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: Aug 12, 2008
Posted on: May 28, 2011 1:50 am
 

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

Can't say hes the best player yet, but hes probably the most talented to ever play. The predictions the heat made in the offseason about like 6 championships or whatever; I don't know about that, but they'll probably win this year with nothing at point guard and center and i've heard rumors that Steve Nash would accept a buyout from the Suns and go play for the Heat next year. Their going to attract alot of talent from veterans seeking a title I wouldn't be suprised if they win 4-5 titles in the next 6 years.



Since: Nov 17, 2006
Posted on: May 28, 2011 1:48 am
 

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

you are honestly comparing Jordan's supporting case to Lebron's? That's a JOKE. Pippen wasn't very good- just look at what he did when Jordan wasn't around- NOTHING. Wade is an MVP caliber player without james in the lineup. Pippen NEVER was an MVP talent. I'm sorry but if you believe that then you no nothing about basketball. If Jordan had the cast that Lebron has when he played it would have been like asking Larry Bird and another mid-range All-Star to team up with him to win a championship.



Since: Feb 5, 2011
Posted on: May 28, 2011 1:38 am
 

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

Sure best record its not like cleveland was going to win a championship anytime soon. So sure even the two best players ever to life cant carry a team by themselves to win the finals. LeBron now is going to win a championship because of wade/bosh, and sure Jordan won so many because of Pippen and his surrounding players. But i agree LeBron is the most complete player but has NOT passed Jordan as the Best.



Since: Feb 5, 2011
Posted on: May 28, 2011 1:36 am
 

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

Sure best record its not like cleveland was going to win a championship anytime soon. So sure even the two best players ever to life cant carry a team by themselves to win the finals. LeBron now is going to win a championship because of wade/bosh, and sure Jordan won so many because of Pippen and his surrounding players. But i agree LeBron is the most complete player but has NOT passed Jordan as the Best.



Since: May 18, 2009
Posted on: May 28, 2011 1:34 am
 

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

WORD



Since: May 18, 2009
Posted on: May 28, 2011 1:20 am
 

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

Pippen wanted to say Lebron james is the most complete basketball player of all time a combination of speed, size and skill..


 



Since: Jan 10, 2010
Posted on: May 28, 2011 1:15 am
 

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

i cant believe pippen sold out his boy like that? how can u compare the greatest player in NBA history to some1 who has done absolutely nothing? come pippen, the only reason people know who u are today was bc of jordan. remember that b4 u go shooting your mouth off like a bafoon!



Since: Jan 14, 2007
Posted on: May 28, 2011 12:53 am
 

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

The year Jordan left to play baseball, the Pippen lead Bulls choked in the second round of the playoffs , after winning 3 titles in a row with MJ



Since: Jan 14, 2007
Posted on: May 28, 2011 12:50 am
 

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

The NBA is crap compared to Jordan's era. Lebron will never be Jordan because he decided he wasn't able to lead a team on his own and needed another star/leader to play with in Wade. 

Jordan's first years he had 11 sacks of potatoes to play with and he still went into the Boston Garden and dominated a legend filled Celtics team and almost singlehandedly beat them. Lebron has never had that kind of competition and probably never will.

As far as all this talent Jordan had around him when he did win titles? Pippen was a terrific second banana, but he was never good enough to lead his own team. So Jordan was the only star on his team througout his career.

Grant? Paxson? Kerr? Perdue? King? Hansen? Cartwright? Nealy? Hodges? pleaseeee... all role players who Jordan made better

Im not from Chicago and not a Bulls fan. Just sick of this watered down slop filled NBA being overrated.  



Since: Jul 22, 2008
Posted on: May 28, 2011 12:45 am
 

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

This is a meaningless debate. Basketball is a team sport and you can only judge players by the eras in which they played -- otherwise, the "greatests of all time" will invariably be modern-era players, regardless of the sport.


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