So this Scottie Pippen thing, urgh.. LeBron better than Jordan?

Look, if you've been reading this blog for awhile, you know I'm not the hugest Jordan guy around.  Unlike many Bulls fans, I didn't get fall in love with the Bulls during the Jordan era.   In fact, growing up, Magic Johnson was my favorite player.    I was heart broken when the Bulls won their first title. 

I came around, when Jordan joined the White Sox, my favorite team in all of sports at the time, and cheered loudly for the Bulls during the second threepete.   To top it off, I've always liked Scottie Pippen more than Jordan for the most part, and I say all this just so you know I'm not some legacy protecting moron with a Jordan hard on.

But I watched Jordan's career, and LeBron James is no Michael Jordan

To LeBron's credit, and this guy deserves less credit in the area of being humble than about any human being alive, I don't think he's ever claimed he was.  

Scottie Pippen hedged his bets with maybe and might and a bunch of other wishy washy words, but as a representative of the Bulls, after the Bulls lost to the Heat, he really comes out and says this?

Jordan is probably the greatest scorer to play the game" but James
"may be the greatest player to ever play the game.


This is indefensibly stupid.

Any statistician would look at the numbers and tell you the argument is crazy.   That LeBron isn't even close.  

Anyone who's watched playoff basketball and saw LeBron James quit on his team in the playoffs would note that he simply doesn't have the same heart.

Anyone who's wants to take a look at the award cabinet will note that LeBron's is considerably emptier than Micheal Jordan's is.

There is quite literally, no statistical metric, eye test metric, or intangible metric in which LeBron comes out on top in this debate. 

Going to Miami sealed the deal on the "Can LeBron pass Jordan" debate

He may win a boatload of rings in Miami.  I predicted 3-4 when the trio got together.   They have the most talent in the league, and it's not even close.    However, he also ended the pursuit of Jordan with the move.

If LeBron wins 6 rings in Miami, some lesser minds may elevate him in the debate, much like people have elevated Kobe in a far more ridiculous comparison, but in the end, the move to Miami potentially can push him there in terms of titles but also puts a brick wall in front of the argument.

He's playing with a guy in his prime, who basically single handedly won the NBA championship, and IMO, is the three way tie for 2nd best player in the NBA with Derrick Rose and Dwight Howard.  

Pippen is a top 50 player, but Dwyane Wade is better.   Rodman and Grant were good players, but Chris Bosh (mocking and all) is better.   No one ever went through a debate in Jordan's career whether they needed to give the ball to Pippen at the end of the games because Jordan can't close.

Besides someone else to take the superstar burden off of LeBron, his stats are going to continue to take a beating relative to the numbers he put up before.  I'm not saying the guy sucks, he's still the best player in the NBA, but his PER just dropped four points this season, and his points per 36 dropped considerably as well.

He's not the focal point that he could be, and that will be better for winning, but it also shows that he wasn't able to carry as large a load as Michael.

That said, LeBron is an all time great

I've seen only two players in the NBA that could have potentially rivaled Jordan in terms of value in this league since Jordan's prime.

Shaq and LeBron.

Shaq's career is done, at least his dominant prime is done.   He never wanted it badly enough to be a Jordan.  He couldn't stay in shape, and he never mastered free throws, and thus couldn't take over in the clutch.   Those two things are all that separated Shaq from being in the debate for greatest player ever.

His combination of size, speed, and skill was nearly unfathomable, and if he had Jordan's work ethic, he would have had a shot at being the best of all time.

LeBron is similar.  I think with LeBron, the timing killed him.  Maybe if Jordan entered the league 20 years later he'd have had similar problems.   LeBron had too much love too early.  He doesn't seem to have the same burning desire.

When the going got rough, he quit on his team in the playoffs then fled to another team with a superstar to carry the burden for him.    If he's able to win titles, we'll always look back at how he did it and think he took the easy way out. 

In some ways this sounds harsh towards him, and I'm guessing that likely appeals to most Chicago sports fans, but legitimately, LeBron James is probably going to go down in my personal top 5 players of all time, and when all is said and done, I think he's likely to be in the conversation for the second best of all time (my guys in the conversation right now are Shaq, Magic, Bird, and Kareem)

However, his moves have locked himself in there.  He can't pass Jordan, he's already proven he's no Jordan with his actions.  He can never take it back, he can never win that metric.  I'm guessing a boatload of titles and being in the conversation will be good enough for him though.

So what the hell was Scottie thinking?

I don't know how this guy could really think that.  I don't know if he was just caught up in the moment like Mark Jackson (who once said Kobe > Jordan, Dirk > Bird, and Paul > Magic in one broadcast), if he's bitter at Jordan for stealing his limelight, or if he genuinely believes it.

It's just so difficult to believe anyone who's watched the game so much could possibly come to this conclusion.  

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  • Everyone is too quick to jump on the new thing these days, older players really don't get much of the respect these days besides Jordan. Lebron to me right now, is on the same par as Clyde Drexler and Dominique Wilkins. NBA these days is really lacking those great players, 80's and 90's are going to go down as the strongest years in basketball player wise. Lebron needs to keep this pace up for the next 3 or 4 years, to be even considered top 10 player in my eyes.

  • In reply to gibby6385:

    I agree 80's 90's will go down the strongest.
    LBJ better start sporting a ring every season until he turn 36.
    Surpassing MJ and Boston's 8 straight title...LMAO NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.

  • Scottie has also said Jordan could score 100 under today's rules and that Kobe was the greatest player of this generation. I think he's just a guy who when prodded for an opinion will give the one he thinks people want to hear at the time.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    That seems pretty accurate.

  • Me and Ric Bucher ain't buying it either, Doug. Bucher still would pick Rose over Lebron to start a franchise.

    http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/chat/_/id/38551/nba-with-ric-bucher

  • Rose over Lebron might be pushing it.

  • Theres nothing wrong with Scottie, he just lives in Miami and probably wants to stay in good standing with the rest of the band wagon fans down on South Beach. Before Scottie was named ambassador of the Bulls he was often seen at a lot of the Heat games, I guess he became a fan of the Heat at one point in time. Lebron will never be or come close to Jordan cause I'm willing to bet by the time he turns 30 he will be in decline with his size. Again Pippin lives in Miami so I wouldn't put much into his statement cause personally I don't look for Lebron and the heat to win over 3 titles. They are an impressive team but I don't see dominance like everyone else. I know they will add players but I still don't see more than 3 titles.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    I super agree!

  • In reply to Reese1:

    This isn't even a debate. MJ changed the game. LeBron is ruining it.

  • In reply to souleater7:

    EXCELLENT POINT!

  • In reply to souleater7:

    The Bulls should fire Pippen immediately. Period.

  • In reply to souleater7:

    Scottie has long been one of my favorite players ... and during the championship years, I probably cheered for him even more than Jordan on most nights.

    However, having said that, this diminishes him in my eyes a little bit. Whether this was said for personal reasons, vengeful reasons, or just plain ignorance reasons ... makes no difference to me. It's so far from accurate that it should never have been contemplated, let alone voiced.

    I will always look on Scottie as one of the Top players in the history of the league, and he'll remain in my top 5 SF of all time. But when it comes to analyzing the NBA, I won't be listening to his opinions any longer.

    (And the fact that he attempted to retract or modify his comments later that day, doesn't change anything.)

  • In reply to souleater7:

    I know Scottie was in some financial trouble. Did LeBron promise him that he take care of Scottie's tip payments?

  • In reply to souleater7:

    Nice.

  • In reply to souleater7:

    A Note to Scottie Pippen http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/offhanded-dribble/2011/05/a-note-to-scottie-pippen.html

  • In reply to souleater7:

    Mike and Mike reported this morning that Scottie Pippen may supplant the paper weight on their desk as the stupidest object ever to appear on their ESPN Radio program.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    He lost his mind !!!!

  • In reply to Reese1:

    The only justification I can give for Pippen's sentiments is that LeBron may become the best "overall" offensive player of all time. I think that could be what he really meant. LeBron was always touted as a Magic/Jordan hybrid, and I think there's some legitimacy to that. However, it's easier to look like Magic Johnson when you have Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh as the #2 and #3 options.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    I think he just had a brain fade and I can remember him saying equally moronic things about Kobe. He has his fair share of stupid idiot moments for a guy that wanted to coach the bulls.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    I think Scottie just looked at the ECF and didn't consider anything else. If you saw someone who's 6'8" 270 lbs. who shut down the quickest guy in the NBA with size and speed, couldn't be defended and hit big shots at the end of games, passed like an elite point guard, generally played like the best player in the game that he could be (and should be, considering his physical gifts and talent), and didn't consider his past beyond 5 games ago, you might want to make that argument too. There's no doubt LBJ is more physically gifted than MJ, but he's a billion dollar body and talent with a 10 cent head. I'm hopeful that, against all history and conventional wisdom, LBJ gets this ring (which I think he will) and when the pressure is off, he becomes less of an egomaniac and starts to think more about the game and how he can be a gracious representative of the best league in the world with an historical perspective. I say this because if the Heat play like this for the next 5 years, we should all get used to this movie.

    That said, don't think it will happen, but I love the game and the league too much to not hope for better than the Heat being the face of the NBA with their current attitudes and posturing.

  • I just realized there was an 'Ask Doug' section up there..

  • In reply to joeacook3:

    I just added it today as an experiment.

  • First, we never had an exception from Hakim Warrick because we were under the cap.

    Secondly, if we did have such an exception, it couldn't be combined with players to bring in someone making more money, it would have to be used on it's own.

    There's a reason the Blazers want him to retire, he has no cartilage left in his knees and will have degenerative problems the rest of his career.

    I doubt the Bulls want in on the rest of his contract.

  • The comment by Scottie was obviously impulsive-and frankly silly; the frustrating part came with his childish and defensive follow up tweets. I played the game-just keep watching and cheering? Really Scottie? I got nothing but respect and appreciation for all which he did for the Bulls-but we as fans forgave plenty of his bullshit, and don't need/deserve his condescending defenses of self made asinine comments.

    Sorry Doug-Shameless plug as always :) Closing Thoughts on the Bulls-Moving Forward http://tinyurl.com/3tsbua7

  • While I agree that LeBron won't ever be Jordan, there's a strong argument to be made that LeBron is has the best combination of passing and scoring the game has ever seen using the 'he quit' argument to make your case is unnecessary and tired. No one who quits drops a huge triple double. I think this is all a product the current hero's and villains sports media as the evidence to suggest he quit is practically nonexistent. Hoopsdata did a good article on this a few weeks ago that made a very good case:

    http://hoopdata.com/blogengine/post/2011/04/30/The-LeBron-Mystery-One-Year-Later.aspx

    Overall I think this whole thing is overblown. Scottie can say whatever he pleases and though he may be wrong people are reacting as if Scottie say 'MJ sucked, LeBron's the greatest.' And only in sports do people get angry when someone compares the potential 2nd greatest of all time to the very best.

  • I don't see Lebron winning more than 2-3 titles in his career. I think after he gets his first one, likely this year, he won't feel nearly as much motivation to prove himself. If he does muster up the energy for a second and third championship, I really don't see him as the type to drive himself any further than that. He'll be on the decline by then physically, as well as having less and less help from Wade approaching (at best) 33-34 years of age. We all know how well Lebron does when he doesn't have an elite superstar by his side.

  • I heard Pippen's comment on the radio this morning live when it occurred. It took me all of 1.8 seconds to conclude that Pip was dead wrong and more importantly that he unwisely "took the bait" on the ridiculous question asked by Chris Broussard of ESPN.

    If Pip had thought about Broussard's question for longer than 1.8 seconds I'm sure he would have answered otherwise. But instead Pip acted/spoke without thinking and now has another infamous moment to live down. Haha.

  • Sounds like maybe Pip wants to be the ambassador for the Heat. Enjoy choking on them sour grapes. And I love Scotty but this is blasphemy.

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