Much was made of recent comments from Scottie Pippen, who suggested that Heat star LeBron James just might wind up going down as the best player in NBA history—better, even, than Pippen’s former teammate, Michael Jordan. All around the league, there was indignation at Pippen’s assertion. At that, Hall of Fame guard Oscar Robertson, who may have been every bit as good as Jordan in his day, just rolls his eyes and shakes his head. Oscar Robertson cautions those who wish to crown Michael Jordan as the best basketball player of all time. (AP Photo) “I didn’t hear the comments,” Robertson told the Dan Sileo Show on WDAE in Tampa Wednesday morning. “Let me tell you about what being great is. Ever hear of Elgin Baylor? Never mention his name, do we? Great basketball player. You know what you have today? Michael Jordan was a great player, but he won after Chicago got Pippen, Grant and those other players to go along with him, because for a while they couldn’t beat Detroit. “Everybody looks at what you’ve done. Sure he won six championships, Russell won eleven. There are other players on these teams when they play. They don’t play by themselves. Michael Jordan is a great player. Was he the greatest? Ask Kobe that. Ask Bill Russell. Ask Oscar Robertson. Ask Wilt Chamberlain. Ask Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, ask those guys.” Sports fans seem to have short memories and little knowledge of history, according to Robertson. Robertson didn’t just suggest that Jordan might not be the best ever, as Pippen did, he flat-out said it. “The problem today is you get some people you have never been around a basketball,” he said. “The media now has anointed Michael Jordan the greatest of all time. Is he greatest of all time? No, I don’t think he is. I think he is a great player. There have been other great players as well, great players before I played. Now you have a situation where Pippen is saying (James) could be better than Michael Jordan, and everyone gets so upset by it. All these commentators, did they ever see any of these guys play?”
Wow! What do you guys think of Oscar's comment? I actually think he make some great points. What makes Mike the G.O.A.T over so many other greats?
F*ck oscar robertson
I'm with Universal. Haha.
Just seems to be that Michael is the greatest. If you were going to write a book about a great individual basketball player who managed to combine it with team success, than Michael Jordan's book is better than anyone else's out there. Elgin never won a ring. All of these other players named for the most part never were the best player on their team for their entire career. I think that Michael Jordan and Larry Bird may be the only two players ever to hold that distinction over there entire careers.
Michael also won the most scoring titles in NBA history, has the highest PPG average, PER, and crushes the NBA Play-off scoring averages and many records as well. No one has won more Finals MVP's, and he was the best player in the league for a longer period than anyone in NBA history. No, he never averaged as many points or boards as Elgin and Wilt did in their best seasons, but both of them struggled to win rings, Elgin with none, Wilt with 2. Oscar only won a ring after playing with Lew Alcindor (aka Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), who at that time was the best player in the league. Oscar's all-around numbers are incredible, and his triple double season was awesome, but he never really lead his team to sustained success. Jerry West was always seen as being a great player, but never won a regular season MVP trophy and had players in his era considered better individuals. Kobe Bryant, of course, was second banana to Shaq for his first three rings. To many, this makes him less than Michael in the perspective of legacy.
That brings us to Bill Russell. He has just as many MVP awards as Michael, with 5, and of course almost twice as many rings, with 11. He played at a time with fewer teams and with a number of Hall of Fame players who came out of their careers with more than a handful of rings, plus an unprecedented 8 consecutive. Many feel that if Michael had not retired, he would have won just as many, but that is besides the point. Bill Russell is the consumate winner in pro sports history, and for that I think his career is probably second to none. But, he did not necessarily have the same amount of individual success as Michael, he was not known for taking games over offensively, or really even for scoring much at all. He finished his career as a 44% shooter (56% from the line) and averaging 15 ppg. Leave out the rings, rebounds and accolades, you are talking offensive output eerily similar to Mike Bibby, who is (but I am sure by next season will not be) ahead of Bill Russell in all-time PPG. Bill is 187th on that list, and while his 22.5 RPG certainly make up for that as far as his statistics being eye popping, and the fact that he has a ring for every finger and a really hideous nose ring, this is cause for many to give Michael 6 more rings in the eyes of his individual prowess and accomplishment.
Really, there is no measurement for who the greatest of All-Time is. There are so many factors one could take into account, and obviously guys who never played against Michael will maybe have wanted a piece of him, and I am sure Michael feels he would have busted them like he did everyone else. Unfortunately, we have no idea if this is true or not, but judging from Michael Jordan's legacy, he seems to have that incredible ability to be called the greatest basketball player of All-Time. No one has had his combination of individual greatness mixed with team success, and no one came up bigger when it counted the most. That is why people who think that someone else may indeed be a better individual player will get batted down by these facts time after time. Because, since most judge players by what they did over the span of their careers, no one had a better story book or individual dominance, drama and triumph than MJ. Hope this pretty much covers why people feel that way.
whats his reasoning to y jordan isnt the greatest of all time
Jordan is the greatest because he won six championships and did it as the best player on his team and the best player in the league. I have respect for Oscar Robertson as a basketball player but this is a ridiculous rant by him. Imagine what MJ would have done if he had played when Oscar did. Everyone thinks that triple-double for a season is such a huge deal but Lebron or Jordan would have put up even better numbers. Oscar was great and so were some of the other guys but they didn't play the competition they play today. Back then there were maybe 10 really good players in the league. Now almost every team has atleast 2 guys and some have 4 or 5 guys that could be all stars. The league is better now its pretty much impossible to compare the guys from pre 1980 to the guys now.
Six championships make Jordan the best? What does 11 get you?
Basketball has changed dramatically from now until when Oscar Robertson played in the NBA. Oscar was 6'5 with a solid build and an incredible skill set, could really do it all. In his first 8 seasons, he averaged 30 points per game, and after his first 5 seasons, if you calculated his averages they made up a triple double. The guy was ridiculously strong, athletic and talented, and may have been the most skilled player in the league if not the most dominant, which was Wilt Chamberlain who was a freak of nature. With all of these facts, the game has become faster, shooting percentages have changed and their was the institution of a major game changer called the 3 point line. Oscar was far above average in these categories compared to his contemporaries, and was just an incredible individual player, in a league that was dominated by a single team during pretty much his entire prime.
So, with all of this being said, as much as players are better now, and that they would have averaged one trillion points back than, imagine if these guys had the same information, facilities and amenities players have today. Do you think Oscar Robertson had as many organized camps and the ability to play tournaments all over the country? Was their strength and conditioning staff even as close to as knowledgeable as they are now? The answer is fairly simple, it was not even close. Things have gotten so much faster and technology and years of research are the reason for this. So, you should probably think about the opposite before just saying that a player would be completely lost in todays game. Oscar, Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain may not have been as dominant as they were back than, but I believe that they would still be pretty high quality players.
Another thing is, if you go by career and legacy, it is hard to beat Michael Jordan. That is how most of us who follow NBA basketball base their rankings on, and no one is better in this regard than Michael Jordan. But, with regard to being "the greatest", in the sense of being an individual basketball player, NO ONE REALLY KNOWS. Do we know that if Michael Jordan played Elgin Baylor with similar supporting casts when they were both in their prime, who would win a series? Same with Oscar Robertson, Jerry West or Wilt Chamberlain. LeBron James and Kobe Bryant go in that category as well. We can maybe compare Kobe and LeBron, or Oscar and Jerry, with at least a hint more "certainty", but with Michael, well, he did not play any of the players I listed while they were in their primes. Which is why Oscar is saying, why is this the case? He has every right to do so, he was a fantastic player and is being looked over for a player who he never had a chance to compete against. We have 0 clue who would win a game of one on one, or five on five with similar team structures. If Michael Jordan had gotten hurt as badly as he did in his second season in Oscar's era, he may have never been the same again. Circumstance indeed plays a part in Michael being considered the best player of All-Time, takes nothing away from his abilities, but I do not know why everything Michael did takes away from the ability of others.
Also, he brings up a fantastic point in that, we have only seen highlight videos and select games of most of these older great players. Most of the media has very little recollection of their abilities and really did not see the way they played. The rules have changed incredibly, after all their was a point where it was almost completely useless taking a shot further than 23'9. The three point line changed the game a lot, and are probably part of the reasons players shooting percentages now are not sky bloody high. So, before hating on Oscar and his opinions, which are completely valid even if you or I disagree with him, maybe think about some of these little factoids. Legacy does not necessarily mean that a player was the best ever to play any game ever. Michael Jordan had bad games, but he also probably had more good big games and killer performances than any player in history. He had games where other players were better on that given night. His team even lost once in a while. So, do we really know he is better than all of these players if they were at their best in a mano o mano? Nope. Convince yourself otherwise, but I guarantee all you will bring up is legacy, and that is not the proof of him being a better player at his best than anyone who has ever played the game. Better career, yes, but better player will always be completely and utterly debatable.
Once again, a matter of opinion. Thats YOUR opinion. Let Oscar have his. I think Jordan was the BEST I ever seen play but Magic was a razor thin close 2nd to me. BEST does not necessarily mean Greatest either. Whats your point about Jordan playing when Oscar did, what if Dwight Howard or Kevin Durant played during that time???
If your logic is Jordan was the best because he was the best player on the best team and won championships...then Magic has some claim too...he was the best player on his team, plus led Lakers to championship and was named finals MVP as a ROOKIE!!! Also, there has never been another player remotely close to Magic Johnson in terms of the things he could do on the court. Lebron is the closest and thats a pretty wide gap.
Jordan should be the consensus pick but it depends on a person's point of view and who they grew up watching.
IMO winning six championships with 26 to 28 other teams in the league is just as impressive as winning eleven championships with 7 to 13 other teams in the league.
As far as the GOAT debate goes I always rate Jordan above Magic because Magic wasn't anywhere near as good as MJ on the defensive end of the court.
Elgin Baylor was a great player but it's a bit of a stretch to suggest that someone who was never good enough to win MVP or win a championship despite playing alongside the greatest shooting guard in NBA history pre-Jordan (in Jerry West) should be considered for GOAT.
The only player I can reasonably see as being in the best position for an argument as GOAT beside MJ is Kareem. Kareem could do it all, score at will, rebound, pass, defend, block shots. He won 6 MVPS, 6 championships and made an incredible 19 all-star games.
But then again it is all just opinion, so to each his own.
Jordan is hands down the GOAT... he played in what may be the most legendary era in Basketball History. The league was filled with brutal intense rivalries and fierce athletes that always played hard and above the rim. During the pre 1980s, there were'nt too many players playing above the rim, there wasnt a 3 point shot. And everyone pretty much knew who would win the ring each year. Jordan dominated an era that includes majority of the NBA's Hall of Famers so far. He competed with physical specimens such as Barkley, McHale, Malone, Oakley, and Rodman. Fouls were actually fouls when those guys played. Competiton was much higher than back when Wilt played. Thats why Jordan is the GREATEST of ALL TIME. He dominated during the best era of basketball the world has seen thus far.