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Kareem writes open letter to Pippen about LeBron, Jordan

May 31, 2011, 2:09 PM EDT

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar AP

Everyone has climbed all over Scottie Pippen in recent days for putting LeBron James on the same pedestal with Michael Jordan, calling Jordan the best scorer of all time but LeBron a potentially better all around player. At best it felt a little premature. In Chicago that was blasphemy.

Now Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has entered the discussion with an open letter to Scottie Pippen given to our man Mark Medina at the Los Angeles Times.

The letter says Pippen is wrong — Jordan isn’t even the best scorer ever.

Dear Scottie,

I have nothing but respect for you my friend as an athlete and knowledgeable basketball mind. But you are way off in your assessment of who is the greatest player of all time and the greatest scorer of all time. Your comments are off because of your limited perspective. You obviously never saw Wilt Chamberlain play who undoubtedly was the greatest scorer this game has ever known. When did MJ ever average 50.4 points per game plus 25.7 rebounds? (Wilt in the 1962 season when blocked shot statistics were not kept). We will never accurately know how many shots Wilt blocked. Oh, by the way in 1967 and 68, Wilt was a league leader in assists. Did MJ ever score 100 points in a game? How many times did MJ score more than 60 points in a game? MJ led the league in scoring in consecutive seasons for 10 years but he did this in an NBA that eventually expanded into 30 teams vs. when Wilt played and there were only 8 teams….

In terms of winning, Michael excelled as both an emotional and scoring leader but Bill Russell’s Celtics won eight consecutive NBA Championships. Bill’s rebounding average per game is over 22.5 lifetime, MJs best rebounding years was eight per game (1989).… Bill played on a total of 11 championship teams and as you very well know, Scottie, the ring is the thing, and everything else is just statistics. So I would advise you to do a little homework before crowning Michael or LeBron with the title of best ever. As dominant as he is, LeBron has yet to win a championship. I must say that it looks like Miami has finally put the team together that will change that circumstance. Its my hope that today’s players get a better perspective on exactly what has been done in this league in the days of yore.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar,
NBA’s All-Time Leading Scorer

I love that Kareem puts on his letters “NBA’s All-Time Leading Scorer.” Which also was a reminder to Pippen that there were other guys at other positions who could score a little.

  1. connaniii - Jun 6, 2011 at 8:59 PM

    There´s a feat than Jordan and only Jordan accomplished and it seems to go forever unnoticed. He´s the only player in the history of the NBA to win both the scoring championship (he did it 11 times overall, but most importantly he did it every year his team won the NBA championship), and here is where all comparisons fall short; forget about Kobe, Lebron, Wilt, Kareem, Jerry West, Baylor, Pettit, Nate Archibald, etc,etc,etc, He managed to do it every time he won the championship; and everyone knows that it doesn´t add up., I mean he was the target every year because they knew he had to be stopped, yet they couldn´t!!!! he was truly a man on a mission!!!!

  2. anythingbutyanks - Jun 6, 2011 at 10:17 PM

    Jordan is an all-time gamer with unrivaled WILL to win. LeBron is just a pure athletic freak who could play pos. 1-5 and defend 1-5 if need be. LeBron may not be the best at anything, but he has the most complete skill set of any player in the NBA of the last 20 years, and maybe ever. This still doesn’t mean that he is the best player of all time, just the most complete. I’m sure the statisitcs are available, but I wouldn’t know where to find them- however, the title of greatest scorer of all time title should go to the player with the highest scoring efficiency per 48 minutes played, with the field limited to those who played at least the league average minutes per game for at least the league average career duration.

    • connaniii - Jun 7, 2011 at 1:35 PM

      MJ not only lead the league in scoring every year he won the title, he also managed to surpass his scoring average in the playoffs and what`s more, he upped it the finals!!!! a true monster!!!!

  3. dysraw1 - Aug 9, 2011 at 11:03 PM

    Kareem forgot to mention the big O 1 of the most dominant players i ever had the pleasure of seeing in and nba jersey.

  4. cuejay - Aug 22, 2011 at 3:12 PM

    Wilt forever and shall be the most dominant player of his era. The thing is, he had no physical match. His combination of size and ability made him IMPOSSIBLE to defend. 7’1″ 275lbs was a rarity in the league.

    “Now consider that the bulk of his competition at the center position was significantly smaller than he was. There’s a lot of hoopla surrounding the Wilt Chamberlain versus Bill Russell matchup. Yet, Russell was only listed as 6-9 to 6-10 220lbs. Another Hall of Famer, Dave Cowens, was listed as 6-8 230lbs. Wes Unseld was only listed at about 6-6 to 6-7, and Willis Reed was only 6-9 240lbs. Of course, one could say that Shaquille O’Neal is much larger than most of his opponents, but the fact was, Chamberlain dwarfed everybody, where O’Neal is at least used to frequently facing other seven footers.” (Suite101: Could Wilt Dominate Today’s NBA?,

  5. elliottness53 - Aug 27, 2011 at 8:26 AM

    I read an earlier post that compared MJ’s and Wilt’s scoring averages for the 16 years they played. He or she made a valid point about Wilts’s scoring average dropping from over 30 ppg his first 8 years in the league to 20 ppg the next eight. What I’d like to point out is a little publicized fact that Chamberlain suffered a serious knee injury that took some of that freakish athletic ability away. Yes, he was the biggest player of his era, but in terms of sheer dominance, I have to go with the big men: and not necessarily in this order: Wilt, Shaq and yes, Kareem.

  6. stayhigh_247 - Sep 5, 2011 at 2:30 AM

    Wilt and Mr Russell are no doubt worthy of their praise but…….MJ took the NBA to a level never seen before, he was the face of the league until he really retired. Thanks to tv MJ took the game global and now guys like Kobe can go to China and get an MJ like reception. True without the oldschool guys there would be no MJ, but he did what nobody else could, not to mention Wilt & Bill had sometimes a 1 1/2 to 2 feet height advantage over their opponents, so they should have dominated the lesser talent anyway. with all that said, Scotty didn’t play in that era so he’s only going by what he saw firsthand. I think he got caught up in the moment when he made that statement

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