“I was LeBron James before LeBron James” – Scottie Pippen once tried to end all quest on GOAT debate with staggering take
LeBron James is widely regarded as one of the best, if not the best, basketball players, and his personal accolades and team success are evidence of this. But, as is the case with any debate, there is a side that believes otherwise. In LeBron’s case, one set believes he isn’t in the GOAT discussion while the other set believes he doesn’t qualify for the Mount Rushmore of basketball talent.
Scottie Pippen seemed to be a member of the latter, back in 2015. And, in a weird choice of comparison, the former Bulls forward compared himself to the 4-time NBA MVP, to make his point known. Self-deprecation or self-appreciation in the guise of depreciation, one can only guess.
The statement in its entirety is questionable and was bound to rile up a discussion in NBA circles. Pippen, while comparing himself and James, said:
“I was LeBron James before LeBron James. It’s not even close. They want to compare him to the greatest whether it be Michael or Magic, but he’s more closer to myself.”
However, context is key in a lot of ways. In 2015, LeBron had established himself as one of the greats of the game. But, he was yet to win a championship with the Los Angeles Lakers or to take the crown of the NBA’s all-time scorer. Why this is important is simple: Pippen has changed his opinion about the Lakers star while comparing him to the likes of Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson.
Scottie Pippen reverted his stance and called LeBron James the “greatest statistical guy” in all of basketball
While the release of The Last Dance may have factored in Pippen’s statement, James climbing the points and assists charts while adding championships, including the 3-1 comeback, may also have led to Pippen’s amended statement.
“LeBron will be the greatest statistical guy to ever play the game of basketball. And there’s no comparison to him. None. So does that make him the greatest to ever play the game? I’ll leave that up for debate. Because I don’t believe there’s a great player because our game is a team game and one player can’t do it,” said Pippen on “The Hot Sauce” podcast.
While there is still some ground for Pippen to make it to the LeBron James is GOAT camp, he seems to be in that direction for now.