Turning 50 years old is oftentimes cause for nostalgia—especially for someone as accomplished as Michael Jordan.
But with Jordan's 50th birthday resulting in rampant comparisons between MJ and today's NBA greats—particularly LeBron James— there have been some who have openly wondered what the former Bulls star could do in today's game.
Legendary NBA trainer Tim Grover may have come through with the loftiest prediction yet. Grover, who worked with Jordan throughout his career, appeared on WFNZ in Charlotte on Tuesday and theorized that No. 23 could still average 20 points per game (transcription by Eric Schmoldt via Sports Radio Interviews):
He'd average 20. Yeah, he'd average 20. … Listen, would he be able to go out and get through an 82-game season? One thing people also [forget], he had no major injuries. … But yes, Father Time is undefeated. But again, there's so much advancement out there … in anti-aging and so forth, so it is possible. I don't think that he would come back unless he was 100 percent ready.”
Laugh if you want, but Grover is not alone. Los Angeles Lakers forward Antawn Jamison ventured to say Jordan could still average "10 or 11" points per game if he returned at age 50.
The question, of course, starts with desire. We know from ESPN senior writer Wright Thompson's brilliant profile on Jordan that he still religiously follows the game. And we also know that he's still good enough to defeat Bobcats rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at a game of one-on-one.
How many points per game would Michael Jordan average in today's NBA?
But there are a multitude of other reasons to take Grover's quote with a grain of salt. First of all, as Grover points out, Father Time is undefeated. Jordan is 50 years old, and as Thompson's profile mentioned, his weight has fluctuated to around 260 pounds in recent years—over 40 pounds more than his playing weight of 218.
It should also be noted that 20 points per game is exactly what Jordan averaged in his last season with the Washington Wizards. That season, 2002-03, was a decade ago. To expect Jordan to hit those lofty heights 10 years later puts him far beyond the walking-deity status already bestowed upon the greatest player who ever lived.
Barring something completely unforeseen, Jordan won't be donning a Bobcats uniform anytime soon. So this story and many others like it will probably have to be filed under the "what if" category from now until eternity.