LeBron James, as you'd expect for a man who is the modern game's greatest player, is no stranger to being compared to a Chicago Bulls legend of yesteryear.
Usually, though, that legend is a certain Michael Jordan as fans, players and media alike continue the debate of just who is the G.O.A.T.
So when Scottie Pippen, one of MJ's most illustrious teammates, enters the discussion and appears to put himself ahead of James people tend to take notice.
"I was LeBron James before LeBron James..It's not even close," Pippen told Cleveland.com this week.
Pippen won six NBA titles playing alongside Michael Jordan for the Bulls and is a bona fide legend of the game. Claiming to be LeBron version one, however, is perhaps something of a stretch considering the latter's dominance in recent years.
James already bests Pippen is both points scored and assists despite having played fewer career games.
Style over substance
But, whilst Pippen's comments might draw derision from Cavaliers fans in particular, it looks like his comparison isn't based soley on talent, rather it is LeBron's style of game where he sees similarities.
"They want to compare (James) to the greatest, whether it be Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson, but he's more closer to myself," Pippen continued.
"It's natural for folks to that that, but if you look at how he plays the game and how I played the game, you'll see more similarities with us."
apprentice surpasses the master
Indeed, LeBron James himself has noted in recent times that he was an avid student of Scottie Pippen's game when he was growing up and with both players capable of dominance on both ends of the court there is some logic behind the Bulls legend's bolt statement.
"I'm no slouch, but when comparing LeBron's game, I'm usually left out."
Ultimately, though, whilst Pippen may have been an inspiration for LeBron James the man who played sidekick to Michael Jordan in the '90s has now been surpassed by the man who has led all others in the league for almost a decade.
NBA fans: Can LeBron James really be considered the best player in NBA history? Have your say in the comments below...
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