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LeBron 'gracious, humbled' by Jordan comparison

Miami Heat player LeBron James reacts at the end of the team's practice, Saturday, May 28, 2011, in Miami. The Heat will play the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the NBA basketball finals on Tuesday. Miami Heat player LeBron James reacts at the end of the team's practice, Saturday, May 28, 2011, in Miami. The Heat will play the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the NBA basketball finals on Tuesday. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
By Tim Reynolds
AP Sports Writer / May 28, 2011

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MIAMI—Scottie Pippen said LeBron James may be basketball's greatest player ever.

Among those who disagree: LeBron James.

The Miami Heat forward provided his reaction to Pippen's comparison between James and Michael Jordan on Saturday, essentially saying he was flattered by the sentiment but simply does not believe he's done enough to merit mention among the game's highest echelon.

"I'm not better than Jordan," James said.

Pippen -- who won six championships alongside Jordan in Chicago during the Bulls' epic run in the 1990s -- told ESPN Radio on Friday that while Jordan is "probably the greatest scorer to play the game," James "may be the greatest player to ever play the game."

Pippen even backed up the comments later on Twitter, hours after his words sparked a bit of a firestorm, though tried to clarify a bit by saying that while he thinks Jordan "is the greatest," James "could" reach that pinnacle in time.

James seemed mildly uncomfortable by the discussion.

"Michael's an unbelievable player," James said Saturday. "I've got a long way -- long way -- to be mentioned as far as one of the all-time greats. Not even just Jordan. There's a lot of great players who have played in this league. Larry Bird, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, all these guys who are floating around with multiple rings, Bill Russell, all these guys who have pioneered this game.

"I'm gracious. Humbled by Scottie's comments, especially with him being a teammate of his and seeing Michael on a day-to-day basis. But as far as me, I'm not going to sit here and say I'm better than Jordan. I'm not better than Jordan."

James is four wins away from his first NBA championship. The Heat host the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the NBA finals on Tuesday night.

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Tim Reynolds can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/ByTimReynolds

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