Interesting reports came out earlier this week that Michael Jordan had been occasionally taking the practice floor to add some fire to the listless Charlotte Bobcats' sessions. Jordan immediately denied any rumors he was working his way back into shape to make yet another comeback to the NBA at 48 years of age.
And you have to believe him; why would he possibly want to face the grind of the NBA game at his age?
But then again, why wouldn't he?
He is Michael Jordan, after all. Never one to back down from a challenge or a chance to add more legitimacy to his already legendary ego.
Could Michael Jordan contribute off-the-bench for an NBA team at age 48? Without a doubt.
Here are a few reasons why:
He's Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan at 60 percent is at least as good as a mid-level, bench contributor in today's NBA. The seventh or eighth man on an NBA roster was an outstanding player in college but is missing a skill that prevents them from playing more significant minutes.
Maybe they aren't a great athlete, don't have a dependable jumper or play poor defense.
We all know these were skills Jordan had in spades, and even if his skills were at 60 percent of what they were, I would feel comfortable as an NBA coach looking down the bench and knowing if I needed the game's best player for 10-15 minutes a night, he is available.
Could Michael Jordan Contribute to an NBA team at 48?
Jordan's Competitive Spirit is Contagious
Not all of Michael Jordan's teammates were big fans of his personality, which was often characterized as abrasive and demanding, but make no mistake, these same teammates would tell you with few exceptions these same attributes are what made him one of the game's greatest leaders.
His uncanny ability to rise to challenges and his competition helped Jordan to succeed in pressure-packed situations far more often than he failed.
What struggling NBA team wouldn't want some of this competitive fire in the locker room to serve as an example of what can be done through hard work and determination?
If Michael Jordan could contribute to a team's success at 48, what excuse could a 24-year-old in the prime of their career possibly have to not step their game up?
Teaching Moments Galore
Ask any NBA player after whom they patterned their game, and you'll hear "Michael Jordan" over and over again.
It's one thing to marvel at Jordan on tape and try to copy some of the unstoppable moves that made him the game's greatest offensive talent. What if young players were able to learn from this hands-on and every day in practice, even if it was just for a single playoff run?
The benefit would be unmeasurable for younger players, even veterans, if they were willing to listen and watch Jordan lead by example.
Will Michael Jordan ever play in the NBA again? Probably not.
Is there a GM out there who is considering adding him to their roster for a playoff run after this week's news he has been practicing with the Bobcats and can still hang?