LEBRON James booked a seventh straight NBA Finals trip and became the all-time Playoffs scoring leader after the Cleveland Cavaliers disposed the Boston Celtics in their Eastern Conference Finals series, 4-1, on Thursday (Friday, Manila time).
Such incredible feats have fueled the fire on the ongoing debate: Has James surpassed Michael Jordan as the greatest of all time?
For Jordan’s Chicago Bulls teammate and NBA Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen, the comparison is pointless. There’s no use comparing James to Jordan, and even to another great in Kobe Bryant for that matter, mainly because the four-time MVP plays different from the two all-time great guards.
"I don't think [LeBron] should be compared to either of those players because they play different positions. Kobe and Michael [Jordan] are both 2-guards. They're both scorers. They're mostly like a Kyrie [Irving]. They're looking to score the basketball when it hits their hand,” said Pippen to ESPN recently.
“They're not looking to make plays for anyone on the floor. They're not looking to be a facilitator. That's the role that LeBron plays because he's such a dominant and powerful force, and he's a great passer,” he added.
Pippen said comparing James to Magic Johnson or to himself is better since they play the same way, but the six-time champ was quick to admit one difference.
"I think he plays a lot more like Magic. A lot more like myself, how I played. Obviously he's more dominant than both me and Magic because of the way that he plays the game -- his physicality, his athleticism surpass Magic, as well as me," he said.
When pressed if he believes James ranks higher than Johnson, Pippen was quick to clarify his point.
“I don't want to say he's surpassed Magic. They're both up there. Magic is truly one of the greatest to ever play the game, and he transcended how a big guard, 6-foot-9, could play all over the floor, and really motivated me that I could play at the top of the floor and run an offense as well,” he said.
“That's what you're seeing in LeBron. He's a guy that runs a team. We never saw Kobe and Michael at the point running a team. They're not comfortable in that position because when they cross halfcourt, they're thinking to score,” added Pippen.