Skip Bayless Is Right: Scottie Pippen Is Being Overrated To Hype the LeBron James vs Michael Jordan Debate

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ESPN put out it’s laughable top 75 all-time NBA players list recently; which is the latest in a long line of such lists I doubt even its authors can explain. Of course, the list has done its job. It’s sparked debate. Everyone’s writing about it and it’s inundated the sports talk shows all morning and afternoon long.

A great debate between Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless on Pippen being ranked 21 all-time.

But Scottie Pippen at twenty one? Really? In the words of Isaiah Thomas, who somehow did not make the top 20 on ESPN’s ‘sage’ list; “I don’t mind Michael Jordan saying: I didn’t want Isaiah to be on the Dream Team. I don’t mind if Larry Bird said: I don’t want Isaiah to be on the team…But Scottie Pippen says I don’t want Isaiah to be on the Dream Team? Man. C’mon! You can’t say nothing!”

Isaiah Thomas’ assessment of Scottie Pippen provides a good window into how the top super star players saw Pippen. A very good player, but not a superstar.

Don’t get me wrong. Scottie Pippen was a great player. But Scottie Pippen was not an alpha on any team. And other alphas like Isaiah Thomas, know that. Pippen wasn’t even an alpha after Jordan left in ’93. Which is why Phil Jackson had Toni Kukoč closing games for that team. Which is also why Pippen got all sensitive about it and refused to go back in the game with his Bulls down 2-0 to the Knicks in the Eastern Conference semis in ’94.

To rate Scottie Pippen ahead of players like Isaiah Thomas (31), John Stockton (28), Charles Barkley (23) and Elgin Baylor (22), is a joke and is clearly motivated by the Jordan vs Lebron GOAT debate, which isn’t really a debate.

As Skip Bayless said to Shannon Sharpe earlier today on their show: “I thought you were going to be very objective and say he [Pippen] wasn’t even in the top fifty; but now you say oh, he’s somewhere between thirty and twenty five.”

“I have been very consistent in this opinion.” Bayless continues. “Scottie Pippen was nothing but a very good Robin. Robins are not top fifty players. Stop it! Robins are not twenty-first overall.”

He then stated: “I know what’s happening here. It’s always been happening. LeBron lovers in the media often vote for Scottie Pippen so they can say: ‘See! We told you. Michael Jordan had an all-time great player, right alongside him. He had a co-star. A top fifty player. Scottie Pippen.'”

“Hogwash!” Bayless concluded.

One hundred percent agreed. This boils down to what it usually boils down to with the media; and that’s LeBron James and their incessant need to help in anyway they can, his vain quest to “Catch that ghost in Chicago.”

Only delusional LeBron James fanboys believe he’s better than Jordan. Not only is he not better than Jordan; he’s not better than Larry Bird, Earvin Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, or Bill Russell. And there are others who are ahead of him. But that’s for another article.

Getting back to Skip’s point; that Pippen not only wasn’t a top fifty player, but that his place in the top fifty is always inflated to help LeBron in his GOAT debate against Jordan. In 2016, ESPN had a Top NBA Players ever list. On that list, Scottie Pippen was ranked 25. Again too high. But what’s interesting is that Charles Barkley was ranked 18, John Stockton was ranked 19, Elgin Baylor was ranked 24 and David Robinson was ranked 20. (Robinson is ranked 24 on this 2020 list.)

Also of note is that Isaiah Thomas is once again criminally underrated on that 2016 list. He’s ranked 26; one spot behind Scottie Pippen.

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Why is Scottie Pippen being so vastly overrated? Perchance does it have anything to do with the media fabricated GOAT debate between MJ and LJB?

But the burning question to any avid follower of the NBA has to be this: What has Scottie Pippen done between 2016 and now, to pass Barkley, Stockton, Baylor and Robinson on the ESPN all-time list? Did he unretire and add to his stats? Did he unretire and lead his team to a championship?

In 2016, ESPN provided a reason for placing each player where they did on their all-time list. For Pippen, they listed his career stats: 16.1 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 5.2 APG, 2.0. Which was accompanied by a mini bio: “In the first season after Michael Jordan’s retirement, Pippen finished third in MVP voting and led the Bulls to 55 wins, just two fewer victories than in the previous season with Jordan.”

It’s funny how that season by Pippen is always used to bolster his all-time argument. Steve Nash though, who led the Phoenix Suns to two 60 plus win seasons, won two Regular season MVPs and led the Suns to a Conference Finals appearance, doesn’t get that kind of love from the media. He’s ranked below Pippen by ESPN. But I digress.

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In 2020, in what must be the shock of the year, ESPN listed Pippen’s career stats and gave the reason they ranked him at 21; four places higher than in 2016. On the 2020 list, Pippen averaged: 16.1 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 5.2 APG, 2.0 SPG. Exactly what he averaged on the 2016 list.

Which once more begs the question: How is it Pippen jumps 4 spots on the all-time list in 4 years, when he’s done nothing to add to his legacy?

Isn’t it obvious?

Since 2016, the Lebron James vs Michael Jordan GOAT debate has gained incredible momentum and is now the most talked about thing in basketball; fuelling NBA business and the television ratings of sports talk shows across the United States.

Skip Bayless is oftentimes dismissed as a ‘hater’. But he’s totally correct on this one. Scottie Pippen is not a top fifty NBA player but his career keeps getting better and better in the media’s eyes, because of the MJ vs LBJ GOAT debate.

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Dean Nestor

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