Basketball Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen was once again asked about who he thinks is the better player between his former teammate Michael Jordan and Cavs superstar LeBron James, and he once again gave a different answer.
We’ll first start with what he said most recently to reporters at the Warriors’ practice. Below are the other opinions he has shared in the past.
On Friday, Pippen gave what he said is his “honest answer,” and he said he never wants to answer this question again. This was his most reasonable response. He cited various reasons for why it’s not fair to compare Jordan to James, while calling them the greatest players of their eras. He also said that he believes Wilt Chamberlain is actually the best NBA player of all time. Oh, and he noted that Jordan vs. James debates are like if someone debated Kareem Abdul Jabbar vs. himself.
Here’s Pippen’s full reply:
“I’m gonna give you my honest answer, and I hope I never get this question again. There’s really no comparison. Michael Jordan played in an era where the game was different. It was being refereed different than what LeBron is playing in. LeBron plays a different role than what Michael played as a player. In all fairness to Michael, he was never asked to do the things that LeBron do for his team. He had a lesser role, and statistically, that’s why you’er seeing LeBron numbers are far better than Michael Jordan’s numbers in terms of what he do the whole game because we didn’t utilize Michael to do things that the Cavs utilize LeBron for.
“The comparison is unfair. They played different positions. I know a lot of times we love answering the question because we want to hear the storylines behind it, but the truth of the matter is it’s not a fair comparison to LeBron or Michael. One guy is considered a two guard and one guy is considered a small forward. They definitely are great in their era. They’re both the greatest in their era, but to say who is the greatest, we will never know that.
“In my eye, Wilt Chamberlain is the greatest basketball player. But Michael and LeBron should never be compared. It’s almost like comparing Kareem to me. That wouldn’t be fair.”
Now, for the timeline of what Pippen has said leading up to this:
In June of 2015, Pippen said that James’ game is more like his than Magic Johnson’s or Jordan’s.
“They want to compare him to the greatest whether it be Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson, but he’s more closer to myself,” Pippen said. “It’s natural for folks to say that, but if you look at how he plays the game and how I played the game, you’ll see more similarities with us.”
In May of 2017, Pippen said James hadn’t surpassed Kobe Bryant.
“I don’t think he’s surpassed Kobe at all, no. And I don’t think he should be compared to either of those players (Jordan and Kobe) because they’re playing different positions. Kobe and Michael are both 2 guards. They’re both scorers. They’re mostly like a Kyrie (Irving) – they’re looking to score the basketball.”
On December 14, 2017, Pippen said James is “probably ahead of Jordan.”
“The numbers don’t lie. He’s right there. He probably will never catch him in terms of MVP, but in terms of statistics, LeBron is right there. And when you look across the board – not just scoring – check his assists, check his rebounds … he’s probably ahead of Jordan.”
About a week later, in December of 2017, Pippen said that James won’t be better than *him* until James has six championships.
When TMZ asked him about his comments saying James is better than Jordan the week before, Pippen laughed and said, “C’mon man, what? Are you kidding me? LeBron ain’t better than me until he get six titles.”
Another week later, in December of 2017, Pippen said he picks Jordan over James.
This came after former president Barack Obama told BBC Radio that he picks Jordan over James. TMZ caught Pippen on the street again, and Pippen said he agreed with Obama and picked Jordan.
Maybe Pippen will stick to his most recent response from now on … or maybe not. Stay tuned!