Andrew Joseph of USA Today passed along comments Pippen made about the James vs. Jordan debate during an appearance on ESPN's First Take.
"The numbers don't lie. He's right there," he said. "He probably will never catch him in terms of MVP, but in terms of statistics, LeBron is right there. And when you look across the board—not just scoring—check his assists, check his rebounds … he's probably ahead of Jordan."
Jordan averaged 30.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 2.3 steals and 0.8 blocks across 15 seasons in the NBA (13 with the Bulls and two with the Washington Wizards).
James currently checks in at 27.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, 7.1 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.8 blocks per game as he takes part in his 15th campaign at the professional level.
While the baseline numbers are close, MJ still holds the edge in accolades.
The University of North Carolina product captured six NBA championships, winning the NBA Finals MVP Award after every title, was named the regular-season MVP five times, earned 14 All-Star Game selections and was selected to the All-NBA First Team on 10 occasions.
King James has one more All-NBA First Team nod but otherwise lags behind Jordan in the other key categories. He's won three titles, two with the Miami Heat and one with the Cavs, and was named the MVP four times, most recently after the 2012-13 season.
In August, Jordan said during his Flight School summer camp he would still place former Los Angeles Lakers stalwart Kobe Bryant ahead of James, per Colin Ward-Henninger of CBS Sports.
"Would I rank LeBron over Kobe? In terms of best of all time? No," he said. "There's something about five that beats three. ... Kobe won five championships. LeBron won three—although he's been to seven [straight] Finals."
Although James, who turns 33 on Dec. 30, may not have passed Jordan in the GOAT debate quite yet, he's still got several years to keep building his case. He's showed no signs of slowing down while leading Cleveland to a 20-8 record so far this season.