After causing a firestorm during last spring's NBA playoffs with his statement that was interpreted as suggesting Miami Heat star LeBron James could become better than former teammate Michael Jordan, Bulls legend Scottie Pippen clarified his comment last week. Pippen, currently the Bulls team ambassador, spoke with CNBC's Erin Sharoni at a launch party for the new NBA 2K12 video game and explained his thought process.
"My position is still the same. Youre 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 daybased on the number of years he can get in, James is a super athlete, very versatile in a lot of ways," said Pippen, who also clarified his postseason comments via Twitter following the initial tempest. "My comment was not meant to belittle the greatest player in the gamehe has truly made his mark with his style, with his charisma, with his brandbut from a statistical standpoint, I think James has great potential to be recognized as the best.
Pippen is right about one thing--James' potential, by the numbers, is off the charts, partially due to his youth when he made his NBA debut. However, regardless of the number of championships the Heat star wins, James' status among fans and impact on the game is unlikely to ever rival Jordan's, even if he makes good on last summer's infamous promise of "not five, not six, not seven" championships.
Teammate Derrick Rose might have taken home league MVP honors, but he has a long way to go before catching up with Luol Deng. The Bulls small forward, a native of Sudan who spent much of his childhood in London after his family was exiled during the country's civil war, is one of four notable individuals featured on the "Brixton Pound," a complementary currency to the British pound.
"I am honoured to be featured on the new Brixton Pound notes," said Deng in a statement released on his foundation's website. "I grew up in Brixton as a young teenager playing basketball for the Brixton Topcats which marked the beginning of my career. So it is with great pleasure that I am helping to support the local community that played a vital part in getting where I am today."
Deng joins Lenford Kwesi Garrison, Violette Szabo and rocker David Bowie as faces appearing on the money. This summer, the Duke University product competed for Great Britain, the host country for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, in the FIBA EuroBasket tournament, leading the event in scoring during first-round play.
Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.com's Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.