Better than Michael Jordan? Such words would be considered mere folly coming from the mouth of any NBA player, so imagine the response when that opinion was offered by a longtime teammate of Jordan.
Scottie Pippen, who won six NBA titles in the 1990s playing alongside Jordan with the Chicago Bulls, set off a buzz when he appeared on ESPN radio Friday morning and said Miami Heat forward LeBron James "may be the greatest player to ever play the game."
Pippen acknowledged that Jordan "is probably the greatest scorer to play the game," but he cited James' all-around skills as the reason for his opinion.
"I've never seen a player that can dominate a game the way LeBron James can," Pippen said. "He don't always have to score. He makes plays for other guys. But when the game is on the line and you need a shot to be made, he's going to make that play. He's shown that throughout this series that he can make big shots."
Jordan is widely regarded as the best player in the history of the game. In addition to his six rings, he won a record 10 scoring titles, including seven in a row, was named league Most Valuable Player five times and was the MVP of the NBA Finals six times.
Pippen, perhaps having a moment of clarity later in the day, backtracked on his comments with a posting on his Twitter account.
"Don't get me wrong, MJ was and is the greatest But LeBron could by all means get to his level someday," he tweeted.