LeBron James: I Have Long Way Before Being in All-Time Great Conversation
LeBron James responded to the controversial comments Scottie Pippen made on Friday with a touch of modesty. Pippen riled folks up when he said that LeBron could get to Michael Jordan’s level someday. Most fans felt the comments were ludicrous because MJ won six rings while LeBron has yet to win a title. Bulls fans were particularly upset because Pippen played alongside Jordan and earned his titles and accolades thanks to MJ. Even though Pippen was including LeBron in the best of all-time conversation, LeBron is not ready to go there just yet.
Responding to Pippen’s comments Saturday, James said “Michael is an unbelievable player. I got a long way, a long way, to be mentioned as one of the all-time greats. Not even just Jordan. It’s a lot of great players that have played in this league — Larry Bird, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.”
James did the admirable thing by remaining modest and saying he’s not only not in MJ’s class, but also far from several of the other greats. He added “All these guys with multiple rings. Bill Russell, all these guys that have pioneered this game for me and [ Dwyane Wade]. So I’m gracious, humbled by Scottie’s comments, especially with him being a teammate of [Jordan’s] and seeing Michael on a day-to-day basis. As far as me, I don’t know. I’m not going to sit here and say I’m better than Jordan or I’m not better.”
After starting off modestly and saying he’s not in the class of some of those players (though he eventually will be), LeBron lost a few people with his last sentence. Saying he’s not going to say he’s not better than Jordan bothers the same people who insist LeBron isn’t in the conversation yet. I disagree.
LeBron is poised to win his first title this year and can be on a parallel career path to MJ. I think he ends up with four championships, not six, and that his game is different from Michael’s. What we’ve seen is that LeBron is one of the most complete players in NBA history. He has an all-around offensive game, and he’s proving this year he’s also one of the best defenders in the game. He can remain modest and other people can be upset that LeBron won’t say he’s not better than Jordan, but the reality is he’s the best player in the game and he has been for a few years. Barring injury, things will remain that way, and if LeBron is the best player in the game for a decade, it will be hard not to call him one of the all-time greats.