What makes Michael Jordan the greatest basketball player of all time?
Scottie Pippen said it’s his instincts.
And that, according to Pippen, is what makes Jordan better than LeBron James — at least for the day.
In the latest chapter of the MJ-LeBron debate, Pippen is back on Team Jordan.
“When I look at LeBron, he’s not what Michael was as a player. He’s not even what Kobe Bryant was as a player,” Pippen said Thursday morning on ESPN’s First Take. “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.”
“And demoralize you,” Stephen A. Smith interrupted, “and scare the living hell out of you.”
Pippen continued: “Yes, LeBron doesn’t have that gene.”
Pippen named a handful of players — including Bryant, Russell Westbrook and Kawhi Leonard — who posses this “clutch gene” that James lacks.
But take what Pippen said with a grain of salt. The Hall of Famer has been inconsistent with his Jordan-James stance in the past.
In December 2017, Pippen said that James was “probably ahead” of Jordan from a statistical standpoint. He later backpedaled, saying: “I pick MJ over LeBron, too,” after former President Barack Obama made his selection in the GOAT debate.
Pippen’s best take on the matter was probably when he said the “comparison shouldn’t ever be made.”