"Michael Jordan may be the greatest scorer to ever play the game, but I may go so far as to say LeBron James is the greatest player to ever play the game." Did Scottie Pippen really say LeBron is better than Jordan? Stop the presses....or actually....start the presses! Get the story out ASAP and make sure to blow it way out of proportion!
Scottie Pippen's remark about LeBron sent shock waves through the sports world. Almost immediately, people freaked out. How could he say such a thing? No one's better than Jordan! No one will ever be better than Jordan! People jumped on him so fast that by the time he clarified his statement it was seen as backtracking. The knee-jerk reaction of the media, and the fans, is comical. The second you say something, it becomes your definitive opinion. Any further statement you make on the matter isn't regarded as you explaining the nuances of your opinion, it's regarded as you taking your foot out of your mouth. I wonder how many people that blasted Scottie even heard the full context of the statement, because every article I read only included a 30 to 90 second sound bite or just the quote itself. If you listen to the extended clip, you'll hear that Scottie's statement was in response to Chris Broussard asking, "How good do you think LeBron James can be all-time? Can he challenge Michael for that mythical title?"
The problem was that Chris asked him a two-part question. He asked Scottie if he agreed that Jordan is the greatest of all-time and if LeBron could challenge him. Scottie answered "I think he can," and then elaborated. For some reason, Chris took that to mean that Scottie was answering "no" to the question about Jordan being the best, because he tweeted: "I don't agree with Pippen. MJ is the greatest of all-time. LeBron has chance to be top 10, 5 or higher if he starts winning rings." Did Scottie mean that LeBron is better than Jordan? Well, he clarified what he meant, when he later tweeted: "Don't get me wrong, MJ was and is the greatest. But LeBron could by all means get to his level someday."
I believe the failure in this situation is on the interviewers. Chris asked him a two-part question and, even though Scottie never specifically addressed both questions (and used the words "can" and "may"), he never asked a follow-up question. How do you not ask a follow-up question, after the answer didn't blatantly address both the analytical and hypothetical questions? Especially if you think he answered differently than one would expect? To recap, Scottie included "can" and "may" in an answer to a hypothetical question about a "mythical" title and that morphed into "Scottie thinks LeBron's better than MJ." Unbelievable.
Because no one asked Scottie point blank if LBJ is better than MJ, I'll continue to assume that his answer was indeed aimed at the hypothetical question and that it was just a "rare" occurrence of the media taking a sound bite and blowing it out of proportion