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LeBron says he’s no Jordan, no matter what Pippen thinks

May 28, 2011, 10:04 PM EDT

Washington Wizards v Miami Heat Getty Images

Scottie Pippen took plenty of heat for having the temerity to put anybody on Michael Jordan’s perch.

Especially somebody half the country hates.

It stuck his as a bit early to say a mid-career LeBron should be on that level. And LeBron feels the same way, he told Marc Spears at Yahoo, although he dances around saying Jordan is better.

“I got a long way, long way to be mentioned as one of the all-time greats. Not even just Jordan – there are a lot of great players who have played in this league: Larry Bird, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and all these guys that are floating around with multiple rings. Bill Russell. All of these guys who have pioneered the game for myself and [Dwyane Wade].

“I’m gracious, humbled by Scottie’s comments with him being a teammate of his and seeing Michael on a day-to-day basis. But as far as me? I don’t know. I’m not going to sit here and say I’m better than Jordan or if I’m not better than Jordan. It’s not about that.”

Maybe someday we can have that conversation. Not yet. And LeBron is going to have to flash some rings to get into the club first, let alone be invited over to Jordan’s table.

  1. Justin - May 28, 2011 at 10:16 PM

    And LeBron is going to have to flash some rings to get into the club first

    Is that your only argument?

    • Justin - May 29, 2011 at 1:39 AM

      Clearly most don’t get the Bad Teacher Jason Segel reference

  2. ashutto20 - May 28, 2011 at 10:33 PM

    Its the only argument I need!!!

  3. david8726 - May 28, 2011 at 10:41 PM

    I don’t think rings are everything. If LeBron doesn’t win 6 rings, Jordan won’t automatically be better than him (just how like Bill Russel isn’t automatically better than everyone just because he has the most rings).

    But I think it’s fair to say that Bron needs to at least get a couple titles before he can be in the GOAT conversation. Winning titles does carry weight.

    In terms of overall basketball skills, I think he’s already there. But his CAREER needs to go to higher places.

  4. crimhollingsworth - May 28, 2011 at 10:48 PM

    Hmmm. Needs to flash some rings?
    Q: How would a legend do that?
    A: Join Dwayne Wade’s team and bring Chris Bosh with you then it’ll be impossible not to get some rings.

  5. valman61 - May 28, 2011 at 11:01 PM

    Sorry but lebron James is an overall better player than Michael Jordan. MJ was never an overall dominant player in every facet of the game like lebron is. Lebron guards everyone, passes, and defends. He plays transition, he could run the point, play the wing, post, and pull up. MJ still goes down as the goat simply for his accomplishents, but he was never the overall player lebron James is.

  6. ashutto20 - May 28, 2011 at 11:02 PM

    Its the only argument I need haha

  7. nicosamuelson2 - May 28, 2011 at 11:17 PM

    LeBron is clearly better than Jordan through this point in their respective careers, but really, they were/are just getting started at this point. So LBJ has a lot of work to do.

    The real question is how well LeBron can handle a Double-A curveball.

    • gor76 - May 29, 2011 at 11:53 AM

      Through 8 seasons
      MJ 38.7MPG 0.519FG% 0.284 3P% 0.847FT% 6.3REB 6.0AST 2.7STL 1.1BLK 3.05TO 2.98PF 32.3PTS 1DPOY 3MVP 2CHAMP 2FMVP
      LBJ 40.1MPG 0.479FG% 0.329 3P% 0.744FT% 7.1REB 7.0AST 1.7STL 0.8BLK 3.33TO 1.97PF 27.7PTS 0DPOY 2MVP ?CHAMP ?FMVP

      At this point in their respective careers (after 8 seasons), MJ better field goal percentage and free throw percentage, as well as more per game steals, blocks, and points, but less turnovers, while winning more championships, MVPs, finals MVPs, and defensive player of the year awards, while playing less minutes per game. LBJ has a better 3 point percentage, more rebounds and assists, less personal fouls, and is a much better flopper.

  8. randommofo - May 29, 2011 at 12:01 AM

    When we say someone is the GOAT and all that, let’s at least have that discussion when someone’s career is pretty much over so we have hindsight. LeBron is 26- safe to say the Heat will be competing for more than just this year.

  9. nfl25 - May 29, 2011 at 12:29 AM

    the problem with this is people will always question it no matter how many rings he wins. unless wade leaves or gets hurt or whatever. i think james could have gotten to the championship this year without wade. not putting wade down, just saying you take wade off the team and james has more pressure but i think him and bosh and company could have done it. bosh was money in the playoffs this year.

    james is stud but he is kind of annoying. anyone who says people r hating on him r wrong. dont get me wrong some people just hate on him and make stuff up but not everyone is like that. i got no reaqson to hate on him, my team hasnt been competetive in 10 years. i think if he never did “the decision” show, he wouldnt have so many people not like him.

  10. david8726 - May 29, 2011 at 12:37 AM

    To all of you people saying James’ rings are less valid since he joined Wade –

    Do Magics rings not count since he played with Kareem and Worthy? Do birds not count since he played with McHale and Parish? Do MJs not count since he played with Pippen and Rodman? Do Shaq’s not count since he played with Kobe and Wade? Do Hakeem’s not count since he played with Drexler?

    You need multiple great players to win championships, folks. Over the last 30 years, every title team has had multiple hall of famers or at least multiple perrenial all stars.

    by joining Wade and Bosh, LeBron was giving himself the same type of help that every other title team has had. You can’t fault him for putting himself on a level playing field with MJ, Bird, and Magic.

  11. purdueman - May 29, 2011 at 12:55 AM

    Jordan was a closer; James isn’t and has never shown any real desire to be either. Undeniably a great player; just not a closer (therein lies the biggest difference between he and Mike).

    • digitalpoo - May 29, 2011 at 1:17 AM

      I don’t think you watched Game 5 vs. the Bulls did you.

    • david8726 - May 29, 2011 at 1:45 AM

      I’m sorry, but this post is just completely absurd in light of how many times LeBron has taken control and beaten teams at the end of games in these playoffs.

  12. diablito0402 - May 29, 2011 at 1:10 AM

    David….you dont get it , magic and bird didnt leave their teams to join another superstars TEAM to get rings. Jordan didnt leave chicago to go to the lakers and join magics team to win. People do what lbj did near their playing days to get rings. Example karl malone when he went to the lakers.

    • digitalpoo - May 29, 2011 at 1:20 AM

      Take a look at the 2006 Miami Heat team. Wade and Alonzo were heat from the start; what about Shaq and Payton?

  13. nicosamuelson2 - May 29, 2011 at 1:20 AM

    Magic did, though. When coming out of college, he said that if anyone other than the Lakers drafted him, then he was returning to school. ( the rules were different then).

  14. nicosamuelson2 - May 29, 2011 at 1:23 AM

    Also, “closer”
    Is a position in baseball, not basketball. Quit with that. Everyone says Kobe is a “closer,” well, why didn’t he close out the Mavericks? Not once? Come on. There are no closers in basketball. Only basketball players. Good ones, great ones, greater ones. LeBron is as good as they come.

  15. nicosamuelson2 - May 29, 2011 at 1:27 AM

    You might as well start talking about who is the best linebacker, tight end, or shortstop in the NBA. What a bunch of BS. “Closer.” Ha!

    (FYI, LeBron would be the best linebacker, tight end and shortstop if y’all wanted to go there).

  16. diablito0402 - May 29, 2011 at 1:40 AM

    Le choke, sorry Le brick physically is as gifted as they come, but mentally he is nowhere close to jordan hell or even kobes mental toughness under pressure. Thats why yalls boy quit cleveland and joined someone elses team so he wouldnt have to be the man to blame when things went south, the guy is a sore looser he would even shake howards hand a couple of years ago when his team got slapped. Two years in a row best record in the league with cavs and he didnt have a cast come on people see things for what they really are. He just jumped on wades back to escape full responsibility. If he would of won in cleveland he would of been loved by everyone and had everyones respect. But i dont think he has it in him, with home court advantage 2 years in a row in cleveland.

  17. nicosamuelson2 - May 29, 2011 at 1:43 AM

    Have you heard of Le English?

  18. david8726 - May 29, 2011 at 1:51 AM


    Are you saying that LeBron was supposed to do what KG did and waste most of his career by staying in a bad situation in Cleveland? He was supposed to martyr himself, playing out his prime years in a situation where he’d NEVER get quality help?

    Sorry, but that’s ridiculous. Players don’t get to play basketball forever. They get old and have to retire. There is nothing wrong with LeBron taking control and doing what the Cleveland Cavaliers GM failed to do – get quality help for himself.

    And FYI, you’re wrong about Magic Johnson. He said so himself when he was in college that he wouldn’t enter the draft if the Lakers didn’t get the #1 pick.

  19. nicosamuelson2 - May 29, 2011 at 1:56 AM

    David, you clearly know what you are talking about.

    Back to the closer thing, though. I’m a Wolves/Twins fan and if Kobe is a closer, he reminds me of Matt Capps.

    • david8726 - May 29, 2011 at 1:56 AM


      You clearly have no argument if you can’t even tell me why I’m wrong.

      • david8726 - May 29, 2011 at 1:57 AM

        nevermin, I’m an idiot. I misread your post. Sorry.

  20. balleriq - May 29, 2011 at 2:41 AM

    Fact is, pro athletes are always gonna be scrutinized no matter what they do, the only way Lebron would’ve gotten away without hate is if he won a ring in Cleveland with a weak supporting cast, or by doing it the KG way, stay loyal and sacrifice your prime years to a dead end franchise until they tire of you.

  21. jw731 - May 29, 2011 at 8:16 AM

    LeBron is a superb athlete, a great player, but he can’t even begin to walk in Jordan’s shoes. Maybe someday he might come close stat wise, if he plays long enough, but as far as leadership and an undeniable will to be the best, he doesn’t compare to MJ. Now, that’s just my opinion. Pippen just comes across as a petty man, who seems bitter he was the sidekick to the best there ever was….And in my mind, Lebron isn’t nearly as good as Oscar Roberston was for that matter….

  22. swansong144 - May 29, 2011 at 11:24 AM

    A big FU to Lebron and all of you haven’t mentioned Kobe yet. He’s light years away from Kobe and he’s not even in the same dimension as Jordan. If Kobe was playing in these finals instead of Dirk we’d be having arguments about the GOAT. Instead, because we (apparently) have a five second attention span, we’re arguing about the potential of Lebron surpassing Jordan. So, so, so stupid.

    I also love that Lebron names only Bird, Jabar, and Russell as his immediate peers to surpass before he becomes the greatest. Do you think he left out Kobe by accident? He can go fuck himself.

  23. diablito0402 - May 29, 2011 at 12:58 PM

    Swansong you couldnt be more right. 100% with you on this one. All im saying is they are giving lbj all the credit to without having done crap in his career. If you want to say hes been mvp of the league two years in a row well might as well throw in steve nash to the conversation that he is better than jordan also. Kobe got 5 rings and his clutch performnces are up the with jordan, but not quite as much. Well im predicting that in a few years will be talking about kevin durant being better than jordan.

  24. diablito0402 - May 29, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    And all those people refering to kg leaving minnesota. Kg never had the best record in the league two years in a row. How times change. Any young punk with talent that rises in the nba, and the people and media want to make their argument that hes better ggan jordan. Kobe when through the same thing, but he has rings to his credit. Now its lbj, a problaby durant in the future. Come on guys jordan was the athelete of the century(1900’s). Dont dismiss him over some young punks who aint done crap please.

  25. chargerdillon - May 29, 2011 at 1:28 PM

    Karl Malone is considered pretty good, how many rings does he have. Reggie Miller? Is he any good?
    Allen Iverson?

    There’s lots of great players who make the hall of fame who never taste a championship because they were great players who got beat by better teams.

    Comparing Lebron and Jordan is like comparing young Kobe winning rings against Karl Malone in Utah winning nothing. Different positions, different players, different teams

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