Less than 12 hours after the Chicago Bulls fell to LeBron James and the Miami Heat, Bulls great Scottie Pippen rubbed some salt into Bulls' fans' wounds by committing basketball blasphemy.
Pippen said that James may already be a better basketball player right now than Michael Jordan was when he and Pippen won six championships together with the Bulls.
"Michael Jordan is probably the greatest scorer to ever play in the game, but I may go as far as to say LeBron James may be the greatest player to ever play the game," Pippen said Friday morning on ESPN Radio. "Because he's so potent offensively that not only can he score at will, but he keeps everybody involved and you have to be on your Ps and Qs on defense because no guy on the basketball court is not a threat to score when LeBron James is out there. Not only that, but he's also doing it on the defensive end."
Look, James is a great player, and the sky's the limit for what he might accomplish some day. But to say James is, at age 26, already the greatest player ever to play the game -- well, that's just wrong. He's not.
A few comparisons ...
NBA titles: Jordan 6, James 0
NBA Finals MVPs: Jordan 6, James 0
NBA regular-season MVPs: Jordan 5, James 2
NBA Defensive Player of the Year Awards: Jordan 1, James 0
I think Pippen was looking to praise LeBron more than he was looking to dis Jordan, but, frankly, the comments sound like a little bit of sour grapes after a career of being a second banana. Pippen pointing out that LeBron "keeps everybody involved" suggests that Pippen thinks Jordan didn't do enough to keep him involved, and Pippen saying that LeBron is "doing it on the defensive end" suggests that Pippen thinks he had to do too much of the dirty work on D for the Bulls in the 1990s.
LeBron is great, and he was unquestionably the best player on the floor during the Eastern Conference Finals, Derrick Rose's regular season MVP award aside. But to suggest that James is better than Jordan is, well, dumb.