to one of the greatest teams ever the Bird, Mchale,parrish celtics, to be honest outside of the years I covered the only other years he played he lost to his own complacency, , he wasnt beaten, until it all ended with Jordan in 91. Yes there was talent on jordans teams, yes therewas talent on magics teams but no way in hell they go and bail on their franchise show up in  some other superstars city lookin for someone else to clear the path for them...pathetic

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