Broadcasters and journalists love to name drop Lebron James. I can’t blame them, physically he’s a manchild. He is an unreal blend of speed and power. Many compare him to Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson in regards to style of play.
Unfortunately for them, Lebron doesn't play like those guys. Mike and Magic have elements of their game similar to Lebron, but all-around both of those guys stylistically don’t play like James.
The former great who Lebron plays like is Scottie Pippen, and from the looks of his recent interview at Nike youth hoops camp, he knows it.
“I was LeBron James before LeBron James,” Bulls great Scottie Pippen said per the NEOMG. “It’s not even close.”
Pippen may have a point. They were both 6-8 and over 220 pounds. Offensively, their games are very similar. Both display uncanny power and grace on a nightly basis. Pippen was a dynamic passer. The crafty forward averaged over five assists per game over his 15 year career. In regards to scoring, Pippen, like Lebron, possessed a smooth mid-range game. What many forget about Pippen is that he was an elite dunker in his prime. He jumped over and through many of the best centers in NBA history.
On the defensive side of the floor, Lebron and Pippen are identical. Pippen was first team all defense ten times throughout his career. What I love most about Scottie, is like Lebron, he guarded every position on the floor at a high level. He matched up against Magic in the finals. He took on Karl Malone when they faced the Jazz. Pippen even went toe-to-toe with Charles Barkley. His defense was one of the main reasons the Bulls won six championships.
I think it’s time we give Scottie his just due. He may not have been the best player of all-time, but it’s obvious that Lebron modeled his game after Pippen. The proof is in the pudding.