Scottie Pippen said Friday he believes LeBron James eventually will surpass Michael Jordan as the third-greatest scorer in NBA history, but he wouldn't stand by a statement he made last year when he said James may be the greatest player ever.
"I never said that LeBron was the greatest. That was never said," Pippen said on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "I said by the end of his career, his numbers will be better. And I still stand by that. I think LeBron's numbers are crazy only because he's going to get in more years than Michael Jordan.
"Michael probably really only played 11 years in this league, and when you look at a kid like LeBron, who started at 18, 19 years old, he's probably going to pass Michael by his numbers in his first 10, 11 years in the league."
Jordan finished with 32,292 points in 15 seasons, although two of those seasons consisted of fewer than 20 games because of injury and retirement. The 27-year-old James has scored 19,045 points in nine seasons.
During a May 27, 2011, appearance on "Mike & Mike In The Morning" on ESPN Radio, Pippen was asked if James could challenge Jordan for the mythical title of the greatest player ever.
"I think he can," Pippen said at the time. "But I think you've got to look at two different pieces here. Michael Jordan is probably the greatest scorer to ever play in the game, but I may go as far as to say LeBron James may be the greatest player to ever play the game.
"He's so potent offensively. Not only can he score at will, but he keeps everybody involved. You have to be on your Ps and Qs on defense because no guy on the basketball court is not a threat to score when LeBron James is out there. Not only that, but LeBron James will dominate the game from the offensive end as well, but he also doing it on the defensive end, which really makes him a complete package. He gets in those passing lanes and shoots those gaps and creates transition opportunities where he's pretty much unstoppable."
Pippen was asked if he would be able to pick a running mate between Jordan and James.
"That's a dumb--- question," Pippen said. "I've never done anything with LeBron. I wouldn't take LeBron to the movies with me."