Scottie Pippen Explains How LeBron James Has Surpassed Michael Jordan

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

Trying to get a consistent ranking of the top NBA players of all time out of Scottie Pippen is about as hard as it was to score on the all-word defender back in the day.

On Thursday, the Chicago Bulls legend and winner of six NBA championships once again weighed in on the Michael Jordan–LeBron James debate, and his thoughts nearly sent professional “First Take” screamer Stephen A. Smith into a mental breakdown in which he meanders around city outskirts muttering “blasphemous!” under his breath.

“The numbers don’t lie. [LeBron is] right there. He probably will never catch [Jordan] in terms of MVP, but in terms of statistics, LeBron is right there,” Pippen said. “And when you look across the board—not just scoring—check his assists, check his rebounds, he’s probably ahead of Jordan.”

As we mentioned, Pippen’s obviously been asked this question a lot. In turn, he’s actually come up with almost as many answers.

Here he is in 2011:

Michael Jordan is probably the greatest scorer to play the game. But I may go so far as to say Lebron James may be the greatest player to ever play the game because he is so potent offensively that not only can he score at will, but he keeps everybody involved.

Not only will LeBron dominate from the offensive end as well, but he’s also doing it on the defensive end, which really makes him the complete package.

Two years later, Alonzo Mourning told a crowd (of mostly Miami Heat fans, it should be noted), “Scottie said that LeBron would’ve kicked MJ’s ass.”

Then in 2014, Pippen apparently tried to wipe those assertions from the record.

“Did I ever say I’d take LeBron over Mike?” Pippen told a radio station.

“No I did not say I’d take LeBron over Mike. The reality is you need to go back and figure out what I said.”

Then, in 2017, Pippen said he wouldn’t even rank LeBron ahead of Kobe Bryant, due to the championship count.

“Would I rank LeBron over Kobe? In terms of best of all time? No,” he said. “There’s something about five that beats three. … Kobe won five championships. LeBron won three—although he’s been to seven [straight] Finals.”

Much like he did to opponents during his playing days, Pippen apparently likes to keep us guessing.

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