Posted on: February 3, 2012 1:14 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2012 3:45 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver, Matt Moore and Royce Young
Earlier this week, Miami Heat All-Star forward LeBron James and Los Angeles Clippers All-Star forward Blake Griffin treated the NBA worlrd to two of the best dunks you'll ever see.
James completedly hurdled Chicago Bulls point guard John Lucas III to finish a one-handed alley-oop pass from Heat guard Dwyane Wade. Griffin flew up and over Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins to throw down one of his power/speed/brute force specialties.
That got the CBSSports.com Eye on Basketball Staff thinking: What are the best dunks of all time? We kicked it around in a panel discussion.
So Griffin's abject demolition of Perkins and his dignity has set off a huge discussion of dunks this week. The big debate of course is how this one stacks up against Vince Carter over Frederic Weis. (Via YouTube user Supra2K8)
Everyone keeps coming back to the fact that he cleared a seven footer, which is obviously impressive. But for me, there are a number of things that make Griffin's RIPerkins better. Most importantly, Weis was trying to take the charge. Carter clears him (kind of, with some manipulation of Weis' head with his hand between his legs), but Weis isn't defending. On the other hand, Perkins is full-on trying to block, and if not block, foul Griffin. The dunk is a monumental clash of an elite shot challenger and the offensive player driving straight through his soul.
I always think a dunk being completed through a challenge is better than just dunking over a tall dude. If I wanted props I'd go to the dunk contest. That's why I tend to like this one as my second favorite of all time. (Via YouTube user DJNajeem)
I mean, come on, now. That's Anderson Varejao, an annual defensive player of the year candidate. Weis was a fine defender... but not at the NBA level. I'd still put Carter as the best dunker of all time (in-game, dunk contest, your mom's house, anywhere). But Griffin's abject annihilation of Perkins has to be considered the best. In a related story, Amar'e Stoudemire over Anthony Tolliver. (Via YouTube user TheBrosBros)
You know what dunk gets criminally overlooked? J.R. Smith's two-handed "We just saw a man fly!" finish over Gary Neal. Three things that make that dunk amazing: 1) It was with two hands 2) It was darn near a buzzer beater and 3) Kevin Harlan's call. (Via YouTube user Huff99)
See, I think that's the type of stuff that can distinguish one great dunk from another -- the little things. Because all dunks over someone are pretty incredible when you think about it. But the details like how good the call of it was, how the ball went through the net (was it a splashing flush or did it rattle in, like Griffin's?), who it was over, the significance of it and stuff like that. On that, you've got to have Pippen's destruction over Patrick Ewing. It has all of the above. Great call, major significance and it was over a seven-footer. For my money, it's the best ever. I mean, that's a total humiliation of Ewing. Pippen took Ewing's manhood and disrespect his family tree. He didn't just dunk over Ewing, he dunked through him. (Via YouTube user Funk2Dunk)
One more that I have to mention is LeBron's over Kevin Garnett in the 2008 playoffs. "With no regard for human life!" might be the all-time best dunk call. And it was over KG, which is big time. (Via YouTube user Marszall87)
Reading your responses, I basically was just nodding continuously. I guess I'm not wired for the "Best Dunk" debate. I approach YouTube more like a wine collector approaches his cellar: collect all the greats, then keep collecting, then collect some more and then collect even more. I care more about experiencing all the greats than about ranking the cream of the crop.
Similarly, I'm partial to the classics. The first one that comes to mind when I think of a dunk is Michael Jordan over Ewing.(Via YouTube User ESPN)
This one just wraps up Jordan the offensive weapon so perfectly. Incredible handle, vision, instincts, quickness, power, fearlessness and total authority. The physicality at the end is just icing on a flawless cake.
You probably guessed that Julius Erving's cradle dunk over Michael Cooper would be next on my list. (Via YouTube user diegoris23)
It didn't quite have the man-on-man violence of some of these other dunks but the beauty is in how natural and in-the-flow this one came about. It was as if Dr. J was just walking down the street, saw a basketball lying on the ground, didn't even stop to bend over and picked it up, scooped it in rhythm and then tossed it on a very good defender's head in one brilliant, swooping motion. Iconic.
Last but not least, I think Kevin Durant's dunk over Brendan Haywood during the 2011 Playoffs will wind up standing up to the test of time. It's more recent than my other two picks but I predict massive staying powero on this one. (Via YouTube user NBA).
I see this as a future classic because Durant is on track for true greatness and because this dunk shows his amazing length, probably his most obvious stand out physical attribute. It shows his handle, his hops and his swagger. This will be the dunk that Durant enthusiasts point to in 30 years when detractors try to argue that Durant was "just a shooter" or that his slim frame held him back him from becoming a top-20 type of player. The extension on this one was amazing. The replays just make it better and better.
Posted on: October 18, 2011 6:48 pm
Edited on: October 18, 2011 7:01 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
If your goal is to measure a man's worth, you probably want to talk to Ernest Hemingway, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. or Charles Oakley. Those guys pretty clearly established themselves as the experts at sizing people up. Hemingway would take the subject to the bar to see how much he could drink, King would distill a man's soul in a few lines of speech, and Oakley, one of the NBA's most notorious tough guys, would just stand there, glaring, seeing if the guy flinched. What more do you need to know?
As such, HoopsWorld.com asked Oakley to chime in with his thoughts about much-maligned Miami Heat All-Star forward LeBron James. Earlier this year, former Chicago Bulls forward Scottie Pippen declared that James would go down as the greatest basketball player of all time, ranking ahead of The Greatest Player Of All Time, Bulls guard Michael Jordan. Pippen later walked back the comments but the damage was done.
Here's what Oakley had to say.
"I wouldn’t put [James and Jordan] in the same conversation."Not in the same converation. Not even going to discuss it. Has to get back to his fundamentals. Wham. Bam. Thank you, ma'am.
It goes without saying that Oakley is about as biased as one can get in this particular evaluation. After all, he was Jordan's teammate with the Bulls and Wizards, serving as an on-court bodyguard and off-court gambling buddy. He also served as an assistant coach for the Charlotte Bobcats, a team Jordan owns, and the two are reportedly close friends. Nothing has changed since the Bad Boy Detroit Pistons tried to rough up Jordan back in the day; Oakley still has his buddy's back.
But we shouldn't dismiss the finer points of Oakley's account simply because of his relationship with Jordan. After all, he's not really covering new ground in attacking James' psyche, polish and determination. His is just another voice repeating similar nit-picks of James' game that have persisted for years. It doesn't sound personal to Oakley. Just frank talk, as always.
It's worth noting that Oakley and Pippen, who both spent significant time around Jordan, have such divergent opinions. Perhaps that's because Pippen was still around to win six titles with the Bulls while Oakley retired having never won a ring. It would be easy -- perhaps even natural -- for Pippen to take all that winning for granted or to assign himself an outsized portion of the credit for those six titles. Oakley, though, has no such luxury. He can only view Jordan as The Greatest through the lens of a man who saw him develop first-hand and then was defeated, time and again after he was traded to the New York Knicks, by the fully-formed product. Perspective is a mother!
Posted on: October 5, 2011 7:20 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2011 7:47 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
On the court, Chicago Bulls legend Scottie Pippen was relentless, a menace in the open court and as effective an on-ball defender as you'll ever see. In retirement, there's still no quit in Pippen.
More than six months after Pippen put his foot in his mouth by saying that Miami Heat forward LeBron James "may be the greatest player to ever play the game" and roughly four months after he backtracked, saying that his Bulls teammate, Michael Jordan, was actually the greatest, Pippen continues to waffle in his comparison.
MySharoni.com reports that Pippen is now parsing the comparison in a new manner, arguing that Jordan is the greatest of all time but that James will wind up with better numbers when it's all said and done.
“My position is still the same,” Pippen stated. “You’re talking about a very young kid who came to the game at a very young age. Statistically, he will probably be the best player at the end of the day…based on the number of years he can get in, [he’s a] super athlete, very versatile in a lot of ways.”First off, is there any way we can lock out Scottie Pippen's mouth indefinitely?
Second: After a massive initial blunder, Pippen is finally, mercifully, correct in his assessment, at least the part about James finishing with better career numbers than Jordan. Jordan is, without question, the greatest basketball player of all time and so significantly better than James that the two don't belong in the same sentence at this stage of James' career. The only current player close to matching Jordan is Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and, even then, Jordan wins out with ease.
But James has the opportunity -- and has shown the capability -- to smash Jordan's statistical marks. Here's a side-by-side comparison to help tell the story. James already has 17,362 career points, 3,000+ more than Jordan had at the same age. He has 1,700+ more rebounds and 1,700+ assists too. Keep in mind that Jordan was 26, James' current age, before he took off the better part of two seasons in the prime of his career to play professional baseball. In other words, James has roughly a two-season head start on Jordan thanks to the fact that he entered the NBA straight out of high school (James entered at age 19, Jordan at age 21), he gained an extra year thanks to an early career foot injury that sidelined Jordan for almost all of the 1985-1986 season, and he will gain even more extra ground by the time he turns 32, when, barring injury, he will have had the opportunity to play in another 130 or so games more than Jordan did by the same age because of the baseball foray. Those 130 extra games go on top of the 200 extra games that James has already accumulated. That's at least an extra four seasons of production; that's a huge chunk considering that Jordan's career spanned just 13 full seasons plus portions of two others.
The only thing stopping James from passing Jordan is how long he can remain productive and, even then, it would take a catastrophe for that to get in the way. Jordan had big statistical output through the age of 34, and then emerged from retirement to play two additional seasons with the Washington Wizards that really amounted to 1.25 seasons or so of peak production combined. In other words, James needs only to last through the age of 36 -- 10 more seasons -- to ensure that he effectively lasts as long as Jordan did.
Because of his head start, James really only needs to last another six or seven seasons to pass Jordan in all of the major statistical categories. Indeed, he's already 54 percent of the way to catching Jordan in points, 67 percent of the way to catching Jordan in rebounds and 77 percent of the way to catching Jordan in assists.
Of course, in the most critical number of all -- the number of championship rings -- James is zero percent of the way to matching Jordan. And all of us, even Pippen, should realize that fact will always separate Jordan and James in the "greatest of all time" debate. Unless James can win seven titles, of course.
Posted on: August 16, 2011 5:36 pm
Edited on: August 16, 2011 5:39 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
Scottie Pippen should have left the flying to Michael Jordan.
Instead, Pippen got caught up in the superstar lifestyle of his significantly richer former Chicago Bulls teammate, attempting to own a personal airplane. Pippen even went so far as hijack Jordan's "Air" nickname to name his company "Air Pip" and has paid with years and years of lawsuits and legal red tape after getting fleeced out of millions of dollars in the venture.
The South Florida Business Journal reports that Pippen did score a legal victory on Tuesday, winning a judgment of more than $2 million against a Miami businessman involved in the mess.
Former NBA basketball star Scottie Pippen has won a $2.37 million judgment against a Miami businessman, Craig Frost, and a Miami company, CF Air.
This is one of those lawsuits where, even though you've win, you're still a loser because 1) you spent (or committed to spend) all that money in the first place so you're just undoing your own previous mistake 2) it was a terrible idea in the first place 3) no business named "Air Pip" will ever succeed on this planet 4) you're unlikely to recoup the money if this guy hasn't paid you back yet and 5) you probably have some pretty significant lawyer fees to serve as the cherry on top.
Posted on: June 2, 2011 7:50 pm
Magic Johnson says that Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time. Posted by Ben Golliver.
Nobody knows exactly why, but former Chicago Bulls forward Scottie Pippen decided to state publicly last week that Miami Heat forward LeBron James "may be the greatest player to ever play the game."
Of course, that comment was taken by virtually everyone as a snub on legendary Bulls guard Michael Jordan, and rightfully so.
On Wednesday, Los Angeles Lakers guard Magic Johnson, one of the league's all-time greatest players, became the latest to take sides against Pippen's statement publicly.
"I have tried not to comment on what Scottie Pippen said," Johnson wrote in a message on Twitter. "But Michael is the greatest ever - point blank."
Johnson's voice gets added to a chorus of those disagreeing with Pippen, as the response to his comments came fast and strong.
Former Bulls forward Horace Grant, teammate of Jordan and Pippen, came to Jordan's defense, saying that he "totally disagree[d]" with Pippen and that Jordan was "the best basketball player to ever play the game."
Former Detroit Pistons guard Isiah Thomas jumped into the mix too, stating that James has a chance of eclipsing Jordan but that he isn't there yet.
James himself said that he had "a long way" to go to be mentioned among basketball's greats.
Look there is no debate here. Jordan is the greatest of all time.
But Johnson's words do carry a special weight, though, because his prime predates Jordan's prime. In the zoomed-out narrative of the NBA, the Larry Bird / Magic Johnson era gives way to the Michael Jordan era. Yes, Jordan and Johnson were colleagues -- the Bulls beat the Lakers in the 1991 Finals, of course -- but Johnson is inarguably Jordan's elder from a historical standpoint.
Whenever these debates come up, players invariably favor their idols or the guys that came before them. If not that, then they favor their fiercest competitors or the players whom they could never defeat. Rarely do they favor the players that came after them. It's a difficult mental proposition for someone that stood atop the game to reconcile the idea that someone younger than him could be better.
But that's the power of Jordan's greatness. It doesn't matter if you played before him, against him, after him or all of the above. He was the greatest that you ever saw, at least if you're thinking straight and remembering things accurately. Who knows what Pippen's excuse is.
Posted on: June 1, 2011 11:26 am
Edited on: June 1, 2011 11:27 am
Posted by Matt Moore
The best thing about Scottie Pippen saying LeBron might one day surpass Jordan as the greatest ever is that now every single person ever affiliated with the NBA in any meaningful capacity is being asked about it, often by reporters. We have such a moment today where Isiah Thomas was asked to weigh in on it. Thomas and Jordan never got along, not really, but the former Detroit Bad Boy and Knicks disaster of a GM has Jordan's back. From ESPN New York:
“I think LeBron has a chance to eclipse Jordan if he continues to improve his game, but where they are right now, you still have to take Jordan as being the better player,” Thomas said. “Now, six years from now, if LeBron continues to add different facets to his game, then maybe you can have that argument and you can have that debate.via Isiah: Not sure if LeBron will ever surpass MJ - Knicks Blog - ESPN New York.
The problem here is we can't really look into the future and see how things would shake out. We've got no way of knowing if James is going to continue his climb to the apex of his career, and add a single, let alone multiple titles. We can only really appreciate what James is doing right now. Everyone gets caught up in comparisons and you'll never beat history except when someone else is being compared to you. Really, we should just take advantage of being able to watch a great player functioning at a high level. Unless he fails. Then we'll mock him. Because that's how this works.
It should be noted that it shouldn't surprise anyone that Thomas lacks the capacity to see down the road, to look into the future and see how things will be. Because that's pretty much how he ran the Knicks. Give guys with questionable work ethic tons of money and don't worry about what will happen in four years with the size of those contracts. If Thomas could, then maybe he'd acknowledge that he's in part responsible for the upcoming lockout.
But hey, he's got Mike's back!
Posted on: May 31, 2011 5:13 pm
Edited on: May 31, 2011 6:18 pm
Posted by Royce Young
And now for the next installment of the "silly argument that we're having because Scottie Pippen said something." If you missed it or tried to make yourself forget, Pippen said that LeBron James may be a better overall basketball player than Michael Jordan. As a result, there was quite a bit of harumphing and yelling.
LeBron accepted the compliment from Pippen but ultimately disagreed. Well, add in former Chicago teammate Horace Grant as someone that doesn't agree with Pippen. Via Sports Radio Interviews:
“WOW! Pip is my man and you know we will always be close, but I totally disagree. LeBron is gonna be one of the top players to ever play the game but Michael Jeffrey Jordan, who we bump heads at times is I think in my era the best basketball player to ever play the game.”
Grant was then asked if maybe Pippen was upset with Jordan over something, if there was some unknown grudge that caused the comment.
“(Laughing) I hope not, I don’t think so, but you know to say that somebody, I mean listen, I’m mean I’m kinda at a loss of words cause Michael Jordan I mean when you win numerous MVPs and you’ve taken the team to six championships and probably could have been eight if he didn’t retire those two years. You know MVP’s and the playoffs and the championships I mean man he made us better, he made believe me, he, myself, Scottie, BJ, even Bill Cartwright who I still love, he made us better players.
"He gave us that confidence, but first we had to earn his trust and once we earned his trust man you know you saw championship after championship and as far as talent wise, that’s no man. Who do you want to take that last shot when three seconds are left in the game? Who do you want the ball in their hands the last 3 seconds? He proved that he can score the last few seconds of a ball game or if he gets double teamed that Steve Kerr or John Paxson are right there so you know I love Scottie, but I totally disagree.
“You know this is a great country we live in. You’re entitled to your opinions but your uhh uhh…[Waddle: YOU'RE WRONG!] Yeah, yeah he’s wrong on this one.”
Grant isn't the only player that's taken up for Jordan (obviously). Kareem Abdul-Jabbar though didn't take up for either, writing an open letter to Pippen that said, "So I would advise you to do a little homework before crowning Michael or LeBron with the title of best ever. As dominant as he is, LeBron has yet to win a championship. I must say that it looks like Miami has finally put the team together that will change that circumstance. It's my hope that today’s players get a better perspective on exactly what has been done in this league in the days of yore."
Days of yore? Really Kareem? And nobody has forgotten Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell. Or you, which is what I think he was really trying to say when he said not to forget about the old guys. It's just eras in basketball are difficult to compare, especially the Russell-Chamberlain era. No need to lecture everyone about basketball history. I don't think anyone has forgotten Wilt, Russell, or you.
This is part of sports and really more part of basketball than any other. We all love to talk and compare and debate. The "who's better?" question is always a fun one. The consensus is that Jordan is the greatest ever. I think Pippen's point was that LeBron was more of the total package, which people kind of ignored, but in the end, it got people talking. Which may have been the whole intention.
Posted on: May 28, 2011 7:03 pm
Edited on: May 28, 2011 10:32 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Scottie Pippen seemed to rattle the very foundation of basketball when he claimed that LeBron James may (operative word: may) be better than Michael Jordan. It was a claim that virtually no one on the planet really believes, much less wants to hear.
But Pippen said it and with him knowing MJ as well as anyone, we all had to at least acknowledge the comments and therefore, discuss them to no end. Well, finally we have LeBron's thoughts. Via The Sun Sentinel:
“Mike was an unbelievable player,” James said Saturday. “I got a long way, long way to be mentioned as one of the all-time greats. Not even just Jordan – there are a lot of great players who have played in this league: Larry Bird, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and all these guys that are floating around with multiple rings. Bill Russell. All of these guys who have pioneered the game for me and [Dwyane Wade].
“I’m gracious, humbled by Scottie’s comments with him being a teammate of his and seeing Michael on a day-to-day basis. But as far as me? I don’t know. I’m not going to sit here and say I’m better than Jordan or if I’m not better than Jordan. It's not about that.”
First part? Great answer LeBron. Bravo. Quality move to acknowledge that not only that you shouldn't be mentioned alongside Jordan, you shouldn't be mentioned alongside about 20 of the all-time greats. Not at this point. Your career is still very young (LeBron is just 26 -- !!!) and you haven't accomplished near enough as a basketball player to have your named spread across with the likes of Jordan, Bird, Russell, Kareem, Magic Johnson or even heck, Scottie Pippen. Not yet.
(And can I point out here how I love how LeBron always misuses words? You're "gracious" of Scottie's comments? He obviously misspoke and it was accidental but he does that a lot. He's trying to answer humbly but the wrong word can confuse things.)
Second part? You started well and then of course you had to go ahead and LeBron your answer by saying you won't say you're as good or not as good. Ugh. You see LeBron, this is why these types of things always come back to get you. You tried to answer this in a humble way. You tried to acknowledge your place. But you aren't the one to determine these things anyway. So just say, "Oh man, I'm not Michael Jordan. Not by a long shot. Maybe one day, if I could get to my dreams. But I have a whole lot to accomplish before then." And leave it at that. Just put a period on it, tie a bow and walk away.
That's why young stars like Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant are so darn refreshing. There's no double-talk. No ego in anything they say. They always -- and I mean always -- let their game do the talking and leave the rest up to everyone else.
I just don't understand why you said you've got a long way to go and then came back and said you're not going to say you're not as good as Jordan. That's the type of stuff that bugs people. One day maybe you'll learn. I do agee with LeBron on his last line: It definitely isn't about that. I don't know why everyone is always hung up on comparing or finding the next Jordan. I think LeBron James should be the next LeBron James. A one of a kind, freak of a basketball player that has the potential to be an all-time great.
Maybe one day we'll actually have to have this discussion. With LeBron in The Finals chasing that first ring, he could be starting a long run of them. Then we might not be able to say he's not as good as Jordan either.