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am 23. April 2000
I have mixed feelings about Michael Jordan. On the one hand, he is a great athlete. I respect his work ethic. He has turned in a number of great performances and is no doubt one of the greatest to have ever played the game of basketball.
There is a flipside. Michael Jordan got all kinds of special treatment while he was in the NBA. He was the first player I noticed who was granted all kinds of trips to the charity stripe because of unbelievably, ticky tack calls. He scored at least ten points a game at the free throw line from bogus calls. It was great when there was a picture session for 'greats of the game' with Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jordan. Magic told Larry not to stand too close to Michael or they might call a foul. In front of reporters and television viewers, that was a classic comment by Magic. I believe Mike got 99% of all calls in his favor because he was such a cash cow for the NBA. Dominique Wilkins was robbed of a slam dunk championship when Mike scored a perfect 50 doing the same dunk Dr. J did years before. I doubt Dr. J ever received a perfect 50 for it. Dominique's dunk was much more impressive, and he received a 49.5. Please. Mike got in a fight with Reggie Miller, and only Miller got suspended at first. Only after there was an outcry did Mike get suspended. How are Mike's punches different? Mike elbowed Kevin Johnson to the ground for all to see, and Kevin was called for blocking!
I am not too impressed that the bulls beat the lakers in the NBA finals. Magic was double teamed every game every minute he was in. On top of that, James Worthy and Byron Scott were injured. Magic and Larry never won three championships in a row because the competition, teams, and players in the 80s were much better than the nineties. Luc Longley, Will Perdue, Bill Cartwright, or Bill Wennington stopping Kareem? Ha!
Sport Magazine recently had a piece on the ten greatest moments and ten greatest players ever in the NBA. Mike was ranked number one all time player. Kudos to Mike for mentioning in 'For the love of the game' that to pick a "greatest ever" is impossible because of all the different eras and evolutions of basketball. The nineties bulls were given three of the ten greatest moments in NBA history. This is just more Mike bias. Give me a break. There are hundreds of classic and amazing moments in NBA history. One of the moments picked was Mike beating the Jazz in the final minutes of his last game. He put his hand on Bryon Russel's backside and shoved him out of the way. Then Mike made the game winnig shot. All eyes were on Mike, but the ref did not make the obvious call.
There is also Mike's arrogance. According to him, Wilt Chamberlain was a fluke eventhough Wilt was a great all around player. He made a comment about Magic and Larry reaching a 'certain level of greatness' and that the two were not good on defense. What? Are we talking about the same Larry Bird? Shaquille Oneal is also much better and much improved than Mike gives him credit for. Shaq has turned into a solid defender, passer, and he works hard at both ends of the floor.
Mike's corporate poster boy behavior is laughable. He did ads for AT&T and then MCI. The Wayans family is also split between the two companies. Mike talked about the enviroment in Rayovac ads and then pitches hot dogs? Mike is not the only athlete who will pitch anything and everything to make millions. I wonder if Mike has checked into Nike's labor practices.
Players like Mike and Charles Barkley soured me on the NBA. Charles played like a thug and got away with it because he was a star. Plus, Charles insisted on wearing number 34 at Philadelphia eventhough it was retired for NBA great Billy Cunningham. The star treatment and inflated egos has grown old, and that has turned a lot of people off to sports. I miss the Lakers and Celtics match ups of the 1980s.