In sports, things often get heated during play, but history shows they get just as steamy off the court. Basketball Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen recently said he believes he was LeBron James before LeBron James ever came to be.
In Case You Don’t Know Who Scottie Pippen Is
Born as Scotty Maurice Pippen, and professionally known as Scottie Pippen, he is a former pro basketball player who did 17 seasons in the NBA, winning six championships playing for the Chicago Bulls. He ended his career with game averages of 5.2 assists, 6.4 rebounds, and 16.1 points. He made seven All-Star teams and was an eight-time All-Defensive First Team selection. In addition, Scottie was also named to the All-NBA first-team a total of three times.
The First LeBron James
In an interview, Scottie recently compared himself to LeBron James, saying he was LeBron way before LeBron became the notorious player he is considered to be. James’ career averages are well above those of Scottie, but according to Pippen, people shouldn’t compare LeBron to the basketball’s greatest players. Why? Because if you look at how Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson played, and then you compare that to LeBron, you won’t see many similarities. Instead, Scottie Pippen says people should compare James with him. Their play is much more similar and can actually be compared.
A Career Worth Remembering
Scottie Pippen retired in 2008, and the Chicago Bulls retired his notorious No. 33. He played alongside Michael Jordan, and both had an important role in popularizing the NBA across the globe during the 1990s as well as in transforming the Chicago Bulls into an A-list championship team. Whether Scottie was LeBron before LeBron or not, is subject to debate, but one thing is certain — Scottie gave a lot to this great sport and will forever be one of its brightest stars.
The rules of the “standup” basketball and the wheelchair one are almost identical. The free throw line is the same, the court is the same, and the three-point line too. The only real difference in wheelchair basketball, aside from the presence of high-tech equipment is the ability to do double dribbles.
Free Throw Percentage
It’s not a surprise that shooting stats in the two games are roughly similar, particularly on 2-point field goals. The men’s Olympic team’s 2-point percentage at the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro was 52.16, whereas the Paralympic average was 47.86%. On the women’s side, the athletes shot 2-point field goals at a 42.27 percent clip, whereas the “standup” version shot an average of 46.37 from inside the arc.
However, there is one glaring area where disabled athletes are far behind: free throws.
Comparison of the Two Sports
To put in a comparison between the two free throw rates on both the women’s and men’s side of the Paralympic and Rio Olympic games, the wheelchair basketball athletes in this data set converted free throws at a 26.3% points lower than the “standup” basketball. The players of the wheelchair basketball team shot an average of 8.9 fewer free throws per game and made them at a rate 17.5% points lower throughout the tournament.
The able-bodied team attempted 8.9 more free throws compared to the disabled ones, and only the Venezuela, Lithuania, and Nigeria teams shot fewer throws throughout the tournament than Germany’s Paralympic total of 108. They achieved this mark with at least one more game played than those teams.
Why the discrepancy? Truth is, some of it is naturally related to the hardware that’s involved in the game. It can be harder to get to the free throw line in a game of wheelchair basketball. There is no ultimate solution to the free-throw shooting woes of the Paralympic athletes. However, the data seems to suggest that attempts to get athletes in rhythm and to the line more often would increase the efficiency.