michael jordan

Originally published in SLAM 18

Michael Jordan hasn’t enetered a dunk contest in eight years, so you might have forgotten. But if you kick back and watch one of those old highlight tapes—Come Fly With Me—you’ll remember how vicious Mike was back in the day. Only thing is, some people don’t seem to recall.

“You’ve got Michael out there looking like he could get hurt. He looks like he’s protecting himself more than he has in the past.” –Seattle SuperSonics head coach George Karl

Coach Karl is right. Sort of. There’s no need for Mike to take it to the hole strong every time anymore, not when he’s got the fallaway down so deep it makes Dream’s look weak. Besides, it ain’t about highlight reels anymore. All that matters is gettin’ those rings. Right?

“I’m not scared to go anywhere on the court. When teams give me the jump shot, I’ll take it. If they take away the lanes, I’ll go for the jump shot.” -Michael Jordan

You take motivation where you find it, but Michael Jordan doesn’t seem to need anything extra when he plays the Cavaliers. Craig Ehlo remembers. So does Bulls teammate Ron Harper. And Bobby Sura? Well, he had to learn sometime.

Sura wasn’t even guarding Jordan on January 23; that was Donny Marshall’s job. MJ caught a pass high on the left wing, just outside the arc. He held the ball out, looked disdainfully at Marshall and blew right around him, going baseline. Donny gave him the lane.

This is where Sura made his first mistake. He didn’t follow his man out from under the basket, to safety. Instead, he turned around.

Mistake number two: Sura decided to be a team guy and take the charge. Yeah, right. Jordan went up; Sura went down. No call. New school, meet the old school.

“For an old guy, I’m starting to move around pretty good now,” Jordan said afterwards. “I feel confident with my game.”

Just ask Bobby.

Russ Bengston

As 2:23 in the video below…