Posted by Royce Young
Scottie Pippen seemed to rattle the very foundation of basketball when he claimed that LeBron James may (operative word: may) be better than Michael Jordan. It was a claim that virtually no one on the planet really believes, much less wants to hear.
But Pippen said it and with him knowing MJ as well as anyone, we all had to at least acknowledge the comments and therefore, discuss them to no end. Well, finally we have LeBron's thoughts. Via The Sun Sentinel:
“Mike was an unbelievable player,” James said Saturday. “I got a long way, long way to be mentioned as one of the all-time greats. Not even just Jordan – there are a lot of great players who have played in this league: Larry Bird, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and all these guys that are floating around with multiple rings. Bill Russell. All of these guys who have pioneered the game for me and [Dwyane Wade].
“I’m gracious, humbled by Scottie’s comments with him being a teammate of his and seeing Michael on a day-to-day basis. But as far as me? I don’t know. I’m not going to sit here and say I’m better than Jordan or if I’m not better than Jordan. It's not about that.”
First part? Great answer LeBron. Bravo. Quality move to acknowledge that not only that you shouldn't be mentioned alongside Jordan, you shouldn't be mentioned alongside about 20 of the all-time greats. Not at this point. Your career is still very young (LeBron is just 26 -- !!!) and you haven't accomplished near enough as a basketball player to have your named spread across with the likes of Jordan, Bird, Russell, Kareem, Magic Johnson or even heck, Scottie Pippen. Not yet.
(And can I point out here how I love how LeBron always misuses words? You're "gracious" of Scottie's comments? He obviously misspoke and it was accidental but he does that a lot. He's trying to answer humbly but the wrong word can confuse things.)
Second part? You started well and then of course you had to go ahead and LeBron your answer by saying you won't say you're as good or not as good. Ugh. You see LeBron, this is why these types of things always come back to get you. You tried to answer this in a humble way. You tried to acknowledge your place. But you aren't the one to determine these things anyway. So just say, "Oh man, I'm not Michael Jordan. Not by a long shot. Maybe one day, if I could get to my dreams. But I have a whole lot to accomplish before then." And leave it at that. Just put a period on it, tie a bow and walk away.
That's why young stars like Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant are so darn refreshing. There's no double-talk. No ego in anything they say. They always -- and I mean always -- let their game do the talking and leave the rest up to everyone else.
I just don't understand why you said you've got a long way to go and then came back and said you're not going to say you're not as good as Jordan. That's the type of stuff that bugs people. One day maybe you'll learn. I do agee with LeBron on his last line: It definitely isn't about that. I don't know why everyone is always hung up on comparing or finding the next Jordan. I think LeBron James should be the next LeBron James. A one of a kind, freak of a basketball player that has the potential to be an all-time great.
Maybe one day we'll actually have to have this discussion. With LeBron in The Finals chasing that first ring, he could be starting a long run of them. Then we might not be able to say he's not as good as Jordan either.