As we all know, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player to ever walk the Earth and that those of us who may have dissenting opinions should be tarred and feathered. In fact, in some cases, heretics have been burned at the stake, just for saying that Michael Jordan may not be the best basketball player ever. Strict punishments, but there’s a legacy to protect here.

So the question now, is what do we do with Scottie Pippen? Jordan’s one-time teammate talked to ESPN’s “Mike and Mike” and opined about the subject.

“Michael Jordan is probably the greatest scorer to play the game,” Pippen said Friday on “Mike & Mike In The Morning” on ESPN Radio. “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.”

Chill, Scottie Pippen. You are a legend and one of my favorite dudes ever, but you just need to chill right now. I know you just watched LeBron dominate the Bulls, but chill man. Just chill.

Sure, Scottie is hedging a bit with his “may go as far” and “may be,” but this is a pretty bold claim. I think we can all agree that LeBron James definitely has the potential to become the greatest player of all-time, considering he’s arguably accomplished more than Jordan had through age 26. But right now, this is an easy choice.

Jordan has six titles, LeBron hasn’t won a single Finals game. Jordan has five MVPs, LeBron has two. Jordan was named Defensive Player of the Year once, LeBron wasn’t. Jordan has two Olympic gold medals, LeBron has one. Jordan never lost in the NBA Finals, LeBron lost the only time he got there. I feel like I am Jason Segel and Scottie Pippen is Shawn, but this argument is pretty simple.

I think we can let this one slide for now. Scottie was obviously caught up in the hysteria of last night’s game, which is certainly understandable. Someday, LeBron James will probably be the greatest player of all-time. But that’s not the case today, which is why Scottie Pippen needs to be careful. If he keeps making these kind of erroneous claims, Jordan himself might deface that new bust in the United Center. The man has been known to hold a grudge or two.

Comments (23)

  1. “Someday, LeBron James will probably be the greatest player of all-time”

    Is that so?

  2. MJ and Pip are sort of frenemies, so I didn’t find his remarks all that shocking. While not the same level of hostility, it’s sort of like Cedric Maxwell, who always resented Larry Bird, making the arguments that Dirk and KG are better than Bird.

  3. Pip knew the reaction this kind of statement would cause. The real question is why did he say it.

    To get back at MJ?
    To promote himself?

    or was it…

    to light a fire under D Roses ass just as he begins his off-season. Cuz all year long it was Rose that was mentioned in the same breath as Jordan, not LBJ.

    I’ll go with answer D: all of the above.

  4. I still draw attention to the fact that Scottie said “MAY BE the greatest player”. As of right now LeBron has done nothing to take on that distinction as you mentioned above, however given his freakish physical characteristics that has never before in professional sport, I could see how Scottie would see the obvious “potential” of LeBron.

    I would also like to point out that LeBron entered the league as an 18 year old and Mike entered as a 21 year old…that plus the 2 year hiatus Mike took between three-peats gives LeBron a 5 year advantage if you put careers head to head.

    At the end of the day, Mike is still the G.O.A.T. and Scottie was doing exactly what ESPN wanted him to do…spark controversy, The way Broussard set up the question begged Scottie to answer it the way he did and only a fool would be blind to not see that potential that LeBron has to be able to pass Michael in the future.

  5. I don’t know how you could say that, even the advanced metrics and PER and win shares and all that have MJ as the clear better player

    saying “someday” as though LeBron is going to 7peat is crazy, and I don’t see anything less than 7 rings making LeBron better than Jordan

  6. @Blackula Then Robert Horry is better then Jordan. Right?

  7. I agree with him. He’s clearly not saying greatest in terms of accomplishments, he’s speaking solely on who’s the better player.

    Lebron’s not far off from Jordan in terms of scoring ability, and he’s way better as a distributor; Offensively, he’s a mix of Jordan & Magic, and he does it seamlessly. He probably is the greatest all-around offensive player ever when you consider that offense is more than just scoring, and he can shut down almost anybody at any position too.

    He doesn’t have the rings, but in terms of talent he’s a better player than Jordan was.

  8. @ Hector

    come on, I’m obviously referring to winning rings as the best/most valuable player on your team

    unless you think winning 4 series against some of the best teams in the league isn’t a major accomplishment

  9. shouldn’t we wait until LeBron wins a Finals game before saying that….Oh Pip

  10. In terms of raw skill, maybe and I’d say probably, but Jordan had a drive (not literally, but psychologically) no other player ever had in this universe.

    He was a competitive freak and was always hungry and eager to prove people wrong and to destroy whoever might stand in his path. In that regard, his career will always be more successful than LeBron’s unless LeBron somehow wins 3 more MVPs and 5 championships, which is possible but unlikely.

    And keep in mind that, as much as LeBron has improved defensively (he’s actually earning his spot on the Defensive team, although I’d have Iggy on the first and Bron on the second, instead of being named there on fame only as he was in the past two seasons), I don’t see him approaching Jordan’s level anytime soon.

    But the man is talented, there’s no denying that.

  11. All I can say is, when Michael won his, there was Larry Bird, Magic, Dominique, Sir Charles and I could go on but any one of these guys could win mvp today and there were more great players back then. Lebron will probably win more than 5 but he doesn’t have as many greats to compete with today.

  12. I have to disagree with Blackula concerning the 7 rings for LBJ, He doesn’t even have one yet and even if he does get more than MJ, like I said, the competion was much stiffer back then. No question, MJ is the greatest of them all and no, I am not a fan of his. Carl Malone and Sir Charles didn’t get to win a ring but they were both great. I miss the awesome plays but I like the underdog.

  13. @ willard i have to disagree with you there, not whether or not lbj will be the goat but that competition was much stiffer back then. Things always seem to look better than they were when u look back on it. Basketball is so much more of a world sport now than it was back then which means that to make it to the nba has to be astronomically harder today than was 20-30 yrs ago. Not only do i believe the talent pool is deeper now but in terms of athleticism players today are on a completely different level.

    Basketball along with boxing seems to be one of the few sports where we don’t want accept that maybe today the athletes in the sports are better than their past counterparts. Football for example doesn’t really suffer from any of this. Almost everyone would agree that runningbacks today would shit all over league if they played back then.

  14. Jordan came out of retirement and won another 3 titles after “Pippen’s” Bulls were losing in the 1st round of the playoffs. This is not even close! Jordan is the greatest of all time, Lebron has a long, long long long way to get into the discussion. Lebron isn’t even in Kobe’s league yet. Pippen sounds a bit envious of MJ.

  15. These debates are dumb.

  16. “considering he’s arguably accomplished more than Jordan had through age 26″

    Uhhhhh…… no

  17. And to be quite honest, I’m not even placing LeBron in Pippen’s league yet. Say what you want, but Pip was an athletic freak and probably had to guard MJ in practice for a decade or so. I’m guessing he would have been a superstar on most teams at the time.

  18. I found a stat where LBJ is as good or even better than MJ; ego. Well, I correct; advantage Lebron. MJ never called himself (or had him called) The King, The Chosen One, etc., etc. If only these players would humble down a little bit and be the “role models” “Sir Charles” so strongly was against to. I am Kobe fan but he could probably lead this category easily. For me, Nowistki showed a lot of maturity when he walked away from the post final-game interviews, avoid the excessive, showboating celebration until he finally (and hopefully) get this ring.

  19. @ willard

    uhh they replaced Jordan with some scrub that barely played 20 minutes and they lost in game 7 of the ECF semis to a very good Knicks team

    next year Jordan came back and they lost to a very good Magic team in the ECF semis

    and of course, Pip was an epic 4th quarter meltdown away from going to the Finals in 2000 (Kobe….to SHAQ)

  20. sorry meant to reply to ACs post, not willard

  21. Hope he doesn’t deface that Gregory Hines bust

  22. [...] him.Nonetheless, in the week that the Bulls have been eliminated, Pippen has said that LeBron James might be better than Michael Jordan and is on the attack again, this time bashing two Bulls starters. From [...]

  23. [...] Kerby under Charlotte Bobcats, Michael Jordan on Jun 27, 2011 Remember when Scottie Pippen said LeBron James may be the greatest player to have ever played the game and that Michael Jordan was just a great scorer and we all laughed? It [...]

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