NBA Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen told TMZ Sports that LeBron James "ain't better than me until he gets six titles."
The comments come a week after Pippen told ESPN's Stephen A. Smith on First Take that James was "probably ahead" of Michael Jordan.
"The numbers don’t lie. He’s right there," Pippen said (h/t Marcel Mutoni of SlamOnline.com). "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, like Pippen, won six NBA titles, as opposed to the three that James has earned in his career.
If titles are the only defining factor in a player's career, however, then a player like Robert Horry (seven titles) has to be considered better than Jordan, Pippen and James, alongside a number of other current and future Hall of Famers. Big Shot Bob had a solid career, but it's hard to imagine anybody dying on that hill in his defense.
Take away the titles, meanwhile, and there's little argument to be made for Pippen being a better player than James.
James is a four-time MVP and three-time NBA Finals MVP. Pippen never earned either award. James is a 13-time All-Star. Pippen was selected to seven All-Star teams. James is an 11-time All-NBA first-team selection. Pippen was voted first-team All-NBA three times. James has averaged 27.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game in his career. Pippen's numbers (16.1 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 5.2 APG) pale in comparison.
The primary argument for Pippen, outside of his six titles, is his eight first-team All-Defensive selections. James has earned the distinction five times.
To Pippen's credit, he was cracking a smile as he made his comments, perhaps simply having a bit of fun as he prepared to drive away. If he was serious, however, it's hard to imagine many folks siding with Team Pippen in this particular debate.