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Saturday, October 9th, 2010 at 9:00 am  |  220 responses

The Blueprint

There will never be another Michael Jordan.

Point blank, Michael Jordan is the greatest player ever.  In our newly released SLAM Presents Jordan 2010, Russ Bengtson breaks down why that is. (If you’re feeling this essay, be sure to pick up a copy of the special issue now). — Ed.

SLAM Presents Jordan: Michael Jordan Essay.

by Russ Bengtson

There will never be another Michael Jordan. Sometimes it’s best to get the obvious out of the way right out front, and this feels like one of those times. So, there. “The Best there Ever Was, The Best there Ever Will Be”? Yep. It’s right there on his statue in front of the United Center, literally carved in literal stone, and thus inarguable. So that’s that. Right?

Maybe. Michael Jordan wasn’t the best at everything, and he didn’t do everything first. Bill Russell finished with double fistfuls of rings, Wilt Chamberlain averaged 50 points a game, Dr. J dunked from the free-throw line. In a sense, Jordan was the ultimate aggregator-he took the best of everyone who came before and rolled it up into a ready-for-prime-time package. He threw down ridiculous dunks, scored bucketloads of points and won championships. Even played defense and practiced. And fortunately for him (and for us), his rise coincided with the NBA’s. They lifted each other to heights never before reached. Jordan was the right player at the right time, and the world conspired to make him a god.

Not to say it was all manufactured. Far from it. Jordan’s unedited NBA career spooled out like the most implausible of movies, from dropping 63 points on the 1986 Celtics (in their house, no less) to that last, hanging jumper over Bryon Russell. Even the Wizards epilogue, jarring in its entirety, provided moments to savor. Scoring 50 as a gimpy 40-year-old? Who does that? Not to mention two more All-Star Games and the priceless gift of allowing countless more fans to say they saw him play live. In the meantime-even while the real Jordan was still in his prime-a fruitless search for the next Jordan went on.

Paradoxically, there has been no next Jordan, there can be no next Jordan, for the simple reason that there was a first Jordan. “If I could be like Mike”? No chance. His career was structured in such a way that it can never be duplicated, only imitated. It wasn’t perfect-after all, his teams did get taken to two Game 7s (which they, um, won)-but it was so close that it may as well have been. The comparisons will always be there, and everyone who strives will always fall short. Fall too short, and you’re Harold Miner. Come too close, and you’re Kobe Bryant. The greatest tragedy of Kobe’s career-if you can find tragedy in a five-times-and-counting NBA Champion and certain first-ballot Hall of Famer-is that it cannot be viewed except through the Jordan filter. (It doesn’t help that his championships were all won playing for Michael’s old coach.) Five rings? Sure, but he’s only been Finals MVP twice. And he was only regular-season MVP once. Better than Jordan? Yeah, right.

Here’s the thing: Jordan built his career on the foundation laid down by those who came before him; Dr. J and David Thompson among them. This is how it always worked. Others who came after were expected to do the same. But Jordan didn’t leave much room for future players to build a legacy of their own. While those he emulated had fallen short or left things unfinished, Jordan didn’t. How do you build on a mansion? The game itself changed, and Jordan was the one who changed it. It’s hard to believe that any one player will ever usher in that sort of change again. Jordan defeated all the archetypes, expanded the game, created an archetype of his own (the basketball Terminator-a relentless cyborg covered in a thin human shell). It’s not even a question of whether anyone can equal his greatness-rather, is his greatness even one that can be equalled?

It might not be possible to follow in his footsteps at all. The fragmentation of the media has taken away the chance of having that mythology built up. The fragmentation of the NBA (and the apparent willingness of even the biggest stars to leave their teams) has taken away the chance to battle and battle before overcoming a particular challenge. And the battles aren’t the same anyway-teams like the Bad Boy Pistons and the Riley Knicks are as much of an anachronism as set shots and underhanded free-throws. Beat a team now, and another rises to take its place. There are no clear-cut heroes, no unmistakable villains, just an ever-changing pool of challengers. It’s hard to be king of the mountain when the mountain itself is gone.

It goes both ways, of course. In a way, Jordan was fortunate to have played when he did. We don’t know what the effect of a 24-hour news cycle would have been on MJ’s career, how he would have been seen filtered through the eyes of hungry bloggers, pop-culture-addled columnists and Rachel Nichols. When Sam Smith wrote The Jordan Rules, it was a radical act-the unmasking of a superhero. Now? Re-reading it 20 years later, what are the shocks? That he was vulgar? That he was competitive? His Hall of Fame speech was more damning. But for the first six years of his career, the public perception of Michael Jordan was shaped by fawning beatwriters, Sports Illustrated profiles, the NBA on NBC, and Nike’s ad agencies. By the time The Jordan Rules went to press, his perceived personality was more or less set in stone.

Compare that to someone like LeBron James, who’s been a highly scrutinized public property since he was in high school. Unlike Jordan, he wasn’t allowed to grow within that protective umbrella, to just play basketball while the rest was taken care of. Now? Controlled access has become a thing of the past, what with the emergence of Flipcams and camera phones and Twitter accounts. No longer do we need to wait on the Curry Kirkpatrick stories and the Walter Iooss photos and the Wieden + Kennedy campaigns to get the filtered truthiness. Like HBO Sports says, nothing is out of bounds.

So what happens? Let’s say LeBron averages a triple-double for a season (although it seems highly unlikely), or 40 points a game, or wins eight NBA titles (forgetting for the moment that just equaling Jordan would require him to win at least one Finals game, then-appropriately enough-23 more). Would he be viewed as Jordan’s better then? Maybe not. Leaving Cleveland and teaming with Dwyane Wade in Miami took him off the One True Path-and all it takes is a single misstep to fall. Not to mention being just like Mike, only better, simply doesn’t cut it. You have to change the game.

But who knows? Maybe things will be viewed differently in the future. Maybe the LeBron/Wade/Chris Bosh Heat team does change the game in some fundamental way. Maybe 100 years from now, when the topic of the greatest is debated by people who never saw Michael or Kobe or LeBron play live, there will be a sense of objectivity that doesn’t-that can’t-exist in our time. After all, historians love to revise. Maybe when emotion is stripped away and careers are judged simply by the numbers, someone else will be viewed as the best there ever was, the best that ever will be.

But probably not.

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  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    If there is a bigger Bulls/Michael Jordan fan than me in the SLAMfam, it’s probably my man Russ.

  • http://www.euroleague.net/competition/players/showplayer?pcode=BEZ&clubcode=PAN&seasoncode=e2010 ANTONIS FOTSIS

    As Magic said, we will see another M.J before we see another Bird. IMO we don’t see anything close to tohse two any time soon. But these is an MJ column so: COME FLY WITH ME!!!!!
    By the way:(unfortunatelly) there will never be another Anna either….

  • http://www.springbored.net letsmotor

    i agree with your points about kobe whole-heartedly. kobe’s jordan part II–although I think he falls short mentally sometimes, he’s pretty close to being right there with him skill for skill. but jordan wasn’t any one person’s sequel. he had a whole array of influences, and he was able to combine them in a new, fresh way that changed everything. great article, russ. you’re easily one of slam’s best writers.

  • http://ohlaglambam.blogspot.com Zabba

    First! Sick article. Nice one, Russ.

  • http://Nba.com GP23

    He is the greatest athlete in the history of sports.

  • http://www.euroleague.net/competition/players/showplayer?pcode=BEZ&clubcode=PAN&seasoncode=e2010 ANTONIS FOTSIS

    first ever “JORDAN” issue is the best “SLAM PRESENTS”ever (still have it in perfect condition).

  • http://www.euroleague.net/competition/players/showplayer?pcode=BEZ&clubcode=PAN&seasoncode=e2010 ANTONIS FOTSIS

    @GP23……..:he might be the greatest in american TEAM sports (others say Ali or babe Ruth or jackie robinson). Noway greatest athlete ever (although i would love him to be).

  • JoeMaMa

    Perception changes everything. Michael Jordan would be vilified in today’s media for his gambling, as would Magic’s philandering…and Bird had an illegitimate child…shoot, even Kemp’s craziness was spared this new digital age. I have a feeling that today’s stars are better behaved on account of having to deal with the non-stop scrutiny.
    By the way, MJ is a joy to watch. His final shot against the Jazz….man…motivated me to ball non stop.

  • http://www.euroleague.net/competition/players/showplayer?pcode=BEZ&clubcode=PAN&seasoncode=e2010 ANTONIS FOTSIS

    i remember in 1989 there was a discussion who would win a Jordan Magic one-on-one just like recently there was the kobe-lebronze one…back then there was even a proposal from a Las Vegas casino to arange the event in Vegas and give the winner 1 mil….

  • NickthaQuick

    Finally, a post that Jtaylor agrees with and won’t spend 20,000 words trying to convince us all that he is the final word on player comparison.

  • yaboy20

    First off great article i loved it i just disagree with one point when u said that kobe cant be as good cuz he doesnt have as many regular season MVPs as jordan. So wat the MVP award is a popularity contest now and noone gets when they deserve and jordan was undoubtedly the best player and it would have been a travesty if he didnt get it

  • KB8toSG8

    That was a good read. KB fan.

    Kobe came to close to MJ…..and that was the reason he was shunted to the corner and got all the hate apart from Colarado. The writer brings up a good point here. The media just added to MJ’s legacy and started defending it to such a point that it was impossible to say otherwise without being called a dumbass, idiot or whatever. Another thing, I’m glad the author noticed that MJ patterned his game after the previous greats. Yet KB started garnering hate for the same things…..

    Those Nike commercials “Be Like Mike” were just those. Commercials. They didn’t literally mean/hope that someone would be like Mike. Fortunately/Unfortunately, Kobe did. And he was chastised during the 02-07 period for the same. And regarding who the best ever was….it was Wilt. No matter how much I try to think otherwise, averaging 50 points and 25 rebounds irrespective of him being taller than his opponents is mind-boggling. And to that the fact that he DOMINATED every single category whenever he wanted to (except FT%). GOAT. ( No disrespect to the 2 MJs ( Magic and Mike),KB, Larry, Kareem, Duncan, Shaq, Moses, Hakeem and others, but until I see someone else even come close to averaging such numbers for atleast a month, Wilt was the greatest. Too bad he didn’t the media cycle the late 80s,90s and 00s enjoyed (or hated, if you’re KB :D )

  • http://Nba.com GP23

    @ antonio fostis. Yes he is the greatest, nobody comes close.

  • http://Nba.com GP23

    Fotsis, my bad

  • http://www.twitter.com/devineboston Devine

    Strong, Russ. Real, real strong. A great angle to take (how many of us have ever considered whether or not another Jordan is even possible?) and a pleasure to read. Great work, dude.

  • hoodsnake

    What Russ said…

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    Great read Russ.

  • LD

    Can you imagine how history might be a little different if Jordan actaully got called for the Bryon Russell push off? That would be an interesting article.

  • Tony Gervino

    Perfection, though I never knew you liked Jordan. Huh.

  • JTaylor21

    HELLS TO THE NO MJ is NOT the GOAT. Even though you wrote a great article Russ, it still doesn’t convince me that dude was head and shoulders above other greats.

  • http://juanm.garcia@comcast.net Flashback

    To me the greatest were those who changed the rules of the game (pro/collegiate) to diminish their dominance.

    Wilt: seconds in the box – penalty

    Lew/Kareem: no dunking allowed

    Shaq: Zone defense allowed

    Everyone else is just second

  • VisionofGreatness

    MJ was the greatest. He had no weaknesses. Who was close to MJ?

  • EJ

    My my player is better than MJ.

  • letsmotor

    @flashback: ignoring the fact that your criteria for greatness leaves out Russell, Magic, Oscar, and Larry, just to name a few, one could also argue that rules were changed because of MJ too. i think the flagrant foul was instituted as a response to defenses that took a violent approach to guarding MJ (i.e. Detroit’s “Jordan Rules”). so basically, Jordan was so impossible to guard, and teams were going to such extreme lengths to slow him down, that the rules had to be changed before someone got seriously hurt.

  • namik

    “By Russ Bengston” pretty much guarantees a great article and this does not disappoint. Great stuff, waiting for the special issue to come out here in India.

  • namik

    Bengtson*

  • JTaylor21

    @Vision, ummm….. Wilt, Magic, Russel, Hakeem, Kareem, Oscar, Zeke DUH!!!!

  • http://www.danchamb.com.br Lz – Cphfinest3

    Simply the greatest.

  • hammer

    His Airness=G.O.A.T. Nuff said!

  • yaboy20

    WILT THE GREATEST LMFAO its easy to get 50 and 25 when u are playin against 6’5 unathletic white guys..BTW he wasnt even the best player in his era (Russell was) so how in the hell can he be the GOAT

  • http://slamonline BossTerry

    I hated him as a player on the bulls in his prime.. The Bulls dominated the L for so many years, always killing my (and everyone elses) team.. I rooted for him with the Wizards, and appreciate everything he did for the NBA.. Hands down, the greatest player I have ever seen play…

  • The Philosopher

    Great piece, Russ Bengston.
    But…
    Earvin is The G.O.A.T.

  • http://slamonline BossTerry

    I hated Mike then, how I hate Kobe now.. But after Kobe retires, if he unretires to join a bad team (which we all know he is too proud to do), I dont see myself pulling for him to be successful..

  • http://slamonline BossTerry

    Not to toot my own (family) horn, but my cousin is also one of the greatest basketball players I’ve EVER seen.. He has never hit a game-winning shot in the NBA finals, or even played an NBA game so my argument is invalid.. He has played in the olympics twice (the deaf basketball team) and played in some NBA camps (just pick-up games) and has told stories of dominating some NBA players whose names Ill keep to myself… Wish he woulda been recruited in his prime, wasted talent..

  • hammer

    Or look @ it this way. Mj played alongside w/1 hof player n pip. That’s it. Russell had cousy,hevlicek,ramsey and kc jones. Magic had kareem (or kareem had magic however u want 2 view it)worthy and perkins. Wilt played during an era when it was predominately white. So of course 4 a player of his stature,athelticism and strength he could averge 50 and 20 per. Don’t get me wrong. He would still b considered 1 of the gr8′s and a hof n any other era. But 2 slap the goat tag on him? No. Isiah? Pleez. Its sickening that he would even b considered as a goat. Goat as a pg? Mayb. Bird? Had mchale,parrish,dj,and walton. Mj did the most w/the “least help” I’m not dogging on pip or rodman n any way. That would b a sin as a bulls fan. But when compared 2 other gr8s and the help that they had,mj had the least. So. N summary: MJ is without a doubt,hands down,no ands if’s or buts, the Greatest Of All Time!

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    So glad I asked Russ to do this piece. As usual, he nailed it. I’d put his understanding of MJ up there with any writer in the world.

  • http://itsahardwoodlife.blogspot.com omphalos

    @flashback; the players you mentioned required the rules to be changed because of their freaking physical attributes when the game was gaining momentum and popularity, attracting bigger, stronger athletes. Jordan changed the game through skill and sheer mental determination, he was only average height for the L and thus his success is more impressive.

    Even if Lebron had stayed in Cleveland and won multiple titles, he would have the advantage of being a freakish physical specimen, an unprecedented combination of size and athleticism. Same can be said for Kevin Durant.

    What made Jordan so great was that besides his athleticism he had no advantages in his build/size besides large hands, and even then he never used them as a crutch, simply amplified his game.

    The GOAT, now and forever.

    It would take a ridiculously talented/dominant player to make it a real argument.

  • JTaylor21

    Why is it sickening that Zeke would be considered the GOAT but nutritious that MJ is. Didn’t Zeke and the Bad Boys beat down Magc/Bird/MJ in their primes? NO other player in history can claim to beat such GREAT players in their prime at the same time. Zeke is my opinion is a better PG than Magic and did it with way less talented players , so doesn’t that automatically place him in the GOAT convo even though there can never be a GOAT.

  • http://sdklff.com Jukai

    I laugh whenever someone says Jordan was the best TEAM player in American sport. There, that should start some debate.

  • JTaylor21

    MJ wasn’t the WORST team player because he actually passed when he had nothing going or was double teamed. The worst team player in sport was After Shaq/Before Gasol Kobe, dude wouldn’t pass the ball even if the fate of the entire world depended on him making that one pass. His gotten better over the years but you can still see glimpses of the monster every now and then (GM7).

  • The Philosopher

    P. Ewing…

  • http://sdklff.com Jukai

    JTaylor21: True enough, maybe team player wasn’t a great term. A lot of Jordan’s LEADERSHIP qualities are overrated. That’s honestly the only thing I think is overrated about Jordan. Everyone talks about what a perfect leader he is, and they bring up that dumb Pippen-flu quote to shove it in everyone and anyone’s face.
    Jordan was a good leader. A great motivator. Decent lockerroom guy.
    But who was the guy who called out offensive commands on the floor? Usually Pippen. Who was the guy who took players aside and talked to them? Pippen. Hell, Jordan didn’t even give all the rousing speeches during timeouts and in the locker room.
    And more than most things, Jordan was a bit of a dbag. He really didn’t like some of his teammates. But because Jordan was SUCH AN AMAZING LEADER, suddenly yelling profusely when your teammates make a mistake is acceptable, ala Kobe.
    What’s funny is, I’ve read ancient articles bashing Oscar Robertson for doing the same.

  • http://sdklff.com Jukai

    Some great MJ quotes:
    “We’re beating a lot of poor teams. So what? We won a lot of games last year, too. Will Horace and Bill still be playing at this level in the playoffs…Can Pip keep it up?”
    “I hate being out there with those garbage men. They don’t get you the ball.”
    “You’re an idiot. You’ve screwed up every play we ever ran. You’re too stupid to even remember the plays. We ought to get rid of you.” – Michael to Horace Grant
    “If you [pass the ball to Bill Cartwright], you’ll never get the ball from me.”
    “We’re not winning because of talent. We’re just beating bad teams.”
    “Headache tonight, Scottie?” – Michael asks Scottie, while showing him his 2-for-16 line
    “It’s probably a twelve-day. He needs two days to wake up.” – Michael on a ten-day contract teammate
    “He can’t do anything with the ball. Don’t give it to him.” – Michael yelling at Paxson who passed the ball to Purdue
    “You ever hear of a guy, six-eleven maybe and two hundred sixty pounds, a guy big and fat like that and he can’t get but two rebounds, if that many, running all over the damn court and he gets two rebounds? Big guy like that and he gets one rebound. Can’t even stick his **** into people and get more than that…Big, fat, fat guy. One rebound in three games. Power forward. Maybe they should call it powerless forward.” – Michael ripping Stacey King a new one
    “He was scared in there and panicking. He just lost it when Stockton scored.” – Michael on B.J. Armstrong’s mental fragility”
    “They don’t need a ticket to watch you sitting on the bench. They can go to your house for that.” – Michael to Charles Davis who was sorting through his tickets for his family and friends
    “Give me the ******* ball.” – Michael to Doug Collins who drew up a play for Dave Corzine
    “If I were a general manager, we’d be a better team.” ( Wizards? Bobcats? )

  • The Philosopher

    I just read those same quotes on a website days ago.

  • JTaylor21

    Jukai, everything you said was right on the dot. I don’t know why people think that talking sh*t about your teammates and screaming at them after a bad play equates to having great leadership? Guys like Magic/Bron/Wade are PERFECT leaders because they never criticized teammates to the media or belittled them after bad plays/mistakes. Every single athlete would rather play with guys like that than play with MJ and Kobe.

  • http://sdklff.com Jukai

    The Philosopher: Yeah, guess I should give ‘ Richard JT’ credit for gathering them on Bleacher. True to point.

  • http://www.twitter.com/TheDiesel Anton

    The Steve Nash of point guards.

  • http://www.twitter.com/TheDiesel Anton

    *shooting guards

  • http://air-tsinelas.blogspot.com Roy

    Russ was on point with this piece. Great job.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    According to alot of the quotes Jukai had of MJ….I’ve said very similar things to teamates in high school, college and street ball!

  • Jeremy Bauman

    Amazing

  • http://sdklff.com Jukai

    Eboy: And NO ONE would accuse you of being a great teammate Eboy, haha.

  • Blackphantom

    Jordan is the absolute greatest. I’m a big Kobe fan, and I’ll be the first to say MJ is WAAAAAAY better

  • Blackphantom

    @Jtaylor21, you’re kinda right about Kobe but then again, he factually still led the Lakers in assists those year after Shaq/Before Pau. And MJ wasn’t the perfect team player in his later years, his assist numbers mostly lowered once he finally got some good teammates like Pippen, Kukoc, Rodman, Harper, etc.

  • yaboy20

    @JTaylor21 would u pass the ball to that double decker sh@t sandwich of a team that kobe had if smush parker kwame and chris mihm were in my starting 5 i wouldnt pass it either

  • http://insidERSport.com ethan

    2 words…

    80′s era = michael
    90′s era = jordan

    thats it beybeh 0(‘-’)0

  • Justin

    lol@Jukai…Dust off a copy of the Jordan Rules to find all those quotes did you? A couple of them, like the headache line to Scottie, doesn’t mean anything. What, he’s not allowed to give digs to his teammates? Half of that book was a farce, and a lot of the players on that Bulls team have said so.

    JTaylor just lost a lot of credibility (depending if he had any to begin with) by putting Zeke in the G.O.A.T. discussion. That discussion would go something like this. “Hey, what about Isiah Thom…” interrupted by gales of laughter across the room
    @blackphantom…MJ’s assist totals went down because he had the ball in his hands less and less, as in bringing the ball up the floor. Scottie took care of most of it and then Harper and Kukoc usually the rest.
    @yaboy…same could be said for MJ in his earlier years. Would you pass the ball to Dave Corzine or any of those other schmoes he had on his team at that time, especially when you could score at will? Probably not.
    I really wish people would stop this debate because there isn’t one. MJ is the best. Would Wilt have scored so much if he wasn’t allowed to park under the rim all night. How many points would Shaq have gotten if that were still the case?

  • VisionofGreatness

    JTaylor, your love for LeBron has blinded you completely. MJ’s full resume is unequaled. You have no knowledge about basketball if you think that someone is on Michael’s level.
    On the Kobe topic, just to be mentioned in the same breath as MJ is a compliment. Michael went through a few years when people said he was just a one man show. Kobe had those years after Dr. Buss decided to get rid of Shaq. There’s a reason why Mike would take Kobe over LeBron and there’s a reason why Kobe talks to MJ about dealing with teammates. Michael sees something in him that he saw in himself. A lot of the Kobe bashing comes from people seeing him do things that MJ did. People don’t like it.

  • VisionofGreatness

    Also, MJ wasn’t in his prime when the Pistons were beating him. If you think that Hakeem Olaujuwon was as good as Michael, you should be banned from ever speaking about basketball again.

  • KB8toSG8

    @yaboy

    I DARE you to say that averaging 50 points and 25 rebounds a game is easy even if he did face 6’5 or so opponents in the same 48 minutes. And saying Russel was the best player of that era shows how dumb you are. Seriously?! Russel was outclassed everytime he matched up against Wilt. His team however was waay better. Hence his winning record against Wilt……So stop posting ish.

  • Justin

    Kb8…I’m sorry, but if all his opponents were 6’5 then yes, it would be easy to score that many and rebound that many. I’m 6’3, and if I had 5’6 guys guarding me down low and I didn’t have to worry about how long I was in the key, I could do the same thing. It wasn’t just about the height, it was also about the strength

  • cadmus

    simply the best!

  • Ronald

    To understand Jordan’s greatness, you have to think outside the States. Heck, you need to stand outside the English speaking world and put yourself back in the 1990′s and take into account the lack of internet and 24/7 worldwide media availability. Sure, it was a by product of awesome marketing but Jordan brought basketball to a whole generation. Like the McDonald’s arches and Coca-Cola’s signature red and white can, Jordan’s name was and is basketball. Whilst there are some (older generation) might not care or know who Lebron and where he takes his talent, but they know who Jordan is. They might’ve never seen a basketball game, or seen Jordan take flight, but they knew who he was and that he accomplished what many couldn’t.

  • Ronald

    In every sport, you have one or two athletes that stand above the rest, and it’s never just because of the stats or what they did, but the profound effect they had. Soccer/Football has Pele and Maradonna, Basketball has Jordan, and Golf has Tiger.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Kobe will be the closet to MJ ever, and I have stated before, he will never get the same MJ attention, because he was the second to do. Like any profession or sport the second will always be compared to the 1st, and can’t win. MVP awards don’t matter now, because Steve Nash got two, which tells you how the media has changed the way they get MVP’s. I always felt the NBA, should add Offensive Player of the Year, Team Player of the Year, so the real MVP can get the award. Also the Finals MVP, can’t be compared when MJ never played with a player who wanted the MVP award like him. Shaq got all three, but if you rewatch the NBA Finals Kobe should have gotten one, which would have given Kobe 3 with the last two he got. I love MJ, but alot of his leadership, passing, defense is being overrated. Pippen is the greatest individual defensive player ever and I truly believe MJ picked up his defense because of Pippen and Pippen picked up his offense because of MJ. MJ was global and an social icon, so anybody after him will have it worst than him. Lebron is not even in the picture anymore, he let his destiny, he could have went to Kobe and MJ level but he ran, any smart person knows his MJ/Kobe path is gone. Also MJ would be hated now, because of his gambling, womanizing and him getting on his teammates nerve. MJ came at the perfect time, with his ball hogging ability and also scoring prowess. Its funny, now, but MJ didn’t everything great like people say now, but when you win thats all that matters, but MJ had alot of bad shooting nights, its just the bulls had no post players and the post game fade helped him out alot. MJ was awesome, but his bad attitude and him never taking up social for anyone, and having a me first mentality until years later, not being seen as a family man, those hurt his overall image, but hey at least he can get 30 points a game. I remember MJ saying I purposely try to get 8 pts a game to get 32 points a game. I loved the selfish MJ, but GOAT he is, but he is GOAT in certain areas not all. BOOK IT!!!

  • KB8toSG8

    @Justin

    How tall was Russel? How did Wilt’s head-2-head matchups with him end? He totally defeats arguably the GREATEST paint defender EVER, and yet you guys still think he’s overrated?! Everyone’s too caught up in the Jordan hype, which Russ also states, to discount other greats like Mikan, Wilt, Big O. Hell, I could provide you with a strong argument that Big O was the greatest ever! He just didn’t have the media hype that Jordan had. And he didn’t win much. Which brings me to another point : All the teams which Jordan faced were no match (no offence) to the teams Wilt, West and Big O faced. That is the reason why they had lost time and time again. Sure, it is valid that it wasn’t Jordan’s fault that the teams he faced weren’t as good as the Celtics of the old. But why then do we criticize Wilt for having shorter players guard him?? Hell, I can prove that Celtics the Lakers faced played better team D than any team Jordan faced, save probably for the then declining Pistons….( Celtics did play better D although many would argue just by hearing the Bad Boy Pistons. No use debating with such folk :D ) Also, name me ONE guy who was Jordan’s height and actually played outstanding D at his position on other teams. One. Does that make Jordan’s legacy lesser? No. Isn’t it fair that it must also apply to Wilt’s Legacy?

  • KB8toSG8

    @ Seed

    This might be the first time I agree with you!! Except Pippen being the greatest defensive player thing :D

    @Ronald

    Magic and Bird, the two guys who saved the NBA and also revolutionized the game, would like to have a word with you…….

  • http://sdklff.com Jukai

    Justin: None of those quotes were fake. Outside of the Scottie Pippen one, none of them could be considered DIGS. Jordan was a dbag and treated his teammates like crap when they failed. I mean, deny all you want but it’s the truth.
    Jordan was the GOAT, but let’s not pretend he could hit 80 footers and fly in the air for a minute and a half.
    Also, your point about Wilt’s points and rebounds is ridiculous. If you had three 5’8 guys guarding you, you wont get that rebound, you wont score that point. Period. No way Wilt could average 50-25 in this day and age, but if you don’t “see” how ridiculous that was, even against smaller opponents, you don’t really play basketball often. End.

  • http://sdklff.com Jukai

    Also, the Seed’s “real MVP” is whoever The Seed wants to win the MVP. BOOK IT!

  • The Philosopher

    I have stated this before. I shall again attempt to make this statement with class, dignity, eloquence, and with pure AND truthful clarity…
    CHECK OUT EBOY’S CLASS DISCUSSION REGARDING JORDAN A FEW THREADS AGO…
    IT WAS A FACTUAL MASTERPIECE!

  • KB8toSG8

    Could you post the links here or the thread name? Even though I’m not a stat guy, I’d like to hear the arguments.

  • yaboy20

    @Kb8 are u serious dude???? wilts numbers went down every time he played russell in the finals and russell won every time so wilt really outclassed him..And there was no offensive goaltending back then so use some common sense dude if ur 7 ft back then wat do u think would happen and how easy could it be to do wat he did. kno ur stuff

  • The Philosopher

    It was the
    “Can Kobe Age As Gracefully As Jordan?” thread.

  • yaboy20

    The seed great point jordan hasnt done anything that kobe hasnt done except jordan was loved from day one and the league needed someone to carry the torch and be the face of the league so he was portyrayed as a good guy. Kobe after his case took on the role of villain and had no choice because he had to in order to keep his edge. I am 100 percent positive that if jordan played now he would be seen just like kobe

  • KB8toSG8

    @yaboy

    Chamberlain, in 1967, had an incredible playoff series against Russell and the Celtics, ending their 8 year run as NBA champs…. in the five game eastern conference final, Wilt averaged 22 points, 32 rebounds and 10 assists per game… in the final game, he threw up 29 points, 36 rebounds and 13 assists… Ever see a triple double like that one?

    Russell did admit that when Wilt was able to cut down on his personal scoring (on the court) he became more “Russell-like” except that Bill said Wilt did it better than he did.

    Wilt and Russell played against each other 142 times in 10 years. Russell won 88, Wilt won 74. Wilt averaged 28.7 points and 28.7 rebounds vs. Russell. Russell averaged 14.5 and 23.7 vs. Wilt.

    Wilt’s high game vs. Russell was 62, and he had six other 50 point games againts Russell . Russell’s high game against Wilt was 37, and he had only two other 30 points games.

    Wilt’s record 55 rebound game was against Russell, and he had six other 40 rebound games vs. Bill.
    Russell also had a 40 rebound night against Wilt.

    Factual evidence that Wilt was better. Enough? Or should I do more snooping around? Kno ur stuff? LOL, And Russell did admit that his teams were the biggest reason why he almost always won over Wilt. Wilt was usually a one-man team even Russell couldn’t stop. But Russell+4 other HOFs could. That was the difference.

  • KB8toSG8

    Russell’s teams were loaded. His college and Olympic teams featured fellow Hall of Famer K.C. Jones. His Celtics teams featured seven future Hall of Famers. Chamberlain joined a Philadelphia Warriors squad that had a losing record and one Hall of Famer, Paul Arizin.It only means that the Celtics of the 1950s and 1960s were as dominant a team as Chamberlain was a player. You wouldn’t expect Jordan to burn Kobe would you?? Of course Jordan would struggle more for his points. Yaboy, kindly read before you make any statements. First saying 50 pts, 25rebs ain’t special if you’re taller by 3-4 inches. LOL. Any talented player can out hustle another player for a rebound. See Rondo on the Celtics, Kobe in Game 7 etc. Its more a matter of effort they put in. And Wilt put in more effort in basketball than arguably everyone else. His numbers reflect that.

  • KB8toSG8

    Getting so many rebounds against a 7ft player ain’t special, is it yaboy? According to your logic, if 50pts,25rebs isn’t special even when he’s putting up around 40pts and bucketloads of rebs against Russell, Jordan is a borderline all-star when compared to Wilt, a legend. Only according to your logic. He set that record when he was 32 years old. And he lead the league in assists as a Center while also making the rebounding title his. Ain’t special right? Even LBJ,KB and MJ’s accolades ain’t special too right?

  • http://sdklff.com Jukai

    KB8toSG8 just obliterated everyone. EVERYONE.

  • http://sdklff.com Jukai

    Some nice quotes:
    “Wilt is playing better than I used to — passing off, coming out to set up screens, picking up guys outside, and sacrificing himself for team play.”
    -Bill Russell
    “One-on-one he [Wilt] would’ve murdered Russell and everyone. But playing five-on-five, Wilt was consigned to a specific role because of his ability to score so easily, whereas the Celtics fit Russell into their team concept better.”
    –Red Holzman
    “If [the referee] is calling [the game] loose then everyone gets away with more. So, you have to handle your own man accordingly, unless it’s Wilt Chamberlain. Him, you just don’t handle. He’s too strong. The best you can do is make him work hard.”
    – Bill Russell

  • Seven Duece

    Damn, great article!

  • flipnoyce

    The Best There Ever Was and The Best Will Ever Be unless that next guy comes around which I don’t think will be here soon.

  • ab40

    this was ni 1993 please watch it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSGHhahbgf0 Wilt was amazing and so was kareem who’s name I don’t see anywhere. Them three plus shaq. are the most dominant and unstopable players we’ve ever seen. And jordan isn’t the greatest player we’ve ever seen he’s the best we’ve seen so far.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Cosign
    Jukai Posted: Oct.10 at 12:13 pm
    BOOK THAT!!

  • Byebye

    Mj was a bad mf but we all know he benefited from all the stars he played against started aging bird dr j magic isiah who was his biggest threat during his championship runs he never beat a great team in the finals except the trailblazers

  • http://www.okayplayer.com the_capital_t

    Nice piece of writing. Really nice piece of writing.

    As for the argument re: Jordan vs. everyone else…you have said it just about as well as it can be said. But I’m not sure the argument is completely deaded.

    While this piece solved the present “greatest of all times” argument, it left me with one question: what is left to change about the game? I like the passage about building on a mansion. But, to carry the analogy, what about the rest of the neighborhood?

    The fragmentation of the media and the new business landscape would seem to offer new challenges to potential next greatest of all times. Depending on what happens in the ongoing CBA negotiations, there could be an unusual new basketball context for a player to master as well. Taken together, new metrics by which greatness is judged could emerge in the near-term future. It’s not easily plausible, but not completely impossible either.

    Jordan is, without question, the standard.

    But standards, no matter how brilliant, are rarely permanent.

  • VisionofGreatness

    Jordan set such a standard that it will be hard for any player to outdo him. Kobe never had a chance because of people who knock him for winning with Shaq. I believe he will get at least one more before he’s done which will give him three as the best player on a team. That’s as close as we’ll see anyone get in my opinion. LeBron had a chance if he would have stayed in Cleveland and they managed to build a team around him. Even without the mentality of a Kobe or Michael, he could have done it. People would have given him MVP awards even if he didn’t deserve them. He could have gotten scoring titles. His defense is getting better. But now that he’s in Miami with Wade, there will be no more MVPs or scoring titles. So now we are currently left with no one but Durant. Durant won’t get the championships because of Miami. Maybe someone down the line will come along, but it’s looking like MJ is just one of those guys who just comes once in a lifetime.

  • http://sdklff.com Jukai

    VisionofGreatness: Uh, I don’t get it. If Kobe wins three with and three without… couldnt’ Lebron get three with Wade/Bosh and get three without? Why does he no longer have a chance?
    I said even before Lebron left for Miami, he may go over to the Heat, cheat and win three/four rings, then go out and win some on his own. No one puts an asterisk next to Kareem’s name. No puts puts an asterisk next to Oscar or West. Very few dock Robinson’s championships.
    Now people are beginning to lax up on the “Kobe needed Shaq” talk now that he’s won two of his own.
    So I don’t get why Lebron couldn’t “cheat” by winning three or four with a super team than grab two or three on his own and not be right in the top-5 discussion. Unlikeliness aside, can someone explain to me why Kobe can win three with Shaq and those are legit but if Lebron wins with Wade then wins alone, it’s not the same?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Royal

    Jukai: Yes it would be the same, but can we at least wait until the man wins at least one ring it’s not guranteed ask Karl Malone, Charles Barkley.

  • Jay Cutler

    As great as Kobe is, his resume pales next to Mike’s. This is the simple painful truth that keeps Kobe Lovers up at night crying into tissues and defending their man on internet boards and comment boxes.

    The numbers don’t lie.

  • VisionofGreatness

    @Jukai
    If LeBron couldn’t get three before Wade and Bosh, what makes you think that he will get three after Wade and Bosh? I think it’s been proven, LeBron can’t be the head and shoulders best player on a team and win a championship. If he wins with Wade and Bosh, it’s the same as Kobe winning with Shaq. I wouldn’t put an asterisk next to it just like I don’t put asterisks next to the 3 Kobe won with Shaq. People who dislike Kobe act as if he was just another guy on that team when he was basically 1A to Shaq’s 1. A championship is a championship. No one does it alone. But the reason why MJ is seen as being so great is because he was the main guy on all 6 of those championship teams without question. That will probably never be done again. It wasn’t done by Kobe and it won’t be done by LeBron.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    VisionofGreatness said: “MJ’s full resume is unequaled. You have no knowledge about basketball if you think that someone is on Michael’s level.”
    That’s the type of bullsh!t that just astounds me–NOBODY was on Michael Jordan’s level? It’s that sense of Jordan’s GOAT status being untouchable that really irks me. Maybe he is the GOAT but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other candidates.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Thank you KB8toSG8… D@mn. Dude knows his stuff!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Jordan haters will never learn……

  • KB8toSG8

    @Jay Cutler

    Stop feeling so insecure. That’s all I’m gonna say :D ……Jordan’s resume pales when compared to Wilt’s. Book it! (Since it seems to be a catchphrase around here….) And I’ve yet to see a Jordan fan that managed to give a strong argument against Wilt’s stats whenever they compare MJ’s stats to Kobe’s.@Jukai….what you said makes complete sense. However, we’re talking about a 31 or so year old LeBron here…..dunno if he can still maintain his crash and burn MVP level play till then. He’s still gonna be top5 don’t get me wrong. But by then, Griffin, Evans, Wall, Steph will start balling…..Another thing is injuries. Hopefully, it doesn’t happen to LeBron. I’m quite interested in seeing how his career ends. :D

  • KB8toSG8

    @Eboy, I’m not at all implying Jordan sucks or all that stuff. I’m just saying guys like Wilt deserve more recognition for their efforts. Saying ish like 50pts and 25rebs ain’t good is gonna land you in a lot of trouble. Anywhere. Personally, I think Wilt was the greatest ever and that is backed by many guys. Today, however, it’s considered classy to say MJ is the best player or else they’re gonna get ripped apart by the media. I thought this was a free world. The Big O explained that Kareem was the greatest player ever and all he got was incredulous looks from a few “analysts”. And frankly, MJ has been overblown. Overhyped. But he got game. Incredible game. ( Notice why I didn’t say he was overrated :D )

  • The D Train

    @Jukai: I would guess perception is the difference in Kobe v. Lebron. When Kobe won those titles with Shaq he was still all about trying to be the alpha-male. Perception probably gives him credit (at least to some) because he was not necessarily willing to ride someone’s coattails. Lebron, in a watered-down league, choosing to team up with 2 of the other top-15 players in the league will never feel right to some. Right or wrong, we can all agree that Kobe would NEVER join a team where he might even be remotely considered anything other than the alpha-dog. So the perception is that Lebron has to jumpstart his title-chase with someone who is his (almost) equal. Is that wrong? Maybe. Maybe not. Kobe didn’t have a choice. He stuck with a team that was built to be great. Lebron left a team to try to form a team that might be great. History will not forget it. If Miami turns into a (mini) dynasty, many will let things pass. But Kobe was crying for his own team for years. In a weird way, his selfishness is a virtue to many bball fans. Lebron’s lack of selfishness will be viewed, once again, rightly or wrongly, as a weakness. If one views it through that prism, then no, Lebron winning with Wade is not the same as Kobe winning with Shaq…regardless of accuracy.

  • KB8toSG8

    @Jukai

    The difference is what happened after the 3peat. Kobe wanted that alpha-dog position all to himself. He wanted to be the top dog and was willing to leave to get it. In short: He wanted all the good and bad about being the top dog on him team. LeBron had the top dog postion but didn’t want it. He decided to leave and join Wade’s team. Atleast, that’s the perception most have. I am not too hard on LeBron though….he was a free agent and did what was best for him. Not necessarily the league.

  • Ronald

    It wasn’t all about Kobe wanting to be the alpha-dog of the team. A lot of it was sick of seeing the self proclaimed alpha dog (Shaq) cruise through the off-season and regular season and take games off and coming into training camp overweight.

  • Byebye

    Everyone talks about Labron but I remember ko be being mad and not shooting in the close out game avaunt phoenix I remember him hating the whole team then the lakers miraculously trading for gasol when nobody in the league knew he was on the block don’t you guys think they cudda got more than a first rd pick And kwame brown I think so

  • JTaylor21

    ^Then still come thru and BEAST throughout the playoffs and DEVOUR defenders in the finals. That’s the true reason Kobe hated Shaq because shaq could be as lazy as Chicago is corrupt but still dominated with ease.

  • Justin

    Kobe would have had a much better shot at Jordan’s legacy if it weren’t for the Denver thing and for the whole mess when he was playing with Shaq. Yes, Jordan’s “transgressions” came out as well but WAY after he was put on that pedestal. If Kobe had gone about things the same way it might be a different story, although he would still fall a little short. He’s as close as they come though.
    KB8…Jordan would struggle to get points against Kobe? Surely you’re joking? Your arguments for Wilt are pretty good except for one thing. You say his height advantage wasn’t that great because of what he did to Russell but who else did he go against? Russell was great, no doubt, but the rest of the league was small in comparison.

  • KB8toSG8

    @Justin…..what else would you want? He dominated Russel. I showed you all the 40 point and all that stuff kinda games against Russel and his Celtics. Why weren’t Russell’s stats so unbelievable against the same guys?? Jordan wouldn’t struggle to get points on Kobe? Some of you guys seem to forget that when motivated, Kobe has always managed to lock down every single player ( save I guess Carmelo who would always be panting and taking in lots of fluid during TOs when playing vs Kobe.) Kobe can and would definitely give a hard time for Mike to score. And that’s a fact. Mike would agree too. And, when Jordan was playing, the league was totally diluted. Name me alteast 2 players that played Mike’s position, had Mike’s height and played stellar D. Mike was also fortunate to play when the league was expanding to newer teams. The talent pool was diluted. That’s also a fact. A fact that MJ took advantage of. Just like Wilt did.@JTaylor, there you go. Hating again. Atleast Kobe tanked in Game 7 after half-time when the Lakers looked totally lost ( which I believe is false. He can’t always explode for 40-60 points right? And when Kobe and the Lakers beat other teams during the regular season using the same tactics, nobody complained I see.) unlike your King who tanked half the series. Give it a rest would you. Try as hard as you can to deny Kobe’s greatness, I can easily demolish LeBron’s too..

  • KB8toSG8

    Also, Russel was as tall as Odom and had a great wingspan. The best defender in MJ’s era was……..Pippen? Rodman? Hmmm……

  • The Philosopher

    Kobe would get 50 easily from Jordan.
    Larry Hughes. 40
    Allan Houston. 50
    Gilbert Arenas. 60
    Michael Jordan would have a hard time scoring on Kobe?
    Those other guys are not even Hall Of Famers.

  • KB8toSG8

    @The Philosopher…..would be oh so kind as to notice that I said WHEN MOTIVATED. Do you think he would be motivated to face against Larry Hughes, Allan Houston. I think it was when Kobe also had 40 points. And I don’t think Kobe was defending him. Gilbert had a great night against LA. I’d give you that. Hell, Kobe let Quentin Richardson burn him 3 after 3 against the Heat last season. Again, Kobe Bryant plays stellar D when he is motivated enough to do so. Gilbert was off the charts that day. In 1996, Pooh Richardson lit up Jordan…Pooh Richardson. Hell, I didn’t even hear his name till now :D . Damon Stoudamire had his way with Jordan that year (Stoudamire’s rookie season). While Stoudamire was very quick, Phil Jackson’s answer to him spoke volumes about Jordan: Phil put Scottie Pippen on Stoudamire. Jordan was so slow that a 6’7″ 225 lb FORWARD was Jackson’s answer to a guard. Those are a few examples. And who doesn’t remember AI’s crossover on MJ :D

  • http://slamonline.com Philly

    zeke took out bird, magic And Jordan in 89.. that must count for something

  • KB8toSG8

    Coop held MJ to 13 points. Jordan had trouble defending guys like miller or starks who were good scorers but not known as guys who could score 30 a game as a D-Wade, Kobe, or Lebron type player.

    If anything, Jordan’s defense was overrated. Particularly after he came back. And even before he quit for baseball, Coop was the better guy. Jordan had more stats like BLK, SPG etc. but Coop did all the dirty work. Kinda like D12 winning the award but IMO, Battier, Wallace, Artest, Bowen etc. deserved to win the award multiple times to say the least.

  • KB8toSG8

    Zeke!!! I forgot all about him…..He’s definitely in the Top 10 players…. :( . I simply can’t make up my Top 10 guys……

  • The Philosopher

    Everybody has a bad night.

  • JoeMaMa

    Taken from yahoo:
    Another common misperception is that Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain played against only 6’6″ white centers. That is completely false. Here are the NBA players from 1960-1972 6’11″ or taller who played at least 3 years in the NBA: (list does not include Wilt Chamberlain)

    Kareem Abdul Jabbar: 7’2″
    Dennis Awtrey: 6’11″
    Walt Bellamy: 6’11″
    Tom Boerwinkle: 7’0″
    Nate Bowmen: 6’11″
    Mel Counts: 7’0″
    Walter Dukes: 7’0″
    Jim Eakins: 6’11″
    Ray Felix: 6’11″
    Hank Finkel: 7’0″
    Artis Gilmore: 7’2″
    Swede Halbrook: 7’3″
    Reggie Harding: 7’0″
    Bob Lanier: 6’11″
    Jim McDaniels: 6’11″
    Otto Moore: 6’11″
    Dave Newmark: 7’0″
    Rich Niemann: 7’0″
    Billy Paultz: 6’11″
    Craig Raymond: 6’11″
    Elmore Smith: 7’0″
    Chuck Share: 6’11″
    Ronald Taylor: 7’1″
    Nate Thurmond: 6’11″
    Walt Wesley: 6’11″

  • tomek

    Let me be the first one to call it: “Russ is the Greatest (Slam Writer) Of All Times”

  • JoeMaMa

    With 9 teams in the league during Wilt’s years, the competition was tougher, too. It’s not like double teams didn’t exist either, or shadowing a player. Also, he ran the 100m in under 11 seconds, was a high jump champion, and when he retired he played volleyball, winning the MVP of a professional volleyball all star game…but those are just cherries on top. Wilt played with and against great players; it’s fallacy to think he dominated only short guys his whole life. People just say things to explain away his superhuman feats on the court…but they refuse to acknowledge just how dominant he was. Wilt is, bar none, the best ever. I’d said this a million times: you can only truly compare a player against those he played against, for obvious reasons (evolution of the game, reffing styles, travel, league make up, even social norms). And Wilt was more dominant than anyone else. Lesson done.

  • KB8toSG8

    @JoeMaMa…..You just delivered the final punch. :D Was searching for that. But couldn’t find all of them.@Philosopher…..now, why can’t Kobe have a bad night??

  • KB8toSG8

    Face the facts, Jordan lovers, Wilt was/is and forever will be the GREATEST ever. Hell, you guys say that Jordan played in the greatest defensive era (BS) Have you ever stopped to wonder that even Jordan was allowed to hand-check him matchups? That would also probably mean that his defense is overrated when compared to Kobe’s….who can’t hand-check others. That would mean that Kobe was better defensively than Jordan and Jordan was a bit better offensively. ( Only a bit because Jordan only faced iso defense other than the Pistons who cleverly hid their semi-zone and never faced team defense like that of the Celtics which Kobe faced. Kobe on iso would KILL….) Now, would you accept such claims or just shrug it off saying that I’m an idiot?? Note: By no means am I stating that Kobe is better than Jordan. Am just saying that MJ isn’t as untouchable and can be defeated as well. The media makes him sound like that.

  • Blackphantom

    Hmm, let’s really compare whose the better player, Michael or Wilt. Who do you think would win that game one-on-one?

  • larrylegend

    @Philly: No, larry DNP the whole season and magic was injured during the finals (i think other lakers too).
    the only problems i have with mj are 1. he took to many spotlight like with miami and the lakers nowadays 2. it seems as if he gets every damn foul call during his 2nd 3-peat 3. the way he approched his teammates, could have been better.
    other than that he played the perfect sidekick to pip :-)

  • Justin

    No, the media doesn’t make him sound like that. 99.5% of the players who have ever played against or seen him are making him sound like that. If Jordan wasn’t allowed to handcheck, he would adjust. He was quicker than everybody at his position and smarter too. If he wasn’t handchecked he could have scored over 40/game. He went one season scoring over 37 a game and that was with handchecks. AND he’s a guard, not just a guy sitting under the rim with his arms out waiting for the pass and simpleton finger roll

  • JoeMaMa

    Playing one-on-one to see who’s best is a silly way to determining how someone influences a TEAM sport. I’m not going to diss Jordan; the guy’s freaking amazing. But Wilt did things on a nightly basis that would equate to a career game for 99.9% of other NBA players. I’ve shown that he did these things against other tall guys, and did so in a league that only 9 teams. I also love that Wilt led the league in assists for a season. Who else has led the league in points, boards, and assists throughout their career??! (99% sure of blocks too, though they weren’t counted back then)

  • KB8toSG8

    @Justin

    You think Wilt just stood under the basket and dunked it in? I’m not even going to answer that. Its that stupid. Yes, Jordan would’ve adjusted. Definitely. He could’ve continued to play stellar D without handchecking. The key factor is : COULD’VE. Yet, we don’t use the same for KB or Wilt. We assume that they CAN’T play better in a different era, but MJ is BEST in any era. See my point? See what the media can do??? A simpleton finger roll? You think its that easy? In that era? What’s next? Sky hook is a simpleton move?!@JoeMaMa, yes. Its said that if blocks were counted, Wilt would average atleast 15 blocks a game. That’s a quadraple double right there. Name me one other guy that can do that in the history of this game. NONE. HENCE, WILT>>>>REST.

  • Armando

    Good points… And hypotethically, if you were to move one player from one “era” (they are overlapping so it’s kind of a strange term), you would have to move that whole player’s life as well so that he gets the same benefits from the development of coaching, etc. For example: You can’t just put Chamberlain into todays league and say he would suck, the same way that his 50ppg and 22rpg doesn’t translate either (or Robertson’s triple doubles). Just for the hell of it: An aging wilt held his own against a young Lew Alcindor, who in turn held his own in an era where Bird, Johnson and Jordan dominated, who in turn was the best player in an era with O’Neal, Duncan and Garnett, and so forth and so forth…

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    This is why i like it when the NBA season (or atleast the SLAMONLINE season) gets going again…. RUSS IN THE HOUSE>

  • yaboy20

    @kb8 So i guess according to you greatness is defined by stats in numbers so i guess to you yea Wilt is the greatest so i guess when Lebron retires he will be the greatest cuz his numbers will be off the charts. To someone who knows basketball theres more to the game in stats and wins define greatness its a team game and how well you lead that team to win why do you think wilt only beat russell once and dont give me that russells supporting cast was better cop out wilt played with Nate Thurmond, Paul Arizin, Billy Cunningham, Tom Gola, Hal Greer, Jerry West and Elgin Baylor, who are all in the Hall of Fame, not to mention Chet Walker and Guy Rodgers, who could be for their battles and still couldnt win Russell was a great leader thats why his team always won unlike wilt he was a horrible teammate. You talk about the games he supposedly abused russell those games were blowouts so those were garbage buckets

  • yaboy20

    “We were forced to play against the Celtics 11 to 13 times during the regular season. And if you think that wasn’t enough, then we had another seven games against them in the playoffs, if it went seven games. So I had a chance to see William Felton Russell much more than I wanted to.” Wilt Chamberlain

    “If we played Boston four on four, without Russell, we probably would have won every series. The guy killed us. He’s the one who prevented us from acheiving true greatness.” Wilt
    Duh Russ spoke nice things about him they were good friends but he never sounded scared or like he couldnt beat him like Wilt did. Being a great leader/teammate goes into the GOAT status just as much as the stats do for me and thats one of the only reasons i cant put wilt in the discussion

  • yaboy20

    My only other reason is the eras the game was different there were a ton more possessions and alot more shots so it was easier to do what he did just like Oscars triple double. If u put Lebron or Dwight Howard in this era u cannot tell me that they dont do the same thing. Wilt was great in his era i am not disputing that but if he played now he would only get like 14 and 10 maybe pick up the bill simmons book and you just might change your mind on wilt. But thats why i think Kobe and Jordan are the greatest cuz their games translate to any era

  • The Philosopher

    So, that is one big man per team, right?
    Maybe two?
    Most were stiffs…
    The only thing Kobe has on Michael is the range on his shot.
    In Michael’s day, they moved the three point line in a little closer so Michael could continue his dominance.
    Again, that is the ONLY thing Kobe has on Michael. More range.
    But, that FURTHER illustrates how much better Michael is than Kobe.
    Kobe has never even been the Defensive Player of The Year.
    How can he be better than Michael on defense?
    And, once more, many of those big guys are stiffs.
    No offense, brethren.

  • The Philosopher

    And, I never said that Kobe cannot have a bad night.
    You said that Kobe would be hard for Michael to score on.
    I beg to differ…
    Michael has never let a non Hall Of Famer light him up for 60 points.
    Ever.
    Never, ever.

  • VisionofGreatness

    None of us truly know who the greatest was. All anyone has is their opinion. Some say Mike, some say Oscar, some say Bill Russell, some say Kareem, some say Wilt. There’s no definite answer. The greatest, most common held opinion is that Mike was the greatest. Poll past and present players and the most common answer we hear is MJ. That’s perhaps the most important opinion.

  • Blackphantom

    What idiot actually said Kobe was a better defender than Michael? Kobe’s great, but come on, sometimes my fellow Kobe fanatics go too far i admit

  • http://sdklff.com Jukai

    Interesting.
    In a pure BEST PLAYER EVER argument, you could argue that Wilt is up there or maybe even better than Jordan
    But greatest player ever?
    A few kinks:
    -Two championships compared to six. Yeah, circumstantial, but that’s a big factor
    -Jordan cared about getting stats over winning for about three or four years. Chamberlain did it throughout his entire career. When Chamberlain sacrificed his stats, they breezed through the playoffs. But when Chamberlain needed to lead the league in assists, they lost. Not saying Chamberlain could have beat the powerhouse celtics everytime, but 3-4 championships from Wilt certainly is feasible if he put his mind into winning everytime (and not to say he didn’t try to win in the playoffs, but I think his stat hunt hurt the jelling he had with his teammates and come playoff time, all those five point game seven loses may have come from that)
    -For about half of Wilt’s career, he was Karl Malone-ish in the clutch. He was Elvin Haye-ish in the clutch. He was downright Kevin Garnett-ish in the clutch!!!! He was afraid of being fouled and would take more turnaround jumpers than dunks. That changed as his mindset went from stats to winning, but that was a pretty big stain in his legacy.
    When I talk about centers, I always say Wilt was the BEST CENTER EVER because of his ludicrous skillset… but Kareem was the GREATEST because of his championships (more about luck) and his mindset, where he gave everything to the team.
    Plus, lord, I know 50-25 is f’ing insane, but Kareem’s 28-17-5-2-4.1 in a league with goaltending and three second rules… is RIDICULOUS!!!

  • http://sdklff.com Jukai

    Also, I get the Dwight Howard thing, Howard would have been pretty dominant… but Wilt was faster, stronger, taller, and had more range…. sooooo?
    The only thing Dwight Howard has is mobility (not faster in a sprint but probably faster with the ball) and MAYBE leaping… but even the leaping thing is in doubt.
    And it’s not like Howard has any post moves.
    So why would Howard do the same thing as Chamberlain if he’s pretty much worse in every way?

  • http://sdklff.com Jukai

    So…
    Chamberlain is STRONGER than Howard (Chamberlain dislocated a disk in Gus Johnson’s back by blocking Gus straight on… and Gus Johnson was a brickhouse of a man)
    Chamberlain is FASTER than Howard (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Paex9-VxPbA&feature=related)
    He had more RANGE than Howard (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6d7jRhaSgBA)
    Chamberlain was taller (7’1-7’2 compared to 6’10)
    Hell, it’s entire possible Chamberlain JUMPED HIGHER than Howard (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=849_WdqJ8o8 …. look at some of the pauses in the middle… he’s blocking shots that go up towards the top of the square… and that is when he was in his 30s! Good christ!)
    But Howard could average 50-25 back in the day?
    Good Christ… Howard can’t even pass out of a double team today. What is he going to do when he’s dealing with triple teams?

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Wilt Chamberlain was an olympic high jumper. He played a season where he averaged 48.6MPG. He led the league in assists because people said he couldn’t pass. Dwight can’t score more then 20PPG on a consistent basis. That comparison is totally bogus.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    that’s like comparing tyronn lue and allen iverson because they looked similar. (ok its not that abstract but its crazy – wilt is considered by many to be the best basketball player ever – top 5 all time at worst)

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    Great stuff in here, esp on wilt…………. … .. Its pretty clear tyreke evans will be the best player ever. Its not even up for debate. If you dont think so, you hate the special olympics, sunshine, rainbows, cute babies, beyonce, kim kardashianaina, beer, pizza, and yo momma. Tyreke will be the best player ever, LIBRARY IT!!!!

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    LIBRARY IT!! lol that’s the best isht i’ve ever read

  • yaboy20

    My grandad was a coach and has all of the old games on film even some of wilts sixers days do you understand me when i say there was no goaltending from wat i saw half of his points were redirecting shots into the basket and there were SO MANY more possessions they had about 140 per game compared to about 95 now so his stats were inflated with the pace of the game…. Ok dwight was an awful example i will admit that but shaq in his prime would use that era as a toothpick

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Joe, thanks for the list!
    And you didn’t even have to mention some of the undersized center greats like Wes Unseld, or the great power-forwards like Elvin Hayes who were insane at rebounding too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100000580635564 Bryan

    Well if even I , a die hard Knick fan, can accept this dude as the GOAT then anyone can.

  • The Philosopher

    Jordan can’t handle Earvin on the blocks.
    It has been proven.
    Earvin exposed Michael in The 91′ Finals as not being The Greatest Of All Times. Scottie saved Michael’s ENTIRE Legacy in that Finals showdown.
    Earvin Johnson was masterfully guiding that team by his lonesome against Michael and Scottie, and while doing so, cementing his position as… The G.O.A.T.
    And, we’ve still to this day have never witnessed the kind of performance in a Finals clinching game that Earvin put on that night in Philadelphia.
    The greatest performance in NBA History. A rookie 6’9″ point guard manning all 5 positions at a Hall Of Fame level for the Ring.
    Never again.

  • KB8toSG8

    @Blackphantom……in no way did I mean that KB was a better defender than MJ. I was just saying that you can’t negate Wilt’s stats just because his era was (according to many) a weak one compared to the 80s and 90s (BS) Maybe my example was a bit misleading. @Philosopher….Arenas back in 06, before his injuries took over, was killing almost everyone!!! Sure, he’s no HOF, but he ain’t Pooh Richardson. He was an offensive nightmare. And many would testify to that. Tell me how many guys in the 90s that MJ defended had such scoring prowess that Arenas had. He has a great jumpshot, is great at catch and pop, is devilishly quick, has great handles and can drive relentlessly.@yaboy……Really? All I care about is stats? Tell me what you exactly want Wilt to do to be called the Greatest ever?? You want him to score 100 every game?!!?! Regarding those quotes, Wilt and Russell were great friends and even greater rivals. Hence, I took both the stats AND Russell’s quotes to back my argument. Not just stats. Russell was a great defender. Arguably the best post presence on the defensive end. Don’t you think that without him, Wilt could just always go and score? Height and physical presence cannot be taught to a player. Its pretty obivous that Wilt worked harder to get his points while playing against Russell. If you look closely enough, you’d realize that I continuously praised Russell’s defense in my other posts. I’m just saying that even with Russell guarding him, Wilt got high scoring and high rebounding games. WITH RUSSELL. Wilt + 4 other players could defeat 4 HOFs + any other center other than Russell. That just shows you how dominant he was.

  • KB8toSG8

    @Philosopher……Wilt would demolish Magic one on one. No offence, but Magic was an average defender and an awesome playmaker. In order for Magic to play to his full potential, he needs to have team-mates unlike Wilt who could defend, had great lateral quickness, has the height advantage and a ridiculous scoring ability from the post. One on one, Wilt could shut down Magic. 5 on 5, Wilt would have a hard time stopping Magic passing. It was amazing that Magic could take over like that in his rookie season. But Wilt’s records simply are unmatched.

  • KB8toSG8

    Thrust into the villain role by virtue of his size and the results of his frequent clashes with the smaller, more team-oriented Bill Russell, Chamberlain frequently was judged more on what he didn’t accomplish than on the many things he did. “They see me score 75 points in a game and instead of saying, ‘Great game,’ they wonder why I don’t get 75 every night,” he once grumbled. His one NBA championship with Philadelphia in 1966-67 — at 68-13, another one of the all-time great teams — seemed to count less somehow than West’s or Baylor’s none. Chamberlain’s size, strength and personality always just demanded more. This is the true reason why Wilt was never given his due. He spoilt the fans so much that they always expected him to get 70 points, 40 rebs, 20 blks, 10 assists and all that ish. Kinda like why these days Kobe’s consistently awesome shots don’t garner the praise from the commentators or analysts because he did that almost every game, unlike LeBron, Melo and a few other all-stars over whom commentators and analysts go ga-ga after a brilliant move. (Note: By no means is Kobe on the same level as Wilt before everyone starts breathing down my back. :D )

  • KB8toSG8

    @yaboy…..you think LeBron and Howard would do the same in Wilt’s era? I have a few quotes from both of them when they were played very physically. Trust me, they WHINED to no end. Complaining, whining…repeat that 2-3 times. Wilt’s era was VERY physical. Hell, they could just hit him on the head while shooting continuously on every attempt (which would get Wilt free-throws). Infact, what makes Wilt’s stats so amazing is that he did it all while missing the most no.of free throws in LEAGUE history. Think how dominant he would’ve been if he had….say 70% free throw shooting avg.

  • http://www.oprah.com Doyouwantmore

    I was one of those kids that were disillusioned when I grew up and realized that the guy from ‘Pro Stars’ was actually a regular dude with regular problems. (And mo’ money!) But he’s still the best for sure. He’s the best because a man’s greatness is ultimately a collaboration between himself and his Creator. Jordan performed at a peak level in moments and contexts that ring with story and authorship.

  • The Philosopher

    @KB8toSG8:
    Joe Dumars.
    Clyde Drexler.
    Reggie Miller.
    Mitch Richmond.
    Steve Smith.
    And, Magic’s passing out of the blocks would neutralize many things.
    Not all, but many.
    Magic can score on Wilt.
    He will not give him 35, but he would get double digits. He would have Wilt in foul trouble chasing him everywhere.
    He’s 85% for his career at the line.

  • Alek

    great article, totally agree!

  • smooth

    ok micheal jordan is the best ive heard that since i was born every basketball magazine ive read it had “micheal jordan is the best” every where. micheal is the greatest but not the best and i get of whos better mj or kb24 or lbj first of all both of them doesnt know how to win a championship by themselfs. So quit talking about micheal jordan all the time every body knows hes the greatest but not the best

  • smooth

    magic is the greatest

  • KB8toSG8

    @The Philosopher

    Really? Ritchmond? As much as I used to love him….he’s as complete as Arenas? Smith? Clyde…you got a point there. Reggie? He’s a great 3pt shooter or should I say a great pure shooter. He doesn’t have the quickness or the handles Arenas has. No offence to him though. Magic might score only a few points. Definitely not more than 15. I’d bet anything over that. Wilt would get into foul trouble CHASING him? I think people really underestimate Wilt’s athleticism. I think a video was posted here about Wilt’s speed. He can easily hang on with Magic. Foul trouble, I’m not quite sure. Magic wasn’t the best perimeter shooter out there and with Wilt’s height, it’d be tough for Magic. Also, with Wilt guarding him, he wouldn’t have anything from the paint. Nothing. Magic wouldn’t get many rebounds at all. Hell, I’d be surprised if he could get atleast 5 with Wilt over there. His assist numbers would continue to remain same. It’d depend on Wilt’s teammates to defend the others. If 5-on-5, I’d first definitely want to see Wilt’s teammates before I talk about the effect Magic would have on the game provided he plays Center. And let’s not forget, Wilt proved that he too could pass the rock effectively. I repeat, if 1-on-1, Magic would have ZERO chance. Zero. If 5-on-5, it’d depend on the teammates.

  • KB8toSG8

    Also, Wilt would also have Magic in foul trouble just as easily if he backs Magic into the post. And dare I say, Magic would be the one out of the game more quicker since Magic ain’t such a great defender. Hell, is it difficult for a guy to kill another player who is roughly the same height as the old previous centers and had avg/above average defense??? Come on, we’re talking about a guy who scored 50pts for the ENTIRE season over guys the height of Magic. And you’re telling me Wilt would be in foul trouble?!? And Wilt has more stamina than Magic as well.

  • KB8toSG8

    @smooth…..Wilt demolished every record on the court with his unbelievable play and continues to hold them even after 50 freaking years. I would bet my entire life that his records will NEVER be broken. Never. Magic and Bird saved the NBA when it was spiraling downwards. Jordan expanded the brand value of the NBA and took it to new heights. You decide what you find more important in determining the GOAT.

  • KB8toSG8

    Just forget about my Ritchmond comment…. :P He could definitely slash and shoot. Dribble and penetrate. I’m not so sure. PS. Is there anyway I can combine all my posts into one? I always have like 3-4 posts in a row and would like to know how to do that.

  • Yaboy20

    @ kb8tosg8 The pace of the game was so much faster that’s a huge advantage for wilt if both teams are gettin more then 100 possessions a game of course his stats would be thru the roof just cuz of the pace of play. His stats were inflated man I think kobes 81 was better then wilts 100 jus for the fact that game is so much slower and there aren’t as many possessions and he mostly shot jumpers that whole game. Wilt was a great player but he benefited heavily from the way his era played. If they played the way the NBA is played now there is no way he puts up a 50 25 jus cuz there aren’t as many opportunities to get those points and boards

  • Ali

    G.O.A.T Jordan, hands down! In my eyes the criteria for G.O.A.T is the path taken to the O’ Brien trophy. Bird, MJ, Russell, Kobe, Magic, My TOP 5 Dead or Alive! Question is can Kobe last another 2,3,4 years, and can he lead the Lakers to a few more titles before his exit? What will everyone say when/if the Lakers beat the Heat giving kobe #6 #7? Just trying to get some shi* started up in here, Hahahah!

  • PapaBearATL

    MJ made basketball better, bigger and inspired a world, not just a region or nation. I think that is what makes him the GOAT.

  • http://sdklff.com Jukai

    The Philosopher:
    Very famous story. I think you should read it. Here it is:
    —————
    Of all his memories of Wilt Chamberlain, the one that stood out for Larry Brown happened long after Chamberlain’s professional career was over.
    On a summer day in the early 1980s at the Men’s Gym on the UCLA campus, Chamberlain showed up to take part in one of the high-octane pickup games that the arena constantly attracted. Brown was the coach of the Bruins back then, and Chamberlain often drove to UCLA from his home in Bel Air, Calif.
    “Magic Johnson used to run the games,” Brown recalled Tuesday after hearing that Chamberlain, his friend, had died at the age of 63, “and he called a couple of chintzy fouls and a goaltending on Wilt.
    “So Wilt said: ‘There will be no more layups in this gym,’ and he blocked every shot after that. That’s the truth, I saw it. He didn’t let one (of Johnson’s) shots get to the rim.”
    Chamberlain would have been in his mid-40s at the time, a decade removed from one of the greatest careers any basketball player ever produced. But the advancing years meant little to Chamberlain in terms of physical conditioning.
    —————
    Took that straight from ESPN. I’ll cite it for you if you want (hint hint something you should work on hint hint).
    I don’t think Magic Johnson could make much headway against Wilt. Sorry.

  • The Philosopher

    @KB8toSG8:
    All I’m saying is that Wilt would have to guard Earvin on the perimeter. He can’t just leave Magic. Wilt cannot guard Earvin off the dribble, and in the post, Magic has moves. That junior sky hook was an underrated part of his offense. He has won Championships(1) with that shot.
    He can get it off on Wilt. His passing would be his bread and butter though, like it is, anyway.
    And, even before the rebound comes off of the rim, Magic is already surveying the floor, so…
    Wilt, being a center, is not used to having to sprint up court every time his man (a center) gets a rebound, and we all know that Earvin likes to push. By the time Wilt gets to half court, Magic has either scored, assisted, or set up an assist for another teammate.
    As far as the other guards I mentioned, it was about who would have a good game against Michael, hence having a good game against Kobe.
    Everything of course, is arguable.

  • The Philosopher

    Jukai:
    I read that story.
    And, you’re right.
    I do need to work on that.
    It’s just that I do not lie up here when referencing something that I heard, or about anything up here.
    My credibility is important to me.
    My opinions may not be correct, but I do not mean any harm.

  • The Philosopher

    And, again, Earvin is not going to light up Wilt.
    He’ll get double digits, though.

  • http://nba.com/cavaliers Stephon

    Nice article. Much respect to the Greatest Basketball Player of ALL Time.

  • ryan

    Conversely respect due to Wilt Chamberlain, Isiah Thomas, Elgin Baylor, Bill Russell, Hakeem Olajuwon, Mitch Richmond, Joe Dumars, Dennis Rodman, Oscar Robertson (the greatest guard ever) people need to learn their history before writing ignorant ass articles (and magazines about this clown Jordan).

  • ryan

    F MJ,the Chicago Bulls and Slam for publishing this crap.

  • truthteller

    The only reason why Kobe is hated so much is that he is the closest thing to MJ! And in some many people’s eyes, MJ can do no wrong! he was perfect and made no mistake!

  • Justin

    The one on one comparisons are done. Of course Wilt couldn’t guard Magic on the perimiter, any more than he could guard MJ either. But nobody could guard Wilt because he’s bigger and stronger, and someone else also said it before me. Comparing what would happen one on one in a team sport is just ridiculous. @KB8…Yes, I said simpleton finger roll. When you’re over 7′ tall, can stand under the hoops, and have a better than average vertical leap for a big man, it becomes very easy. Put yourself on a 9′ hoop with much smaller guys and see if you can’t do the same.
    @ Philosopher…Scottie saved MJ’s legacy? Really? Hahahahaha! Magic is 3″ taller than Michael, so naturally it’s a tough check and putting a taller, longer Pippen on Magic was very smart. You should read Magic’s autobiography, if you haven’t already. You might find it interesting when he states himself that Michael Jordan is a better basketball player than himself and is the G.O.A.T. Magic believed he could hang with Jordan until the ’92 Olympics but it was in practice where his mind was changed. You’d be interested to know also, that in their ’91 Finals Michael was actually out-assisting Magic up until the final game. You might want to take into consideration what the actual players say, instead of opinions of fans. I’d say they know best wouldn’t you?

  • The Philosopher

    Justin:
    I do not want to make it sound like Magic can guard Wilt, because of course he cannot.
    I’m glad you brought it back to my original point about Michael not being the Greatest Of All Times.
    And, I’ve watched the 91′ Finals…
    You are right. It was smart to put Scottie on Earvin.
    It saved Michael’s Legacy. It turned out to be the most important coaching move in NBA History, arguably. It was the most important move in Jordan’s career.

  • The Philosopher

    One more thing.
    Do you think Earvin Johnson Jr. would be the billionaire he is now if he ever said publically that he is better than Jordan?
    In basketball, you cannot say anything that may be construed as “anti Jordan.”
    You just can’t.
    No one takes shots at Jordan in basketball.
    Except Isiah…

  • Justin

    Philosopher, you’ve brought up that whole “Do you think he would ever say that publicly” thing before and it doesn’t hold water. That autobiography A) Came out a little while after the Olympics and was being written before during and after and B) Don’t you think saying it in a book about yourself is saying it publicly? What’s he going to do? Hold a press conference? His businesses were not thriving as wildly as they are back then either. And yes, his businesses are successful and got off the ground on the basis of is name but not because people thought he was the greatest basketball player ever.
    You also need to clarify how switching Pippen to guard Magic somehow saved Jordan’s legacy. Jordan having trouble with a bigger, taller, top 5 guard that ever lived is hardly a knock on Jordan the defender. Is his legacy tarnished because he had trouble guarding Iverson too? Nobody looks back and says “Well, Michael had trouble with certain players so maybe he wasn’t as good as everyone says”. Hell, Magic had trouble with EVERYONE he guarded. His legacy is pretty safe I think.
    You do get props for biggest exaggeration line in SLAM history with “most important coaching move in history”.

  • smooth

    @ kb8sg8 how tall was wilt like 7 foot Right well look way back then when he was such a “super star” and tell me who was close to his hieght and micheal jordan didnt change the game by himself there was other players in the league that did so too.

  • smooth

    and mj is realy really good but he didnt do it by himself like some people think but he was some what a really good team player that played on a team that had good players like sp and big d that new there role, “give it to mj”, if the bulls didnt have mj and had the other allstars they would probly make a deep playoff run but never to championship not without mj

  • smooth

    and kobe and lbj is not better than mj so for all yall people who keep coparing them to the great mj quit it, its geting old. mabey in the future but not now because i see no comparison

  • http://www.acb.com Alan

    OK, OK
    So it’s all about the numbers, right? Then 11 makes Russell the best ever, as it it about winning. But then, 50 PPG and 25 RPG in a single season, are those better numbers? Then Wilt is the GOAT. But if it’s about number then a triple-double each game would make it, so The Big O is the best ever. Or it may be by number of MVP’s? Then Kareem is at the top. But if you only care about who wins, then Final’s MVP? So it must be MJ. But then, where’s Mikan, Bird, Magic, Isiah, Hakeem, Shaq…?
    It’s impossible to pick just one… LOL

  • smooth

    true russell is a bad ass

  • KB8toSG8

    @smooth…..I’m not even bother with your comment. Look back on the thread. JoeMaMa posted the height of the players he played against. Seems like you conveniently forgot about Russell. @Justin…..he DIDNOT use the finger roll against puny players. Why can’t you guys see JoeMaMa’s post? Its clearly there written in stone! Wilt also proved that he could put up big numbers even AFTER he was waay past his prime ( see vs Kareem) @ Alan……if blocks were counted in Wilt’s era, he would have about 20 blocks per game. That’s amazing proving that Big O wasn’t the only one who could put up triple doubles (though it was amazing to see HIM do so….)

  • KB8toSG8

    @smooth….I could say the same about MJ. Just remove Pippen and he wouldn’t have even come close to winning in 91 against Lakeshow. Remove Rodman and they wouldn’t win vs Utah. See??? And MJ-less bulls were one bad call away from the Finals.@Justin….what I think Philosopher meant was if Phil didn’t make that move, the Bulls would’ve lost the finals and Magic would always have one up on Jordan. That’s pretty much correct. Also….correct me if I’m wrong but Magic/Bird said that he was the best player as of that moment and never really admitted that MJ was better than Magic/Bird in their prime. I’m 90% sure of that.

  • KB8toSG8

    @Philosopher…..Magic wouldn’t get points on Wilt. If you disagree, fine. Let’s just agree to disagree :D . @PapaATL….I don’t think being at the right place at the right time and being hyped into a basketball God during the 90s just so as to expand the interest and brand value of the NBA coupled with great BBall skills automatically makes you the Greatest……

  • http://www.acb.com A l a n

    @KB8toSG8: not sure if Wilt would have made a triple-double with blocks. But I believe Russell surely would have been very close. Closer than Wilt, in this case. But who knows… a pity that back then blocks were not counted. Although Boston journalist used to count Russell’s blocks. BTW Jordan is the best ever IMO because he didn’t have to be that tall to dominate the League (as opposed to Wilt, Kareem, Shaq,…)

  • The Philosopher

    @Justin:
    My line was the “biggest exaggeration” in SLAM History?
    Bigger than Kobe being superior defender over Jordan??? I wholly beg to differ…
    Anyways, during Michael’s 1st 3peat, Earvin was on TV saying how he does not think the Bulls can 3 peat, and so on. One can argue that those comments affected his brand, for never again after that would Earvin make such comments regarding Michael Jordan.
    KB8toSG8 is on the money. He clarified it for me.
    Phil does not make that move, Magic is unanimously The G.O.A.T.
    Again, Michael cannot deal with Earvin on the blocks. Jordan is not… The G.O.A.T.

  • http://www.acb.com A l a n

    @The Philosopher: I think I don’t understand you, because Magic averaged 0.4 blocks per (Total of 374) and MJ averaged 0.8 (Total of 893)

  • The Philosopher

    Alan:
    “On the blocks” means in the “paint” area, or in the “post”.

  • http://www.acb.com A l a n

    OK, thanks!!

  • http://sdklff.com Jukai

    It’s possible Wilt would have gotten a triple double with blocks one or two years… but saying he’d average 20 blocks a game is entirely fabricated. From what I read, it was closer to 8-10. Remember, the game was a lot more jumpshot oriented.

  • smooth

    what is a GOAT

  • smooth

    G.O.A.T

  • The Philosopher

    Greatest
    Of
    All
    Times

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    On who would win one on one:
    Trainer Tim Grover (ATTACK Athletics in Chicago), who has trained Bryant, James and Michael Jordan: Hard to say. Kobe could back LeBron down, too. He’s that strong. Don’t put me in this spot. I’m not picking.How about Jordan versus either man?Grover: Oh, Michael. No question. From a physical and mental standpoint, he’s the best I’ve ever seen. If he were playing now, with the way the refs call everything, and with all the padding these guys wear, he’d average 40 or 50 a night if he wanted.

  • KB8toSG8

    @nbk…………that doesn’t clarify anything except the fact that Kobe is strong as a bull, MJ was a freakish athlete and guys continue to gush over MJ. Come on! 50 pts? He is MJ……but he ain’t no Wilt. The same could be said about Wilt. Hell, make Wilt man up any guy in the post and boom boom boom. Foul calls. I’d bet that only a few could stay in the game until half-time if Wilt was posting them up. Also, Jordan would’ve gotten ALL the calls. ALL OF THEM. NOT EVEN CLOSE to being fair.@Jukai….during the 50pts,25 rebs thing, a LOT of them believed that he got atleast 20 blocks a night…..including his teammates as he acknowledged in his autobiography. Maybe not 20 but atleast 10-15 min.

  • KB8toSG8

    LOL….now I’m really finding MJ’s statements totally funny. He thinks he could get 100 points if he played his usual game in this era. Come on up MJ defenders, start defending “His Airness”

  • http://slamonline.com Saviour

    GOAT. No question, no ifs, buts or arguements.

  • KB8toSG8

    @Saviour…….You are the perfect example of a guy who has bought into the media hoopla surrounding MJ having no solid argument that totally blows all other competitors out of the waters. So…..care to explain in detail?

  • Justin

    @Philosopher…Yes, it’s a much greater exaggeration than Kobe being a superior defender. I still don’t get how a 6’6″ player not being able to hold down a 6’9″ player on the blocks takes away Jordan being the best ever. Does that mean that because Stockton couldn’t hold Jordan on the blocks that he wasn’t a good defensive player? Dumb. How can one argue that his “Bulls won’t 3Peat” comment affected his brand? Did sales go down? Didn’t he get started with movie theaters in less than desirable neighbourhoods? Did people stop going to those theaters after making those comments? Please support with facts and stats. Also, he stopped making those comments because he turned out to be WRONG. Plain and simple

    @KB8…What Magic said was they all agreed that Michael was the best, just not every night. And I think one can defend that statement about him getting 100 in today’s game with one simple stat. Kobe scored 81. You don’t think Michael could get 19 more, being the better scorer of the two? Look back at game 1 of the ’92 Finals. He scored 35 in the first half after sitting out the first 6 1/2 minutes of the second quarter, and played maybe 5 or 6 minutes of the third quarter, maybe only taking 3 shots. You don’t think he goes off in a monster way if they keep him in the game the whole time? He also scored 37 ppg in a time when handchecking was allowed. I believe that scoring the way he did was MUCH more impressive than the way Wilt did it. He’s a guard, where Wilt was a center, never further than 5 or 6 feet from the hoop. And what does JoeMaMa’s post mean about anything? I’ll take replays over anyone’s comment anytime

  • Justin

    And btw, the Jordan/Magic to Pippen/Magic switch didn’t change the series nearly as much as 3 other factors. Changing the double team to come from the baseline confused Vlade (yeah, I know not that difficult), Byron Scott and James Worthy going down to injury, and John Paxson stepping up and hitting every shot he took

  • The Philosopher

    Justin:
    I will ask you this;
    We recently engaged in a friendly debate about Wilt and Earvin.
    My question is, whom do you think would fair better against Wilt in the post? Magic or Michael?
    And, I never said that Michael was a bad defender. Quite the contrary.
    What I’m saying is (I do not mind repeating myself) Michael cannot guard Earvin in the paint. Magic is a better player than Michael Jordan when regarding all around abilities.

  • The Philosopher

    And, to answer your question about the 6’6″ player as opposed to the 6’9″ player…
    We are discussing Michael and Magic.
    Not two local rec league players.

  • Justin

    It doesn’t matter who we’re discussing, whether it’s between pros or rec league players. We’re talking about one player being bigger than the other. I suppose you’d say that Magic was a better post player than Michael too. What could Magic do better than Michael? Better handle? No. Better shot? No. Better on defense? No. Better passer…this is the only one that might have some merit, but when you get drafted onto a team that’s got a Hall of Fame center and then throughout his career has great finishers, and you are not the focal point of the offense, then yes you will get more assists.

    And as stated earlier, the one on one comparison is so stupid. Wilt was a giant compared to Magic and Michael. It’s just so dumb. Could Wilt handle Michael on the perimiter? No he couldn’t. So, what he sucks back in? Michael shoots the shot. I mean, how ridiculous a conversation. A better one would be how would Wilt handle Shaq in his prime. Debate that instead.

  • The Philosopher

    I’ve already debated that.
    The conclusion ended up being that Shaq is the most dominant center of All Time…
    And, Magic is a better rebounder.
    A better passer.
    A better leader. (Michael has even said so)
    Better handle is arguable, though I’ll give that to Earvin, too.
    Also, Magic WAS the focal point of the offense (SHOWTIME) for a while.
    A long while.
    Not including the year he averaged 24ppg. Things did not flow the same when Earvin did not have the ball.
    No one in NBA History can completely control the tempo and pace of a game better than Magic Johnson. This is fact.
    Better control of a game than Jordan, too.

  • Justin

    Sure, I’ll give you rebounder. Passer is debatable. You’re giving Earvin better handle because you’re a fan. Magic was not the focal point of the offense, especially during Showtime. He had the ball in his hands a lot but was not the focal point. He was probably the third option outside of Kareem and then Worthy. Magic only started scoring more as Kareem reached the end of his career and with Worthy slowing down.
    Sure he can control tempo. HE’S THE POINT GUARD. But Michael didn’t need to control it. Instead he would just take it over whenever he decided to. I’d like to control a game that way.

  • Justin

    I just don’t see why you can’t let it go to be honest. Magic admitted it, in ’92 at the Olympics in a room with him, Larry Bird, and Ahmad Rashad. For the love of God, PLEASE don’t say anything about hurting his businesses that he DID NOT HAVE at that time. You would think if a player can freely admit that someone is better, the fairweather fan would think “OK, fair enough. That’s good enough for me”. You just insist on being stubborn. Now, here’s another question for you. In what way was Shaq more dominating than Wilt?

  • The Philosopher

    Magic was the focal point of the offense.
    It is borderline idiocy to ponder otherwise. How can he not be the focal point of the offense when everything went through him? Earvin decided whom recieved the ball AND when.
    “Magic started scoring more as Kareem aged”… you said.
    So, was he the focal point at one time or another, or not??
    For your information, Michael taking over a game whenever he felt the urge is a form of controlling tempo…

  • The Philosopher

    Now, I have to ask you this one;
    If Magic proclaims his superiority in public like that, do you think that would help him?
    You do not hear Jordan saying he’s better than the next guy. That would not help him, either.
    And, yes, I am Magic Johnson’s #1 fan.
    Only because he is The Greatest Of All Times.
    Better than Michael.

  • Justin

    No it isn’t. You can take over a game in a number of ways, not just scoring. The focal point of any offense is who’s doing the majority of the scoring. The offense didn’t go through Magic, it started with him. Yes, Magic decided who received the ball and when. Again…HE’S THE POINT GUARD!!! On Utah, would you say John Stockton was the focal point or was it Karl Malone? Because Magic started scoring more did not mean he became the focal point of the offense. He still wasn’t the main scorer. Eventually, Worthy was.
    I guess if you took a poll of all NBA players past and present, any fan who has watched basketball in the past 30 years to see which is the greatest, Magic would get that one vote. Yours. Even Magic would vote the other way but not you. Hahaha.
    Magic didn’t proclaim his superiority because HE KNEW OTHERWISE and admitted it! How much more do you need?

  • The Philosopher

    The year Magic averaged 24ppg, Worthy paced at 19 and some change, so, he WAS NOT the eventual scoring leader.
    24ppg. (23.9)
    12.2apg.
    Sounds like the focal point to me.
    Scoring AND assist leader but wasn’t the focal point of the offense?
    How much more do…
    YOU need?

  • KB8toSG8

    You don’t need stats to show who is the focal point. Fact is Magic controlled and decided when to attack, with whom to attack and how to attack. Not Kareem. Not Worthy. Hell, would you call Nash the focal point of Suns’ offense or Amare???@Justin: “Give it up. You got no chance on this one. Larry, you don’t have the speed to stay with me. Magic, I can guard you, you can’t guard me. Neither of you guys can play defense like me and you can’t score like me.” What would you say about that? Would you believe what MJ said? That he could straight up defend Magic?Finally, Bird decided to step in to stop the escalation. “Magic, stop! We had our moment. There was a time when nobody was better than you and me. But not anymore. Michael is the best now. Let’s just pass the torch and be on our way.” Nowhere did Magic/Bird say MJ was the best ever. And regarding the 100pts MJ ish, lets take it to that thread.

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  • Justin

    @Kb8…Read Magic’s autobiography. As I’ve said earlier, Magic admitted he was not better than Michael. What he said was that he always thought in his mind that he could hang with Michael. Until one practice, when his team was beating up on Michael’s and he started talking trash about it to him. He said what happened next was a basketball display like none he had ever seen with drives to the hoop, acrobatic layups and shots. What they decided on was that Michael was the best, just not every night. The two best players (3 if you count Isiah as he eventually went on to proclaim Michael the best as well) say Michael was the best. Good enough for me
    OK fine, Magic was the focal point 9 YEARS LATER, after Kareem retired. Better?

  • The Philosopher

    Justin:
    I like your style.
    Now, how can Earvin be the focal point 9 years later? He won the championship as a rookie Finals MVP in The Greatest Performance The League has ever seen.
    He has definitively been the focal point since that night.
    Magic got there in 1979. Alcindor was in his 10th year. Showtime, right? It was a fast breaking offense that would have three guys running with Magic while Kareem was too slow to keep up.
    Magic was the orchestrator of the “Showtime” offense. He also ran the half court set, where Lew would flourish, but ONLY when Earvin got him the ball.

  • Justin

    Yes, Magic put on an epic performance, one of the best in history. But that team still revolved around Cap. It’s not a very good argument to say that people would flourish only because Magic got them the ball. That’s like saying Jordan could only flourish because Pippen got him the ball in the right spots. If you take out Magic and put any ball handler in the game, he can also dribble the ball up the court and pass the ball down low to Kareem. It was easier for Magic to do because he was 6’9″, but any point guard worth their salt can do that. He’s not the only person that touched the ball throughout the offensive sets you know.
    How come you don’t answer when I asked who was the focal point of the Utah offense, Stockton or Malone? Same thing is it not?

  • The Philosopher

    Another thing, Brother Justin:
    How can a player who missed averaging a triple double by mere fractions not be the focal point of an offense?
    With all due respect, (not trying to flame) I think you have a little disdain towards Earvin. He must have beaten your team a couple of times, no?
    And, again, Earvin is a politician. As well as Isiah. You cannot say you are better than Michael, for it is bad for business, and you will lose votes.
    Politics, Brother Justin.

  • The Philosopher

    John Stockton is the focal point of the Utah offense.

  • http://sdklff.com Jukai

    KB8toSG8:
    A View form the Bench.
    Great book. If you love Chamberlain, please read it. It’s a bit more realistic than Chamberlain’s own hyperbolic view of his own career. It’s written by Red Holzman. He still has his mouth grafted to Chamberlain’s ass while he’s writing it, but he’s not writing things like “CHAMBERLAIN AVERAGED 20 BLOCKS A GAME!!!!”
    He’s being a bit more honest.
    One of my favorite parts of that book, which I use everyday, is this one:
    “Yes, Wilt hit on those jumpers…Wilt did come into the league with a good touch from the outside, which made his early scoring that much more significant. He wasn’t just dunking the ball then.”
    God, if only everyone realized this. Wilt wasn’t just a stronger Artis Gilmore, for chrissakes.

  • http://sdklff.com Jukai

    As for the focal point argument, you guys are debating semantics. Phillo thinks that ‘focal point’ means who controls the offense, while Justin believes it’s who finishes the offense. Good lord, you people will be debating this forever.

  • Justin

    Philosopher…Hell no I don’t have disdain for Magic. I love the guy, loved watching him play. You must have selective reading though because you keep coming back with the same “they were politicians, they were businessmen so they can’t publicly say who’s better”. I’m going to try it slowly and in caps so maybe it gets through. Magic…and Isiah..WERE…NOT…BUSINESSMEN…WHEN…THEY…WERE…STILL…PLAYING. MAGIC…DID…ADMIT…IN PUBLIC…MICHAEL JORDAN…WAS BETTER…THAN HE WAS…IT’S IN…HIS…BOOK…WHICH…HE…WROTE. SAYING IT…IN A BOOK…IS AS CLOSE…TO SAYING…IT PUBLICLY…AS YOU CAN GET…WITHOUT…HOLDING…A NEWSCONFERENCE

    @Jukai…endless debates are what makes these fun aren’t they? This debate will go on every time the subbject is broached. Same with the Kobe vs. Lebron debate (which, don’t even get me started on that because it’s not even close right now)

  • The Philosopher

    I question whether you comprehend the political process..

  • KB8toSG8

    @Jukai…..will do. Wilt’s career and life is just so interesting on and off the court. Its like a movie flick which never ends…..@Justin….Tell me, is Nash or Amare the focal point of the Suns offense? Now after thinking about that, tell me if Magic or Kareem was the focal point of the Lakeshow’s offense.

  • KB8toSG8

    @Justin…..you in favour of KB? :D

  • Justin

    @Philosopher…I question whether you comprehend anything I’m saying
    @KB8…I think it’s different with the Suns. I know that when the break starts, the ball gets into Magic’s hands, they run and he decides who’s most open to get the ball to. But the Lakers didn’t just run and gun the whole time either. In the half court set, they were looking to get the ball to Kareem. And with what is probably still the most unstoppable weapon in history, who can blame them? Like Jukai said, it’s a matter of philosophy I guess. The way you guys are coming across, every point guard is the focal point of an offense simply because he sometimes decides who gets the ball. If you want to get technical, the coach is the focal point cuz he’s calling the plays from the sideline. lol I see it as who does the offense go to the most in order for the best scoring opportunity? You have to remember that everyone touches the ball on offense (at least, that’s how a good offense runs). The point guard starts it. The triangle offense is an offense where everybody touches the ball but it always somehow makes it’s way into Jordan’s, Pippen’s, or Kobe’s hands. Is Fisher the focal point or is Kobe?

  • The Philosopher

    I look at a focal point of an offense strictly on a case to case basis.
    I do not have a set philosophy when it comes to who is a focal point of an offense, for there can be more than one focal point.

  • KB8toSG8

    Totally agree with Philosopher. Like the Shaq Kobe thing after the first championship. However, on the Suns, Nash is the focal point. The ONLY focal point. Book it!

  • Ignarus

    Jordan was unstoppable in his time, but I doubt he would have had the same “score at will” image if he had to contend with the expanded zone defenses that teams are allowed to use today.

    Don’t get me wrong – Jordan would still be an all-time great monster in today’s league, but he’d be less efficient than he was historically because he’d have to get the ball at half court in order to keep the other team from doubling him before the catch.

    And he wasn’t much of a 3pt shooter. If you want to score 50 these days, you can’t just run rampant from inside the arc. You need to light it up from deep, too.

  • manu de mancieulles

    Jordan,”air is not human”, but his feet always above the head of his defense player. when his direct oppenent came back to the ground, MJ still rising higher for posterize them all. it was told that it was so easy 4 him that it seemt to be lonely on the field.
    nobody can get his level but everybody can try, it s lost time, but MJ will never be lost in our mind.
    “who defenseon Mickael????”
    “all the team try to do it, coach….”
    Happy birthday His Airness!

  • http://joeyrahimi.com/gainesville basketball camp shirts

    jordan played in a time where the nba was less athletic.

    if he would have played now, he’d be just as good as kobe

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