Bill Laimbeer, the former Detroit “Bad Boy” Pistons big man and current Las Vegas Aces head coach, has stirred up quite the backlash in remarks about the GOAT of the NBA.
Laimbeer backs LeBron over Jordan
Laimbeer doesn’t even see a debate at hand, giving the obvious nod to Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James over Chicago Bulls icon Michael Jordan during an appearance on ESPN’s “First Take.”
"I'm very vocal on this,” he said. “I think LeBron is the best player who has ever played the game."
"I firmly believe that [LeBron James] is the best basketball player in the history of the game."
Former "Bad Boy" Piston, and Michael Jordan opponent, Bill Laimbeer. pic.twitter.com/9aTQgnW3n4
— First Take (@FirstTake) April 14, 2020
Laimbeer noted James’ stature at 6-foot-8 and 285 pounds and ability to “run like the wind [and] jump out of the gym.”
“And more importantly when he came in the league, from day 1, he knew how to involve his teammates to win. That’s something that Jordan had to learn for a long time.
“I think LeBron in any generation would be doing what he’s doing right no all these years. At the end of the day, I firmly believe he’s the best basketball player in the history of the game.”
Laimbeer, 62, did give a nod to Jordan for his six NBA championships. James has only won three.
The GOAT discussion has kicked up again with ESPN’s documentary “The Last Dance” about Jordan’s 1997-98 Bulls championship team. Originally scheduled for a June release, it was moved up to April 19 amid the COVID-19 crisis that has kept people in their homes.
Laimbeer played against Jordan in Pistons-Bulls
Laimbeer’s Pistons stood in the way of Jordan’s Bulls earning titles in the early stages of the superstar’s career. The Pistons won in 1989 and 1990. The Bulls three-peated as winners two separate times in the 1990s.
The three-time WNBA champion coach was a 14-year veteran of the NBA. He was sent to the Pistons his second year, after the Cleveland Cavaliers drafted him in the third round, and became the team’s all-time leading rebounder with 9,430.
The Pistons of the 1980s-90s were known to play a bruising blue-collar style, earning them the nickname the “Bad Boys. Laimbeer was suspended multiple times for throwing punches and once got into a fight in the NBA Finals with Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird.
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