Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James had already made a name for himself in the world of basketball, even before he was selected as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft. As of now, James has achieved numerous career-milestones, including winning three NBA titles. With his outstanding performance on both ends of the floor, it is definitely not a surprise why James’ name is frequently mentioned in debates regarding the greatest basketball player of all time.
However, there are some people who think that LeBron James is still far from reaching, or won’t ever be on the level of other NBA greats. Add NBA Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen on that list. Pippen, who won six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls, said in a recent appearance on ESPN’s First Take, which is currently posted on Twitter, that James doesn’t have the same “gene” as Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.
“When I look at LeBron James, he’s not what Michael [Jordan] was as a player. He’s not even what Kobe Bryant was as a player,” Pippen said, as transcribed by Yahoo Sports. “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.”
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— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) February 15, 2019
Unlike Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, Scottie Pippen said that LeBron James doesn’t have the guts to get the ball and take the final shot in crucial situations. Pippen used the Lakers’ 117-113 loss against the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday as an example to show that James doesn’t have the “clutch gene.”
“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.”
Scottie Pippen’s recent statements drew mixed reactions from NBA fans and analysts. Some people think that Pippen was just jealous of James since he won multiple NBA championship titles on his own, unlike Pippen, who only served as a sidekick to Michael Jordan. But James did not win an NBA title until he joined one of the first super teams in Miami with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, and later had Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love on a Cavaliers team that upset the Golden State Warriors in 2015.
It was not the first time Pippen has been critical of James, but there were also moments when he praised the Lakers superstar. The debate regarding who is the greatest basketball player of all time is something that isn’t expected to end and more and more players will likely be added to the conversation as the years go by.