Scottie Pippen: LeBron James Lacks Michael Jordan's 'Clutch Gene'

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistFebruary 14, 2019

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James is shown during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019, in Atlanta. The Hawks won 117-113. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
John Bazemore/Associated Press

Scottie Pippen has shared his opinion on the never-ending debate about who the better player is between LeBron James and Michael Jordan. 

Appearing on ESPN's First Take (h/t USA Today's Scott Gleeson), Pippen explained why he believes Jordan is the superior player:

"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. So, when you talk about trying to compare Michael's instinct, his ability to take over games, his ability to want to have the last shot, LeBron doesn't have that gene. That's not in him. Kobe has that gene. I see a little bit of it in Paul George. Kawhi (Leonard), (Russell) Westbrook. ... Not too many players go on the basketball court with that." 

Pippen has addressed the topic multiple times in the past, including last year when he told reporters any comparisons between Jordan and James aren't fair to either player. 

"The comparison is unfair. They played different positions. I know a lot of times we love answering the question because we want to hear the storylines behind it, but the truth of the matter is it’s not a fair comparison to LeBron or Michael. One guy is considered a two guard and one guy is considered a small forward. They definitely are great in their era. They’re both the greatest in their era, but to say who is the greatest, we will never know that.

"In my eye, Wilt Chamberlain is the greatest basketball player. But Michael and LeBron should never be compared. It’s almost like comparing Kareem to me. That wouldn’t be fair.”

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Pippen's comments about James' clutch gene are unusual given his numbers late in playoff games are better than what Jordan did in his career:

Jordan does have the luxury of a 6-0 record in the NBA Finals, whereas James has gone 3-6 in his career. 

Regardless of which player will be remembered more fondly in the history books, Jordan and James are two of the greatest superstars the NBA has ever seen. Both players have accomplished more on and off the court than the vast majority of athletes in any sport could ever hope to achieve.

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