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 5, 2008
Posted on: May 28, 2011 12:42 am

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

Get real Swillhog.  You shoulda named yourself Ballhog so you could match your boy Jordan's nickname.  Lack of titles in Jordan's baseball days? What about MJ's lack of titles Pre-Pippen??!!  He couldn't get outta the 1st rd w/out him.  Phil in his book Sacred Hoops predicted more than a 15 game slide when MJ left and based it on history.  Wilt, Russell, Bird Magic, Oscar....all whose teams won an avg of 15 less games the year after they left. Many thought they easily wldnt make the playoffs.  Thanks to Pip and his leadership then won "2" less games and almost make the eastern conf finals w/out Ballhog Jordan!  Jordan's overrated will to win was shattered by him abandoning his team during an important title run and exposed when Pip led the team.  You may like the Bad Boys but w/out Pip your Boys would have continued their run against the Jordan-led Bulls!

Since: Jun 5, 2008
Posted on: May 28, 2011 12:36 am

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

He did? Funny how he never got 1 without him, huh? Pip has a better record w/the Bulls w/out Jordan than Jordan has with the bulls w/out Pippen.  Sounds like Jordan's valuability to his team is very overrated.

Since: May 25, 2011
Posted on: May 28, 2011 12:35 am

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT


Since: Jun 5, 2008
Posted on: May 28, 2011 12:32 am

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

Gets a few w/out Pippen? Not in my book.  He couldnt even get out of the 1st rd til Pip came into his own.  THE FACT is Jordan would have none if not for Pip and the surrounding talent he had.  Jordan abandones team to strike out in baseball and the Bulls drop 2 games from the prev yr w/Jordan in Phil's best coaching job ever!!!! LeBron leaves the Cavs and they go from best record in the league to lotto team.  You tell me whose more valuable? Jordan gets a few w/out Pip my ass.......when did he EVER get 1 w/out him? I rest my case.

Since: Feb 22, 2008
Posted on: May 28, 2011 12:07 am

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

Well, Michael only has 6 rings because of Pippen.  Jordan gets a few without Pippen around, but seriously, one player does not win 6 championships in any sport except tennis.

Since: Sep 22, 2006
Posted on: May 27, 2011 11:53 pm

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

Hey! Pippin's got 6 rings!!!! Oh! Wait MJ got those for him! Shut Up! Sellout!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Since: Feb 11, 2009
Posted on: May 27, 2011 11:10 pm

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

Two Words: Bill Russell

Since: Jan 29, 2007
Posted on: May 27, 2011 10:55 pm

Pippen's Resentment Is Evident

This is such a ridiculous statement by Pippen(but I'll get to that after my first point).  I think it shows that Scottie always had some resentment of Michael Jordan's greatness.  He knew he was nothing more than a sidekick, and his lack of titles in Jordan's baseball days showed it.  From stories I've read, Jordan seemed like he was kind of a jerk...most ultra competitive people are, right?  Anyway, Scottie had a Freudian slip, I think.

Onto the ridiculous statement part.  MJ didn't call Hakeem Olajuwan and Shawn Kemp (back when he was good) and go play with them so he could win a title.  He simply decided to dominate.  Lebron couldn't do that.  His title will be tainted.  His career is a joke now that he made "the decision."  He will never compare to MJ.

And this is from a fan of the Bad Boys that hated Michael Jordan.  Now, I just hate the NBA period.

Since: Jul 6, 2008
Posted on: May 27, 2011 10:39 pm

Pippen is already back-tracking LOL

Supposedly Scottie has been getting so much heat he has gone on Twitter to "clarify" his comments.

Now, MJ is CLEARLY the best but Lebron MIGHT be able to eventually catch him.

Sounds like Scottie got another "migraine" LOL.

Since: Dec 1, 2008
Posted on: May 27, 2011 10:26 pm

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

Agreed, Wilt could coast and still score 30 and get 15 rebounds.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or