Why Chicago Bulls Star Michael Jordan Is Not the Greatest NBA Player of All Time
The title gives it away, right?
Wrong. I'm sure that many people will glance at this title and rush to the article just to badger its standpoint, but I encourage every reader to glance through the slides.
Before you read these reasons, I'd like you to take a few things into account:
1. In no way is the article suggesting that Michael Jordan is not deserving of his fame. He is surely a legitimate member in the Hall of Fame, and he deserves the utmost respect as among the all-time greats.
2. In no way is the article recommending another available candidate; it simply questions Jordan's stranglehold on the title.
Thank you, and enjoy the read.
What NBA Records Does Jordan Actually Hold?
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For many people, Jordan is undoubtedly the single-most significant player in the history of basketball, and possibly the history of sports.
What has he done that's so improbably significant?
What records does the highly appraised No. 23 hold above anyone else?
He doesn't have the most all-time points. He doesn't have the most all-time minutes. He definitely doesn't have anywhere near the most rebounds or assists.
Jordan is, however, No. 1 all-time in points per game. While this is prestigious, it still must be taken into account that Wilt Chamberlain finished only a fraction of a point behind him; clearly, Wilt wasn't far behind, and he was definitely ahead of Jordan in nearly every other statistic category.
The most common compelling argument that puts Jordan ahead of the rest is the six rings he has. Even this record isn't No. 1 on the list—in fact, it's tied for 10th all-time.
Jordan still is an incredible player. However, has he truly done enough to cement his place as the greatest basketball player that ever lived? He was a hard worker. No one can argue that. But he wasn't the hardest.
How can someone be the greatest while holding so few of basketball's top records?
He Didn't Do It Alone
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The top argument in Jordan's defense must be his lack of a supporting cast.
Kareem had Magic, Kobe had Shaq, Bird had Parish, West had Baylor, Stockton had Malone—the list goes on.
However, did Jordan really lack a supporting cast? Scottie Pippen gets credit as a supporting limb to the Bulls dynasty in the '90s; in reality, though, the man was much more than that to the team. In his career, Pippen was the NBA's top defensive player; his two steals per game was the highest career average by a forward.
While Pippen's stats weren't incredible, they were extremely well balanced for a guy who always took the second seat to the team's real star. He posted 16.1 points per game, 6.4 rebounds per game, 5.2 assists per game and a phenomenal two steals per game.
Let's not forget Steve Kerr, the lights-out shooter that complicated any defensive scheme geared at simply shutting down Jordan. His career three-point shooting percentage of 45.4 percent still stands as the highest in NBA history.
The biggest catalyst in Jordan's second three-peat was superstar Dennis Rodman. Considered the strangest player on the court, he was the best rebounder in the league for seven consecutive seasons (including the three seasons he played for Chicago).
While his 7.3 points per game weren't outstanding, his career average of 13.1 rebounds per game earned him an induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
So Michael Jordan wasn't alone during his six championship wins—he had two Hall of Famers, and one of the purest shooters to ever play the game, backing him up.
Numbers Aren't Everything
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When we think of sports and how to evaluate players, statistics typically come before anything else. If a player leads the league in points per game, he's automatically in the discussion as one of the top-tier players. The same is true for any other statistical category.
However, those stats aren't everything.
Once a player reaches the ultimate honor, the "Greatest Ever" group, in addition to his numbers, his character faces evaluation.
Michael Jordan was never regarded as the most composed player on the court. In fact, many players (including his own teammates) admittedly refer to him as a display of poor character.
Numerous incidents defined the star as an arrogant, pompous and selfish person; many people argue that this was the reason he was so successful, but countless players have had success without these character defects.
The first of these incidents came when Jordan decided to retire following the 1993 season. He claimed to have lost the desire to continue playing the sport. The idea that a player known for his fire and passion, a player who was just entering his prime, would give up sounded unreasonable.
Many conspiracy theories surround the fact that Jordan was a frequent gambler and had ties to gambling on sports, which is illegal as a professional sports player. It's definitely plausible to believe that he had been suspended by the NBA and then granted the opportunity to call his suspension a "retirement" to avoid losing the influence he had on the country.
Another well-covered event was the fight between Reggie Miller and Jordan, an extreme lack of composure from Jordan. While Miller has always been known to taunt and ridicule, a man with the entire world looking up to him probably should've thought twice before attempting to claw his opponent's eyes out.
And the final significant flair of a career riddled with such actions was his retirement speech. In the span of just a few minutes, Jordan reminded the world that he was a heartless, careless sports figure. He ridiculed numerous old friends, including his own brother, and destroyed whatever dignity NBA fans held for him as a person.
How can a man considered the greatest player of all time stoop so low?
If He Isn't No. 1...Who Is?
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So, after all of this, what do we have?
We have a phenomenal athlete, a proven winner and a fighter.
But do we have the greatest player of all time?
It's your call.
I said I wouldn't put forth any suggestions, so I'll leave it up to you to decide. Post who you think the greatest player of all time is in the comments, and I'll tell you what I think of it. Feel free to put Jordan, if that's what you believe.