If we asked you to compare LeBron James to an all-time NBA great, which player would you choose? If you’re like 99.999999999 percent of people out there, you either just said “Magic Johnson” or, of course, “Michael Jordan.” People love to compare LeBron and MJ.
Scottie Pippen doesn’t think those comparisons are right, though. He spoke with Northeast Ohio Media Group during the Nike Basketball Academy in Santa Monica, Calif. over the weekend, and he revealed that he believes there’s a much better player comparison for LeBron James. His suggestion? Scottie Pippen!
“I was LeBron James before LeBron James,” he said. “It’s not even close…I’m no slouch, but when comparing LeBron’s game, I’m usually left out.”
Pippen raises an interesting point. As far as playing styles go, he was sort of similar to LeBron in that, at 6-foot-7, he had the ability to put the ball in his hands and make plays for the Bulls, but he was also usually counted on to defend the opposing team’s best player. LeBron has also talked at length about his admiration for Pippen, so the comparison isn’t completely ridiculous.
The problem is that, when you compare the accolades of LeBron and Pippen, it’s clear that LeBron is Jordan-esque in the things that he has accomplished on an individual level. LeBron has four MVP awards; Pippen had none. LeBron has been named NBA Finals MVP twice; Pippen never won the award. And while Pippen racked up more All-Defensive Team selections during his career, LeBron is on pace to match or better him in that department, too. So while Pippen has every right to say that he “was LeBron James before LeBron James,” he’s probably going to have a tough time convincing people to start comparing LeBron to him instead of MJ or Magic.
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