JVG, the former MJ nemesis, says Jordan dominated the NBA during a much more physical era, and would be “living at the free throw line” now.
Van Gundy’s first win as head coach of the New York Knicks came against Mike and the 72-win Chicago Bulls.
Per Sports Illustrated:
ESPN is showing two versions of the Bulls documentary–an unedited version on ESPN, replete with a vernacular that is common during games but shielded from the viewers, and another on ESPN2 with some of the more adult language edited out. In order to receive the full Michael Jordan experience, don’t you need to watch the unedited version?
Jeff Van Gundy: “I think the essence of Jordan is the same with or without the inflammatory vocabulary that may be in there. Every family is going to have to make that decision for themselves, and you would like to see kids be able to understand what a great competitor and player he was. I think either way is fine. I didn’t know they were doing that, that’s terrific.”
This documentary is a time capsule for the NBA. What do you think viewers will be most surprised to learn about the league as a whole? And having already had a front-row seat to the Bulls’ dominance, what are you looking forward to seeing most in the documentary?
Van Gundy: “I lived it. And fans, if they watch closely, they’ll see how little room Jordan had on the floor. The three-point shot was in less use and there was less three-point shooting. If you look at how tight the spacing was in the triangle, and how much physical contact was allowed, people will be amazed. Everyone thinks they know how good Jordan was, but until you go back and actually study him, you’ll never understand what a great, great player he was. He shot over 50% a lot of times through the physical contact he had to play through—if that happened in today’s game, you’d be absolutely living at the free throw line.
“That’s why I have no doubt, if you dropped him in at his prime, in today’s game, he would average north of 40 points a game. He would be either living at the line or his variety of shots would just be too hard to handle. If fans watch the game footage closely, the amount of contact that was allowed then versus now, you’re going to be even more astounded at Jordan’s efficiency from a scoring perspective.”