Friday, May 27, 2011


My tweetstream went crazy today after Scottie Pippen seemingly stated in an interview that he considered LeBron James rather than his old running mate Michael Jordan to be the Greatest Of All Time. Even prior to Pip’s clarification, many felt he made a valid point. MJ loyalists lost their minds of course. As for me, one who admires both Michael’s and LeBron’s games while viewing them mostly as the enemy throughout their respective careers, below is what I had to say one tweet at a time.

What has Pippen been sippin?

Technically the NBA GOAT discussion should begin & end with Bill Russell. I don't see anybody putting their achievements up against his.

Kareem weighs in on GOAT question. "Jordan, Kobe, LeBron, Magic, etc. can all go F themselves & then build me my damn statue!"

To which Karl Malone added "The guy under seven feet tall who scored most points in NBA career is the best of all time. Guys like Kareem and Wilt had it too easy."

Let me settle this GOAT debate once & for all. There have been many NBA princes, only one true KING. Bernard

If you HAVE to pick a guy to be GOAT, with various variables and intangibles thrown into equation, the greatest player ever (i.e. most complete skill set) is probaby Oscar Robertson

If LeBron had played under 90's rules of allowable physicality, he'd be lesser than what we know him to be. If MJ had had today's offensive freedom, he'd have been even greater.

Ultimately you need to see full range of player's career to make an informed judgment. Right now MAYBE you can compare Jordan and James peak to peak

Kobe Bryant was not mentioned by Pippen but surely cannot be excluded from this conversation. I'm waiting to see how he adapts over the next couple years with much less lift to work with. Then I’ll compare him to Michael Jordan who smoothly transitioned from a sky high player to one who excelled from closer to the ground. I’m not even thinking of LeBron as a GOAT candidate yet. He’s a work in progress, or at least his career is still progressing even if his skill set is now as good as it will ever be. LeBron, who entered the league with unparalleled fanfare, may or may not eclipse all who came before him.

RT @ScottiePippen (the guy who got this mess started when many indeed did get him wrong) Don't get me wrong, MJ was and is the greatest. But LeBron could by all means get to his level someday.

Forget GOAT. I'm not even convinced LeBron is better than Carmelo Anthony. And I'm not just saying this because Melo is on the Knicks now. This opinion was formed when he played for the Nuggets, which is why I was in favor of giving up the farm for him.

What remains beyond question is that Michael Jordan to this day is the best marketed athlete of all time. Everything fell into place for him.

MJ's advisers told him do a sneaker line, commercials with Spike Lee, cartoon movie to reach the next generation of consumers. Lebron's advisers suggested THE DECISION. So clearly there's no argument about which phenomenal athlete had the better off court team.

LeBron would've won titles if he replaced MJ on 90's Bulls. I assume this can be shown by simulating it on a variety of video game systems. MJ probably doesn't win titles with 2000's Cavs, even more of a 1-man team than Derrick Rose’s Bulls. MJ maybe leaves Cleveland as LeBron did, but surely not to join a guy like D-Wade who legitimately stakes his own claim to be considered the best in the league at this time.

Much as this Knicks fan hated MJ back in the day, I decided he was GOAT when Ewing went out to double him so MJ dished to Bill Wennington for game winning dunk. I’m referring of course to Jordan’s 55 point game in his return to Madison Square Garden after coming back to league from mini-retirement. The lack of ego display by a most egotistical individual and the determination to win by any means necessary impressed me more than most of his game winning shots.

A big part of what makes a guy considered GOAT is singlular moments. Wilt's 100, Kobe's 81, MJ's 55 in MSG comeback; flu game; heart breaking Father's Day post victory tears; game winner after gentle nudge of Jazz defender (Jordan rules). What is LeBron's signature? I’d say despite many incredible games (as of this blog post in May of 2011) that he’s still in search of one.


Smell test as G.O.A.T. tie breaker: Maybe the guy who smells best is the greatest of all time?  But who is willing to do that research?

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