Posts Tagged ‘Scottie Pippen’

The 2011 NBA Finals is now tied at 2 games apiece. The Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat are putting on a great show for all the fans. Every game seems to come down to the last possession, making for great theater. Some people are even asking if this is the best Finals in the last decade.

But the real question on everybody’s mind is; “Where is LeBron James?”

It was only a few weeks ago that Scottie Pippen was saying he is a better player than Michael Jordan and now people are ready to put his face on the back of a milk carton.

On the biggest stage of his career LeBron has come up small. After playing 46 minutes and only scoring eight points in Game 4 of the Finals people are beginning to wonder if he has what it takes to be a true champion.

To be fair, James has had great playoffs so far. After dominating late in games against the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls people were beginning to talk about how clutch LeBron had become. It seemed like he was finally ready to be crowned “King James.”  But something funny happened on the way to the coronation. Namely, LeBron stopped playing. At least in the fourth quarter of the Finals. So far in the first four games of the Finals LeBron has a combined 12 fourth quarter points. Those numbers are certainly not Jordanesque.

The one player in this series who has earned the right to be compared to Jordan has been Dwayne Wade. He has been dominant in the fourth quarter and has carried the Heat throughout the Finals. He’s been the one closing out games while LeBron fades into the backdrop.

Fans and media alike are starting to bring up Game 5 against the Boston Celtics from last year’s playoffs. It was widely believed that LeBron, then with the Cleveland Cavaliers, simply gave up during that game and used it as an excuse to leave Cleveland. People may now look at that as just another example of LeBron not being able to handle the pressure of a big game.

He came to Miami to win a championship and he very well may do it this year. The Heat still have a great chance to win this series. Two of the last three games will be played in Miami. But what happens if LeBron continues to play poorly and still get a ring? Will he be happy to be playing the Scottie Pippen role instead of the Michael Jordan role?

It will be interesting to see if the Heat can win a championship not because of LeBron but in spite of him.

Scottie Pippen sent shock waves throughout the sports world today when he suggested that LeBron James “may be” the greatest player to ever lace up a pair of sneakers. Even better than Michael Jordan.

Most people could not believe their ears and some even questioned Pippen’s sanity. Michael Jordan is a Sacred Cow as far as most sports writers and fans are concerned. “He is the greatest ever”, goes the mantra. “No one will ever be better than him. Not Kobe Bryant, not LeBron.” The only fact that anyone has to bring up to end all comparisons is, “Jordan has six rings. LeBron has none.”

So for a former teammate of Jordan’s to come out and say that LeBron may be better player, it sounds like blasphemy to most.

To be fair, Pippen did preface his comment by stating, “Michael Jordan is probably the greatest scorer to play the game.”  Even though Kareem Abdul Jabbar is the All Time Leading Scorer in NBA history, I see where Pippen is coming from. He has to try to differentiate between Jordan and LeBron. It’s like when so many sports casters didn’t want to say Kobe was better than LeBron they started saying Kobe was the best “closer” in the game. But LeBron was still the best “player.” He was just trying to soften what was coming next.

And then he dropped the hammer when he said, “But I may go as 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.” This is what got everybody up in arms.

And the reactions were swift and harsh. Many fans said Pippen was just bitter and jealous of Jordan’s fame and skill. Some said he was just downright stupid. Some even took the time to make fun of his recent financial troubles. But they all seem to forget that the man is entitled to his own opinion.

Pippen shot back to all his critics via Twitter, saying, “For all of you that don’t know, I played the game. You keep watching and cheering.”  Touché, Scottie, touché.

And all this brings up to one important question: Will there ever be a time when a player comes along who is better than Jordan? It seems like an inevitability. I’m sure people never thought they would see a better player than Julius “Dr. J” Irving until Jordan came along.

There will always be a debate as to who was the greatest in every sport. Is Mike Tyson better then Muhammad Ali? Is Tiger Woods better than Jack Nicklaus? Is Barry Bonds better than Hank Aaron? And so on. It’s never going to end. But that’s what makes sports so great.

Maybe LeBron James will wind up having a better career than Michael Jordan. Who knows? Let’s all just enjoy watching this great group of talented players that we have in the NBA right now. There may even come a time when we get to tell our children, “I got to see LeBron play.”