LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan: 10 Reasons Why Scottie Pippen Was Wrong

Mike FiskContributor IIMay 31, 2011

LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan: 10 Reasons Why Scottie Pippen Was Wrong

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    13 Dec 1996:  Guard Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls looks on during a game against the New Jersey Nets at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  The Bulls won the game, 114-92. Mandatory Credit: Al Bello  /Allsport
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    In an interview with Scottie Pippen on ESPN radio, Scottie made this statement: "Michael Jordan is probably the greatest scorer to ever play the game. I may go so far as saying LeBron James may be the greatest player to ever play the game."  

    This statement has been in the news everywhere.  Some say Pippen is totally right and LeBron is going to be the greatest player to have ever played the game, but I, along with many other MJ fans and even some MJ haters, totally disagree.

    Here are 10 reasons why Jordan is far more than just a great scorer, as he is—and always will be—the greatest of all time.

10. MJ Was a Better Rebounder...

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    25 Nov 1996:  Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan (right) and forward Dennis Rodman go up for a rebound during a game against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles, California.  The Bulls won the game, 88-84.     Mandatory Credit: J.
    J.D. Cuban/Getty Images

    Oh yeah...MJ is a rebounder better and I'll tell you why.  

    Michael was 6'6", 195 lbs and grabbed a career average of 6.2 rebounds a game, and at one point grabbed eight rebounds per game in a single season.  Jordan was up against a much better NBA than today with great rebounders like Patrick Ewing, Hakeem Olajuwon, Dennis Rodman and Dikembe Mutombo to name a few.

    Now for LeBron...

    He's 6'8", 240 lbs and has a career average of 7.1 rebounds a game.  LeBron has two inches and 45 lbs on MJ and he can only average less than one rebound a game more, and LeBron plays in a much worse NBA than Michael did.  There are some great rebounding players today, but not nearly as many as in the '80s and '90s.  

    If Jordan was playing today, I could easily see him grabbing anywhere from nine to 10 rebounds each game. 

9. Jordan Could Block

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    Size applies to the blocking aspect of their games in the same way as it did in rebounding.  

    Jordan is two inches shorter and 45 pounds lighter, yet both MJ and LeBron have the same career average of 0.8 blocks a game. MJ played during a much stronger NBA in the '80s and '90s.

    If Mike were playing today, I'd say he could grab 2.5 blocks a game. That number may be a little much, but seriously—he was 6'6" and posted 1.6 blocks in one season against much tougher teams and much better players.

8. Mike Gave Up Fewer Turnovers

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    14 Nov 1997:  Guard Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls tries to fend off guard Bobby Phills of the Charlotte Hornets during a game at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.  The Bulls won the game 105-92. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel  /Allsport
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Career average for MJ: 2.7.

    Career average for LeBron: 3.3. 

    MJ was much better at controlling the ball and not turning it over, and back in the '80s and '90s, he had to square off with defenders like Magic Johnson, John Stockton, Gary Payton and Mookie Blaylock, guys that created turnovers and made the best of players look stupid.

    No question, MJ was a better ball-handler.

7. MJ Could Create More Turnovers

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Michael Jordan was a stealing specialist, and LeBron is not. 

    MJ's career average for steals per game: 2.3. 

    LeBron's career best for steals a game: 2.2. 

    And to make matters worse, MJ's lowest steals per game average was 1.7 (before his return as a Wizard) and LeBron's career average is 1.7.  I don't think I need to continue—MJ was much better defensively than LeBron.

6. Michael Was a Better Scorer Than LeBron

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    11 Jun 1997:  Michael Jordan #23 of the Chicago Bulls takes a shot at the basket during game five of the NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Bulls defeated the Jazz 90-88.   Mandatory Credit: Brian Bahr  /Alls
    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    Pippen did get one thing right in his comment: Jordan is one of the all-time greatest scorers to have ever played the game.  MJ could score whenever and wherever he wanted.  

    Jordan averaged 37 points a game and posted over 3,000 points in a single season.  He could outscore anyone and in only 15 seasons, posted the third-most points in NBA history.  MJ averaged 30.1 points per game for his career, and could take over a game like nobody's business.  MJ played like Dirk did in the Mavs-Thunder series on a regular basis.

    LeBron simply can't compete with that.  MJ will always be the best scorer in NBA history and I don't care what stat you throw at me about LeBron—MJ is and always will be better. 

5. In a Clutch Situation, Everyone Would Want Jordan over LeBron

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    I don't care what you say about LeBron in the Bulls series: MJ was way more clutch then LeBron will ever be. 

    Jordan could simply make the shot that he had to, he could make the steal that he had to...he could do whatever it was that needed to be done. 

    LeBron did great against Rose defensively in that series in the fourth quarter...but seriously? That's not enough to make him better than Michael—not by a long shot.

4. 72-10

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    20 Apr 1996:  Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan and forward Scottie Pippen look on duirng a game against the Indiana Pacers played at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.  The Pacers won the game, 100-99. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel  /Allsport
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Jordan won 635 games as a Chicago Bull.  Winning is proof that you're a good basketball player.  Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to a 72-10 record in 1995-96.  

    Micheal did have a great cast of players in Scottie, Rodman, Harper and Kukoc but looking at the overall skill of those guys and the overall skill of Bosh, Wade and LeBron, the Heat should have been No. 1 in the East and maybe challenged the 1996 Bulls, but they didn't

3. Jordan Was a Better Leader

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    7 Jun 1996:  Michael Jordan of the  Chicago Bull, left, discusses strategy with teammates Ron Harper, center, and Scottie Pippen during a time-out on the court during the fourth quarter of game two in the NBA Finals at the United Center in Chicago, Illino
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Without a doubt, Jordan was a great leader, and a far better one then LeBron.  Jordan led the Bulls with the flu, he trusted the ball to Paxton and Kerr when the game was on the line and what impressed me the most was his loyalty to his teammates.

    During the 1997 NBA draft, Jerry Krause wanted to trade Pippen to Vancouver for the fourth pick in the draft so they could pick up Tracy McGrady, but when Jordan got wind of that he threatened to retire.

    LeBron, on the other hand, cares more about his own career than his teammates and headed off to Miami to win with an All-Star cast instead of working with his teammates to get a title in Cleveland. 

2. Jordan Has 5 MVP Awards

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    12 Jun 1998:  Michael Jordan #23 of the Chicago Bulls holds up the MVP trophy before the Eastern Conference game against the Indiana Pacers at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Pacers 104-98. .  Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dani
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    LeBron has two and is still young, but now that he's on an All-Star cast, his numbers are limited and he has to share the spotlight. 

    Jordan was also on an All-Star cast with Pippen, Rodman and Harper, but he still managed to win MVP awards and average 30 points a game (29.6 to be exact).  LeBron could maybe win one or two more during his career, but keep in mind: MJ was able to get an MVP award in a much more talented NBA.  LeBron in the '90s wouldn't come close to the LeBron we see now.

1. Jordan's 6 NBA Championships vs. LeBron's None

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    INGLEWOOD, CA - JUNE 12: Guard Michael Jordan #23 of the Chicago Bulls sits nexts to his wife Juanita and his dad James while hugging the NBA Championship Trophy after the Bulls defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 4-1 after Game 5 of the NBA Finals on June 12
    Ken Levine/Getty Images

    The true greats are determined by how many rings they have.

    The fact that MJ got six and LeBron needs two of the best players in the NBA to get him to the Finals with a fighting chance tells you a lot.

Jordan Wins

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    I3 Jun 1997:  Michael Jordan #23 of the Chicago Bulls celebrates the winning  game six of the NBA Final against the Utah Jazz at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Jazz 90-86..   Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel  /Allsport
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    LeBron isn't bad.  In fact, he will go down as one of the best to ever play the game of basketball, but there is no way that LeBron will ever be considered better then Michael Jordan.  

    If Michael Jordan in his prime went up against LeBron today, Jordan would make LeBron look like the little brother playing a pickup game against his big brother.  Jordan is, and always will be, the greatest of all time.