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 10, 2010
Posted on: May 27, 2011 8:18 pm

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

IMO Scottie's remarks aren't worth Rodman's SAT scores. 

We have heard the comparisons, Jordan 6 LeBron 0......yes zero, nil, zilch a big FAT ZERO.

That stat has quite a bit of weight, but its not the entire story.

This is of course subjective, but like the hockey comparison, would a team of 5 Gretzky's beat a team of 5 Orr's?

I think NOT, Orr would kick his butt all over the ice.

Likewise on the court, would a team of 5 LeBron's defeat a team of 5 Jordans?

Once again I think NOT, Jordan's tenaciousness, toughness, quickness and MOST of all his competitiveness and will to win, would smoke the LeBron 5.

LeBron may be bigger, stronger, but IMO Jordan would wear him down and LeBron would fold, as his history has shown.

They may win this year, but he needs to win a few more, and he needs to do better than 40% from the floor.

LeBron doesn't even make my top 5 yet.

Since: Nov 25, 2006
Posted on: May 27, 2011 8:16 pm

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

Michael Jordan also saved our planet in Space Jam

Since: Apr 10, 2011
Posted on: May 27, 2011 8:01 pm

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

Wolfdawg, did you ever play in the NBA? No, I didn't think so. I guess that makes you just another clown with a stupid opinion, doesn't it? You know what they say about opinions, don't you? They're just like a--holes, everyone's got one.

Since: Jul 16, 2008
Posted on: May 27, 2011 7:44 pm

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

Wolfdawg -

Actually, Jordan has had a triple-double in the playoffs:


This isn't a shot at you, but I've started to realize that anyone can say anything online - treat it like it is a fact - and others will believe them.  Always question what you read in these forums.   

Since: Sep 3, 2006
Posted on: May 27, 2011 7:35 pm

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

Of all you clowns posting,how many of you EVER played in the NBA? That's what I thought. Sorry, I'll take Pippen's opinion, a man who actually played with Jordan, over you clowns any day. Besides, hes dead on with his comment. The greatest of all time is still Magic. How we forget he played every position on the floor to help the Lakers win a championship. LeBron has that capability, as well. Could jordan have played PF or PG? I think not. Its a difference before a scorer and defender(Jordan), and a all around player who rebounds and can dish. How many triple-doubles did Jordan get in the playoffs? The answer is NONE.

Since: Dec 19, 2010
Posted on: May 27, 2011 7:35 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Aug 3, 2007
Posted on: May 27, 2011 7:17 pm

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

Completely, 100% disagree. Championships are irrelevant about how good a player is. Was Bill Russell a better player than Jordan? He was The Man on a team that won more championships than Jordan's Bulls did. Michael Jordan had a better career than Lebron has had, so far. But it is not unreasonable to say the Lebron is a better player.

Think of it this way: when the Bulls were Jordan and 4 other guys, they lost in the first round every year. When Pippen and Grant developed, and the Bulls were Jordan, another all-time great player at SF who ran the offense and played lock-down defense, an all-star caliber PF, and a bunch of role players who knew exactly what their roles were and excelled at them, they won championships.

Lebron in Cleveland was Lebron and 4 other guys. It's the same reason Oscar Robertson didn't win a ton of championships.

But change the question: If Lebron had to guard Jordan and be guarded by Jordan, is Lebron's coach uncomfortable with that? I don't think so. Lebron has as much athleticism as Jordan, and he is bigger and stronger.

I'm not sure Lebron has Jordan's determination, will, and mental toughness, but he has nearly everything else. Pippens comments are not unreasonable.

Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: May 27, 2011 7:15 pm

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

Thats is a pretty bold statement Sman! Accussing someone of steriod use....

Since: May 9, 2010
Posted on: May 27, 2011 7:06 pm

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT

Pippen's comments are totally absurd. James has done nothing yet besides hire skilled publicists.

Since: Dec 11, 2010
Posted on: May 27, 2011 7:01 pm

Pippen: LeBron may be the GOAT


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