For years Michael Jordan stood on the mountaintop as the greatest player in NBA history. Kobe Bryant was then touted as the next-closest thing to Jordan, and in the eyes of many, LeBron James has overtaken Jordan as the game’s greatest player.
Of course, it’s an endless argument and one that includes the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. While James has been touted in some circles as the best player of all-time, the likes of Allen Iverson and Tracy McGrady have pushed back against Bryant being overlooked.
As James and the Los Angeles Lakers went into the All-Star break on a downturn and outside the playoff picture, criticism has continued to mount.
The latest of which came from Scottie Pippen during an appearance on ESPN’s First Take, as he did not compare James favorably to Jordan or Bryant:
“When I look at LeBron, he’s not what Michael was as a player. He’s not even what Kobe Bryant was as a player. So, when you talk about trying to compare Michael’s instinct, his ability to take over games, his ability to want to have the last shot. … LeBron doesn’t have that gene. That’s not in him. Kobe has that gene. I see a little bit of it in Paul George. I see a little bit of it in Kawhi, Westbrook.”
It can be reasoned Pippen’s connection to and history with Jordan presumably influenced his opinion of James. Though, in the past there have been cases where he’s lauded the 16-year veteran.
During the appearance on “First Take,” Pippen did clarify he was not denouncing James as a whole. He simply does not believe he has the same clutch mentality as Bryant and Jordan, which has been a common knock on James throughout his career.
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