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Pippen: LeBron 'Greatest Player to Ever Play'

Pippen says James' D puts him above Jordan

By David Hill
|  Friday, May 27, 2011  |  Updated 1:12 PM EDT
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Pippen: LeBron 'Greatest Player to Ever Play'

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When we last heard from Scottie Pippen, the Bulls legend was calling the Miami Heat's Big Three "two and a half players" and deriding the Heat's quest to become the 21st century version of the 1990s juggernaut Chicago Bulls in SLAM magazine.

He may still think little of Chris Bosh (the half player in Pippen's analogy), but this morning Pippen said LeBron James might be the greatest basketball player of all time, even ahead of Pippen's legendary Bulls teammate Michael Jordan.

"Michael Jordan is probably the greatest scorer to play the game," Pippen said on ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike In The Morning today. "But I may go as far as to say LeBron James may be the greatest player to ever play the game because he is so potent offensively that not only can he score at will but he keeps everybody involved."

Pippen credits James' tenacious defense for putting him above Jordan. "Not only will LeBron dominate from the offensive end as well, but he's also doing it on the defensive end, which really makes him the complete package. He's able to get in those passing lanes, shoot those gaps and create transition opportunities where he is pretty much unstoppable."

How effective has James been on defense as of late? When he guarded Bulls guard Derrick Rose in the Eastern Conference Finals, Rose shot 6.3% from the floor. Derrick Rose won the NBA MVP this year. MVP voters will be forgiven if they are feeling a bit of buyer's remorse today.

As for LeBron's reputation as a player who disappears in the clutch, Pippen thinks James has completely debunked that theory. "I think there has always been a knock on him that he don't make the big shots down the stretch. Well, I think they can put that behind him now. He's a shotmaker. And right now he's a man on a mission."

 

David Hill is a Miami native and the former owner of a youth replica Rony Seikaly jersey.

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