"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. 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."
For someone who played with Jordan for years and saw firsthand how great this man was, it's odd to see him say something like this.
In his defense:
He's not saying James is better than the career achievements, rings, and legacy that Jordan left behind.. he's simply saying that James' skill set is more advanced than Jordan's. He's a better rebounder, better passer, has better court vision, and is probably a better and more versatile defender. James is able to do a couple more things than Jordan because of his chiseled physique and ridiculous athletic ability.
I would like to know the unbiased opinion of other users on the site. Is it okay for Pippen to say this and does he have a point?
By unbiased, I mean, don't tell me Jordan is untouchable and nobody will ever reach his greatness because he's "Jordan".
This just blows my mind that Scottie pippen of all people would say this. I'm not a lebron hater at all, I actually like him alot, but for this one postseason he's finally showing he can close out games and is performing down the stretch. Maybe one day we could have this conversation but not right now, not before he even has a single ring on his finger
OK...here it is. Ever since the G.O.A.T retired "the last time" everyone has tried to replace him. Thats fine, thats what we do with greatness....we measure up to it. but lets get this striaght, MJ played in the greatest and toughest era of basketball...and Dominated!!!!! an era of men not boys...an era of no high school kids allowed.. an era where ron artest is a weak ass....an era of the NBA is tuffer than the Euro legaue....an era when the professional court was a playground court...trash talking allowed and if you cant handled it GO HOME......Real Ball....not this weak i got foul hard...so you get kicked out one game .... ...PIP should know this...he has the soft spot on his forhead to prove it .....Keep it real
Jordan is my favorite player but he played partly in an era where the overall league was less talented, especially in the 1980s (Isiah, Magic, Bird). In the 1990s the competition became unbelievable with guys such as Barkely, Malone, Stockton, Shaq, Kemp, Ewing, etc (eventually became Duncan, Iverson, Garnett, etc.). There were def some big names in the 1990s but the role players were a lot weaker than today imo. Overall rosters weren't as deep as today.
We can only guess but if you put a Kobe, Wade or Lebron in the 1980s and early 1990s then I think they would be equally dominant as Jordan. More so, Jordan's game was also amplified by marketing genius.
I still get goosebumps watching old Jordan clips on youtube. Still, Lebron may be the more complete player... almost as good on defense, better rebounder, better shot-blocker, offensively nearly as dominant as Jordan scoring but better assist guy. Jordan's edge is his competitiveness whereas James has the ridiculous body matched with athleticism and talent for size. It will be interesting to see in a decade where LBJ stands.
Mavs in 6.
Forget what everyone thinks......I wanna hear from Mike himself! This will be a very interesting reply.
If only Craig Ehlo was defending Lebron I think he would finally have some game winners.
Wow....So Pippen and Jerry West both think Lebron is the best and one thinks he is best ever......wow. A few rings could definately put him in the discussion, but until then, MJ is tops. I think Pip was referring to overall basketball game and he does have a point.
His career playoff stats are pretty scary though: 29/9/7. Now his defense is getting ridiculous.
I mean, Oscar Robertson and Jerry West gave him very high praises, though I could see why people are shocked Scottie said such a thing. Still, I think people are looking way too much into this, as usual. LeBron James, for people who do not know, is a phenomenal basketball player, which is kind of why he has gotten as much hype as he has. Also, while he has not become a Bill Russell winning machine, or had the moments of individual greatness one Michael Jeffrey Jordan did along with winning, he is a marvel on so many levels, with a combination of height, athleticism, strength, ability and court vision never before seen.
No one will ever has a great a career as Michael Jordan, his combination of individual accomplishment mixed with team will not be surpassed, at least not by any player around currently. But, if Scottie Pippen says that, and he would know, than maybe LeBron James is at a point where as a basketball player, he is comparable to Michael. He definitely is one of the more complete basketball players of all-time, and you never really heard about Oscar Robertson's defensive prowess.
I am one of those people who believes that Michael Jordan's career is story book, but I think their was a possible period of time where Kobe Bryant might have been just as good as Michael Jordan. The same could possibly be done to LeBron James. Honestly, I do not know what has made Michael completely untouchable to even debate, but his resume speaks for itself, and it will take a substantial amount of accomplishment to take Michael Jordan down from his pedestal as the best player in NBA history.
Scottie Pippen is saying is that LeBron James is an incredible All-Around basketball player, and possibly the best he has ever seen. The crazy thing is, even if this is true, LeBron will still need to do so much more to even be in the same league as Michael Jordan on an All-Time level. Michael was the best for an incredible span of time during his career, by a fairly wide margin. LeBron may be entering a time where he has the same distinction, but he needs it to last and he needs to keep winning. Even so, the scoring mark and his ability to carry a team will constantly be questioned and Michael likely will hold the throne for the foreseeable future. LeBron may be the best now, but if he is not a few years from now, it is safe to say that he will never touch Michael Jordan as far as ranking on the career scale.
Everybody judge it by stats but for me it is just this simple, to be the best player to ever play the game you need to reach your goal and that is to win championship. Now it is possible for him to win in the finals but lets not forget that he is playing with Wade who showed how good he is in the finals in 2006. Pippen is nowhere near Wade in skills, Bosh is alot better than rodman too so it is hard for us to tell if lebron really is better than jordan. The defense cannot focus on lebron like it used to be when he was in cleveland and remember back in cleveland he always fail to become a champion even if he gets alot of triple doubles.
The "Best player to ever play the game" title depends on where we base it. Others base it on stats, me I base it on becoming the champ. I agree it is a team game and if your team is not good enough you wont become a champ, but still it is different when you are playing with another mvp-type player on your team.
We still have to see if lebron can score 40 at the age of 40.
i look around the nba today and YES the players today are by far greater athletes but to say that the rosters/players overall are better would be a huge error... lets not forget that jordan (and i'm no jordan fan) had to play in a nba which u had to actually play through contact... and he was playing against players with higher basketball iq's who knew simple things like how to box out or rotate to the open man... even today's "stars" lack ball iq which wasnt the case in the 80's / 90's... we dont have to look much futher than the conf. finals watching k durant and d rose repeatedly settled for long range contested shots with the game/series on the line
Jordan is without a doubt more accomplished player than Lebron but just looking at them at the same stage of their careers they are both just about equally great skillwise. Lebron is the better rebounder and passer (although Mike was really good in those categories as well), MJ the better scorer (although LBJ averaging 30 ppg and 26 PPG this year with Wade and Bosh on his team isn't exactly shabby) and MJ also the better defender (although once again with 3 straight All-Defensive First Team selections and counting Lebron isn't exactly a slouch).
I think it is a bit premature for Pippen to say this considering LeBron has only done this for one postseason. As much as I hate to say this, I agree with Pippen's argument that LeBron's skill set is greater than Jordan's. In terms of the intangibles, Jordan wins out easily though, which is what set him apart from everyone else. I haven't seen leadership qualities from LeBron or the competitiveness that Michael had. Regarding legacy, I don't think LeBron can ever touch Jordan because of how LeBron left Cleveland rather than going through the struggles like Jordan did. If LeBron stayed in Cleveland and won at least 5 rings, then you could make the case that he is as great as Jordan. Even if he wins an outrageous amount of rings, like 9 or 10, I'm not sure if the public will still perceive him as being greater than Jordan due to the fact that he had to go elsewhere to win a title.
Pippen was one of the 50 greatest players of all time? He has no where near the skill level of Wade?! Shhhhh! you must have only wathed highlights child.
How is this controversial? LeBron is the most physically dominant wing there has ever been, and based off that he should end up being the best the game has ever seen. 0-7 in terms of titles is the issue as to why he isn't up there with Jordan, Magic, and the like right now but he is all of 26 years old.
Scottie forgot he ever tried to defend on Kobe ...
If Lebron won 5 rings with the supporting cast he had in Cleveland thered would have been no question for me that Lebron is a better player than Jordan. People seem to forget that Jordan played with two hall of famers Pippen and Rodman. Winning championships requires a great team not just one great player. As far as what Scottie said MJ is of course a better player when you look at their overall body of work. If you look at them in their primes thats when it becomes close Lebron is arguably a better passer, rebounder, and defender he guards all 4 positions and even the 5 at times. As great a defender as Jordan was Pippen usually took on the greatest offensive threat. Lebron is the best defensive and offensive player on his team for anyone that plays basketball it is hard to do as well as he does on both sides of the court like he does. Pippen shouldn't have said it, but its closer than we want to believe.
Let me point a few things that wins this agrument instantly:
1. If Jordan played in this day and age with Dirk going to the line 26 times in a game for pansy calls. Jordan would literally average 40 for his career. Not even slightly joking
2. How many times did Jordan lose in the finals? 0 case closed.
3. Smack yourself across the face for saying Bosh is better then Rodman. What are you kids doing thinking these kind of things.
4.Lebron will never be the leader Jordan was because he always want to be PC. Jordan didnt give a F***. Everyone on Jordan's team hated him. He knew the only way to prove you're the greatest is to win. While Lebron thinks its about commericals and money.
I want people to realize that LeBron is still young. There will always be the Jordan guys that will say, "well, Kobe won't be as good even if he wins 6 rings because he got swept by the Mavs and he lost vs Detroit in the Finals and he played with Shaq" and "LeBron won't be on Jordan's level because he's playing with Wade and Bosh"
News flash. Both of those guys are pretty damn close to Jordan and I'm saying this while James is only 26. Yes, James has to win atleast 4 rings for him to really be in the conversation, but look at their numbers at the age of 26.
*Granted, James has played 8 seasons while Jordan had played 5
Jordan - 0
James - 0
Jordan - 3
James - 7
Jordan - 1
James - 2
Jordan - 5
James - 7
Defensive Team Selections
Jordan - 2
James - 3
Overall Team Record
Jordan - 205 - 205 (.500)
James - 407 - 249 (.620)
Yes, James had 3 extra seasons, but that shouldn't be a knock on him rather it should be more of an advantage that he was ready enough to come out of high school and dominated the league. I'm not sure Jordan would have had the same success.
Why are people saying LeBron is a better defender than Jordan? More versatile? Yes. Better? Hell no. Jordan is one of the best defenders of all time.
Have us seen Lebron's on ball defense on Rose or for the entire playoffs Lebron is an excellent defender if Jordan is better it is not by much at all
Scotty just said that because he wanted the ball more lol.
666lol..I had to shake my head when you said today's players are more talented than players from the 80's & 90's..You must were born in the 90's and just recently start following basketball...Becuz anyone that has follow the game knows your statement is very very WRONG!!!
I have to admit todays players are more athlete than most players from the past..But almost all of the past players were more skilled and could hit mid-range shots which seems like a lost art form in today's game..
If Jordan played today he would easily average close to 45 points a game becuz of the new rules...
And some experts have called Magic the best player ever becuz of his all around skills like court vision,rebounding,leadership and scoring..But he wasnt a great athlete..
Lebron is today's Magic but with much better athletic skills and a better defender...Jordan could do it all, but his court vision wasnt on par with Magic's or Lebron's...
I still don't think LeBron is the on ball lockdown defender or competitor at that end that Jordan was, but I do think LeBron is the better overall defender. He's bigger and covers more ground. He's also the better help/team defender by far.
LeBron has a better overall game than Jordan had and he's more physically gifted due to his size, but I don't think he's a better player. Jordan had a more complete game offensively. Jordan was also more competitive, had more of a will to win and just had more killer.
IMO All around Lebron is a more complete player, but his heart doesn't pump the same stuff that Jordan's heart does.
I think the best way for Scottie to have rephrased that would have been...
"Excluding intangibles, LeBron is the greatest basketball player ever."
I do agree LeBron has a better skill set than Jordan did, offensively and defensively. Jordan just had that "it" factor, competitiveness, and could will his team to wins. James has shown at times that he does have the "it' factor and the ability to will his teams, just not as consistently. Then again, as fans, we remember the times LeBron has failed and tend to forget the great moments he has had.
Another thing that isn't brought up as much is how much LeBron makes his teammates better.
The Cavaliers won 60+ games back to back season and when LeBron left, they won only 19.
The Chicago Bulls won 57 games in the 92-93 season. When Jordan left that offseason, the Bulls still won 55 games.
I don't know how you could counter that argument at all. LeBron made his teammates better while Jordan didn't to such an extreme extent as LeBron.
Yeah i think that Lebron is one of the few players in NBA history where no matter the supporting cast, the team Lebron is on will make the playoffs. Put him on lets say the timberwolves and they go from like a 17 or 18 win team to at least high 40's.
I understand the point that you're trying to make, but you need to start making some sense.
That Cavs team that LeBron left wasn't the same the next season. New coach. New players. Injuries. That Bulls team that Jordan left returned basically the same team and head coach. Phil's teams always defended, rebounded and played good basketball. I think that's a poor way to say LeBron made his teammates better than Jordan did.
And somebody is going to have to explain to me how in the world LeBron has a better offensive skill-set than Jordan did... Jordan was a scorer, but anybody thinking he couldn't pass clearly isn't old enough to have watched him play.
It has just been so ingrained in the minds of the basketball community that no one can be better than Michael Jordan that people are shocked when it is being seriously discussed. Also, nearly anything complimentary to LeBron James is controversial because a lot of people really incredibly dislike him due to claims of egotism and narcissism. As valid as these claims may be, and as awful as "the Decision" made him look, the guy is an incredible basketball player who has done a lot of amazing things in his short career.
People are finally coming to the consensus that he is the best player in basketball, which many did not want to admit (and some still will not). I think anyone saying he is better than Michael Jordan is just a sensory overload that can not be handled by many. What these people also seem to forget is that Michael Jordan was also being discussed as the greatest ever before he ever won a ring, though I thinked this was helped by his having the highest scoring average in NBA history at a similar stage. So, that is where the "controversy" lies, much less the fact that someone who was Michael's partner in crime saying such a thing.
Saying who is better than whom is usually fairly subjective, you can point to all the evidence in statistics, accomplishments and other things, but someone will usually have an excuse for as to why they do not matter. It is very hard to cross eras and even harder to factor in the games evolution. People who say that LeBron would not have survived back than usually point too the game allowing less contact and physicality, but, they probably have little idea that there were more foul shots taken in those days than there are now. Well, either way, explaining something to people unwilling to hear it, accept it and open their minds can be frustrating. Still, I agree with where you are coming from, but I also see where others would find this controversial.
I think the Decision pretty much decided that.
I difference between the two is that Jordan defined a generation. He changed the way basketball was played and viewed. That can't be said for LeBron really, because many people could argue that he's hurt the game of basketball. If I woke up tomorrow, and LeBron had a career ending injury what would that do to the game? Surely it wouldn't have the impact that Jordan's retirement did at that time. Thats why Jordan will always stand out in our minds before LeBron.
If he was assume Lebron is going to win 3+ titles, i would definitely say hes the 2nd best player of alltime.
We cannot assume that however. Off talent, hes right there. Winning is another part of the game.
Have to give him mad props for shutting up the D Wade being the alpha dog/closer against the Bulls. Big shot after big shot.
Let's see what LeBron does for the rest of his career. If he wins a title this year, and then wins 3 or or 4 more rings (which is possible if he plays another 6 or 7 years) then he will be one of the 10 best players ever.
LeBron is a great all-around player, more like Magic Johnson or Larry Bird. The closest thing to MJ is Kobe. More of a tough minded gunner who is an assassin but maybe not the best teammate. Right now I have MJ as the best scoring 2 guard of all-time. If Kobe can somehow get a couple of more rings then he could pass MJ.
But, the best player all-around of all-time is clearly Magic Johnson. That's who LeBron should be gunning for. Magic had 5 rings, was a great teammate but also could close out games, and he made his teammates better, and he played an exciting brand of basketball.
LeBron is in his 8th year. By the end of his 8th year MJ had two rings, while LeBron might get his first. The 1996-1998 run really solidified MJ's place in history. So LeBron is basically on pace (and he even has an NBA finals appearance on a team which more resembled MJ's teams before Pippen and Grant showed up). After MJ's 8th season, he won 4 more rings over the next 6 years. LeBron might be able to do that. If LeBron plays until he is 35 or 36 he will be at over 30,000 points and might be close to breaking the all-time scoring record. So he might combine Magic's all-around brilliance with MJ's titles and Kareem's longevity as a scorer.
I think LBJ could get close to MJ if his career is finished but we can only speculate right now. LBJ has to prove himself first.
As im reading these comments the first thing I asked myself was how many of you watched Mj in his prime??? I see stat comparisons at certain ages,and people speaking on the topic MJ being untouchable. Im 27, and I saw for myself,not a youtube clip. MJ was the best defender in the NBA,as well as the most offensively gifted player. I saw him leave for almost 2 years, to play baseball, come back and dominate without being the most physically gifted player anymore. My overall point is that there is no comparison,because MJ was, Lebron is still doing. Lebron can't be the greatest because he is just becoming the best right now. Let's see when(yes when) Lebron isn't the physical freak who can run and jump higher than everyone,let's see when he is in his 30's and if he can still be the best. Thats the bar that has been set. Im not saying he is incapable,but he hasn't hade the chance to yet.
jordan averaged 32 8 and 8 one year with 3 steals... im pretty sure that says hes a great passer, rebounder, and defender...
The next four or five years will be critical for the LeBron-MJ/Magic comparisons. If he has 3 rings then he is definitely in the conversation. If he can pass those greats will depend on how he finishes up during his stretch run (last 2-3 years of his career).
But, if he plays another 8 years (and would be the oldest 34 year old EVER) then if you double his career totals he would have 34,000 points, around 9,000 assists, around 9,000 rebounds, and 2,000 steals. That would be an INCREDIBLE career stat line.
Can LeBron pass MJ? Yes. But we won't know for another 4 or 5 years. If he has 3 or 4 rings by then and while still putting up around 26 points and 6 or 7 rebounds and assists a game then he will definitely be in the conversation.
One thing he could do which is something only Bill Russell has done is win 4 straight (or more titles). That would put him up there with Bill Russell. I can also see the Heat (if they upgrade at point guard and add another bench guy) take a run at 70 wins.
LeBron's solo brilliance with the Cavs rivals anyone else in basketball history (including MJ pre-Pippen/Grant).
One thing I am looking for is the Heat to play a version of a Showtime offense combined with a Bad Boys defense. I think LeBron wants to build the greatest DYNASTY ever which can be commended. He has also shared the spotlight with Wade and Bosh which I like.