Scottie Pippen Takes Down LeBron: He's Not Better than Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant

Scottie Pippen believes Michael Jordan is undisputedly the greatest player to ever grace the NBA and that LeBron James is not even on the same level as Kobe Bryant.

The debate over whether Jordan or LeBron is the greatest NBA player of all time has rumbled on for years and will continue to do so long after the latter retires. However, Pippen, who won six NBA titles alongside Jordan, isn't buying the comparisons.

"When I look at LeBron, he's not what Michael (Jordan) was as a player," he said on ESPN's First Take on Thursday. "He's not even what Kobe Bryant was as a player."

Both LeBron and Jordan reached the postseason 13 times, but while the former won the NBA title and was named NBA Finals MVP in each of his six trips to the NBA Finals, the latter has won half of the titles, despite reaching the final act of the postseason in the last straight eight seasons.

There's an argument that MJ's supporting cast at the Chicago Bulls was always far superior to those LeBron has had around him, even though his first two titles came in Miami alongside Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.

From a statistical point of view, Jordan and LeBron's careers are similar. The duo ranked fourth and fifth in the all-time scoring list, even though the former has led the league in scoring 10 times to LeBron's one.

In his best scoring season—1987—Jordan averaged 37.1 points per game, while James's most prolific season saw him average 31.4 points in 2006.

Both players were named rookie of the year and share nine MVP crowns between them, with Jordan leading that particular contest by five to four.

Pippen explained that what really separated the two was not the number of titles or individual awards, but their impact and influence on the court. "When you talk about trying to compare Michael's instinct, his ability to take over games, his ability to want to have that last shot […] LeBron doesn't have that gene," he said.

When it comes to the playoff, James has scored almost 1,000 points more than Jordan, but at an average of 28.9 points per game, compared to the six-time NBA champion's 33.4 points per game.

However, figures prove LeBron is just as likely to take the last shot of a game as Jordan was. In fact, LeBron has hit five buzzer-beaters—calculated as go-ahead shots in the final five seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime—in his postseason career, two more than Jordan did during his 15 seasons in the NBA.

Writing for Newsweek on Thursday, former Los Angeles Lakers legend Karee-Abdul-Jabbar, suggested LeBron was bigger than the "GOAT" debate and was in fact a modern hero.

LeBron has done that [promoting cultural values] through his outspoken political and social advocacy, especially in support of racial equality," wrote Abdul-Jabbar, a six-time MVP and the all-time scoring leader in NBA history. "But beyond just talking, he has taken positive actions to better the community and country."

LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
LeBron James, #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers, dribbles against the Boston Celtics during the second half at TD Garden on February 7 in Boston, Massachusetts. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
Scottie Pippen Takes Down LeBron: He's Not Better than Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant | Sports