Michael Jordan's public perception might be different today than it was in his prime.
When you want to know something about the NBA—or anything else, for that matter—where do you turn?
If you said Google, you’re not alone.
According to Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land, Google is the “world’s most popular search engine by far.” In this day and age of instant knowledge, we crave swift responses, which is why the website has developed a system to help you find what you’re looking for.
The Autocomplete function of Google helps users find search terms based on what is most popular. For NBA fans, it provides a whole new level of entertainment when it comes to researching your favorite league.
Type in a general phrase, and the search engine gives you suggestions based on frequently queried topics containing those words. Learning about the NBA can be taxing at times, but seeing what people are discussing has become as simple as ever.
The NBA Is…
Have you ever wondered exactly what the NBA is? Google lets us know, and it’s not the most optimistic viewpoint.
The first result that pops up says, “The NBA is fixed.” Conspiracy theorists exist everywhere, and professional basketball is no exception. Tim Donaghy’s referee scandal certainly didn’t help in 2007, and it has to be a big reason that the search engine also popped up with, “The NBA is fake.”
The second prediction from Google is that the NBA is boring. My question has to be, has Google ever watched professional basketball? I’m betting not, as it’s clearly disregarding the instant classics we’ve seen in 2012-13 alone.
The perception of the Association isn’t always the most positive, but as fans, we’ve learned to ignore the naysayers and have continued following the game we all love.
The NBA is not a perfect product. Everybody seemingly has their own opinion on how to make it better, but the trendiest choice, according to Google, is shortening the length of the regular season.
Between late October and mid-April, the NBA plays 82 games. Fewer contests could result in fewer injuries, and less fatigue could create more intense late-season competition.
As a fan, you have to decide if adding quality to the product is worth shortening the duration.
George Karl, head coach of the Denver Nuggets, told NBA.com’s Steve Aschburner that he liked the idea of starting the season on Christmas Day, as the league opted to do in 2011.
But the most controversial suggestion has to be contraction. Eliminating how many teams play in the Association would rip squads away from deserving cities, yet it would vastly improve the talent on every remaining roster.
Whether contraction would be a viable option is for each individual to decide, but chances are, we haven’t heard the last of this ongoing debate.
Best Fans in the NBA…
During the 2012 offseason, Bleacher Report’s own Dave Leonardis gave us his analysis on the 10 best fanbases. This is a subjective debate, to say the least, but Google has provided two teams at the top of its list.
The Oklahoma City Thunder and the Golden State Warriors have two of the most exciting arenas in all of basketball. They’ve both performed extremely well at home during 2012-13, and they’re both ramping up for a run in the postseason.
While Golden State has had a well-established fanbase for a while, OKC is relatively new to the discussion. It received a taste of the NBA life when the New Orleans Hornets temporarily made the city home, and it’s still in the honeymoon stages with the Thunder following the franchise's move from Seattle.
There are, of course, many more teams worth mentioning in this category, but Oklahoma City and Golden State are well-deserving of their recognition at this juncture.
Michael Jordan Is…
The NBA is a league that is infatuated with Michael Jordan. The guy is viewed as the greatest of all time in the eyes of many, and he’s the archetype of success to which today’s superstars are constantly compared.
That being said, he played during a time before social media ruled the world, and his public persona could have been portrayed much differently had his career been shifted just a few years later.
Players such as LeBron James are criticized for their off-the-court actions and personalities more than ever. If Jordan were playing today, he'd undoubtedly be among the most scrutinized players.
With the Internet acting as a forum for all to speak their minds, Jordan’s character has been questioned, and underneath the charisma, he may not be the fan favorite we once knew him to be.
Despite the negative outlook on the legendary 2-guard, Google proves that he’s still on the forefront of many fans’ minds. “Michael Jordan is back” is on the list of predicted searches, as it’s clear fans are intrigued by the thought of the 50-year-old someday lacing them up for yet another NBA return.
Do all fans want to see this happen? Not a chance. A debacle of a comeback would be hard to watch for his biggest fans. However, if he came back and succeeded—whatever you consider success to be—it would be one of the biggest stories in sports history.
The Association is a star-driven league, and there’s no bigger star than No. 23. It doesn’t matter what age he is; if he's hanging around NBA arenas, he's always going to be a focal point of discussion.