Scottie Pippen ruffled feathers when he weighed in on the GOAT debate concerning Michael Jordan and LeBron James on Feb. 14! Pippen said James isn’t even the player Kobe Bryant once was, before blasting him over his lack of effort in a recent game.
Scottie Pippen, 53, just ignited a fire under the ongoing GOAT debate concerning Michael Jordan, 55, and LeBron James, 34. — At least for LeBron fans. Pippen joined the crew of ESPN’s First Take on February 14, live from NBA All-Star weekend in Charlotte, when the topic of the greatest NBA player of all-time was brought up. Usually, the conversation surrounding the GOAT involves MJ and LBJ, but Pippen, who won six championships with MJ, took the discussion in a different direction when he said LeBron doesn’t even compare to Lakers great, Kobe Bryant.
“When I look at LeBron, he’s not what Michael was as a player,” Pippen said on Thursday in front of a live crowd. “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 that last shot. LeBron doesn’t have that gene. That’s not in him.”
Instead, Pippen said, “Kobe has that gene,” adding, “I see a little bit of it in Paul George, Kawhi [Leonard], [Russell] Westbrook. … Not too many players go on the basketball court with that.” Pippen continued: That’s the only thing I knock LeBron about is not having that clutch gene. But, a lot of players don’t have that clutch gene and a lot of players don’t have that opportunity to even develop that clutch gene.”
Watch the moment below, and then see why LeBron fans are saying Pippen was whistling a much different tune when he appeared on the same show [First Take], last season.
"When I look at LeBron, he's not what Michael (Jordan) was as a player. He's not even what Kobe Bryant was as a player."
— First Take (@FirstTake) February 14, 2019
Fans vent off on Twitter after Pippen’s comments on First Take. And, many accused him of playing both sides of the fence when it comes to the GOAT debate. Why? — Well, here’s what fans meant by Pippen flip-flopping between MJ and LBJ.
— Yahoo Sports NBA (@YahooSportsNBA) February 14, 2019
Also during the ESPN segment, Pippen criticized James for his lack of effort during a game earlier this week, which resulted in the Los Angeles Lakers loss, 117-113 against the Atlanta Hawks. “I can sit here and say today, I watched LeBron the other night. The game was on the line. And he made little or no effort to go after the ball,” Pippen explained.
ESPN host Max Kellerman defended James, claiming the three-time NBA champ has already played more minutes than Jordan did in his entire career. But, Pippen hit back.
“It’s not that,” he replied to Kellerman. “It’s that clutch gene. I’m not taking it away that he don’t know how to win, and he’s not willing to have the ball in his hands. But the players that have that clutch gene, they’re gonna go get that ball.”