Michael Jordan Wins ESPN's College Basketball's Greatest of All Time Bracket

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistApril 1, 2020

CHAPEL HILL, NC - 1983: Michael Jordan #23 of the North Carolina Tar Heels rests against the Clemson Tigers circa 1983 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1983 NBAE (Photo by Anthony Neste/NBAE via Getty Images)
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It came down to two of the biggest names in basketball history, but Michael Jordan edged Larry Bird to be named college basketball's Greatest of All Time by ESPN.  

A Twitter poll between the two players ended even at 50-50 with 37,090 votes. 

Fans had the opportunity to vote on Instagram, as well, the result of which must have swung Jordan's way.

ESPN put together a 64-person bracket of the best men and women ever to play the sport at the NCAA level, featuring big names as No. 1 seeds like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (then known as Lew Alcindor), Bill Walton, Christian Laettner and Breanna Stewart.

Fan voting created a lot of upsets, however, with none of those players reaching the Final Four.

No. 9 seed Shaquille O'Neal knocked off Abdul-Jabbar and eventually reached the semifinals, along with No. 2 Jordan, No. 3 Bird and No. 3 Magic Johnson.

Bird defeated Shaq with 64 percent of the vote to reach the finals, while Jordan got 62 percent of the vote to beat Johnson in the other semifinal.

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It created a showdown between two Hall of Famers who are better known for their NBA careers but were certainly impressive as college players.

Jordan is responsible for one of the best single moments in NCAA history with his game-winning shot to help North Carolina beat Georgetown for the 1982 national championship:

Though he was just a freshman at the time, his legend continued to grow over the next two seasons while becoming a two-time consensus All-American, winning the Wooden Award and Naismith Award in 1983-84 after averaging 19.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.

The eventual six-time NBA champion finished his college career with 1,788 points in just three seasons.

Bird was even more productive during his time at Indiana State, totaling 2,850 points in three years in the Missouri Valley Conference. He averaged 30.3 points per game over the course of his career, winning the Wooden Award and Naismith Award in 1978-79 while averaging 28.6 points, 14.9 rebounds and 5.5 assists.

During his final collegiate season, Bird led his squad to an undefeated regular season and a trip to the national finals before losing to Magic Johnson and Michigan State in a memorable battle:

Though he didn't win a title, he still proved he was one of the top individual talents in the sport's history.

The fans thought Jordan was better, however, naming the UNC star the greatest college basketball player of all time.