Scottie Pippen suggested, on ESPN Radio’s Mike And Mike In the Morning, that LeBron James, and not his former teammate, Michael Jordan, could end up being the greatest all-around player the league has ever seen.
“Michael Jordan is probably the greatest scorer to ever play in the game, but I may go as far to say LeBron James is probably the greatest player to ever play the game,” Pippen said.
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Take a deep breath. Now exhale. Repeat.
While you’re meditating please remember Scottie Pippen didn’t totally go there. He didn’t say LeBron James was better than Michael Jordan.
Pippen sure came close, though.
He said James may be a greater all-around player because of athleticism and size. And he said James can a dominate game in more ways than Jordan.
Purists will be offended. After all, Jordan has six championship rings. James has none. Jordan transcended basketball. James gave basketball a bad name with The Decision.
Still, Pippen, in theory, may have a point. James’ rare combination of size, speed, skill, and power gives him a unique advantage over any player to ever grace an NBA floor.
When it’s all said and done, James may eventually be in the same sentence as Jordan. Not now, though.
Here’s the reality: James lacks Jordan’s will and competitiveness. Remember, Jordan overcame the Detroit Pistons’ harsh tactics; upset Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals; handled Clyde the Glyde and Rip City; twice withstood the best John Stockton and Karl Malone, two Hall of Famers, could offer; and defeated Shawn Kemp, Gary Payton, and the Seattle Sonics.
James has done nothing of the sort. Yet.
Let’s be fair: Jordan had help. It’s interesting his ‘help’ (Pippen) is so quick to deflect praise away from his former teammate and supposed friend towards others.
Maybe Pippen’s statement says more about the rivalry between him and Jordan, and less about James’ place in the game.
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