When did Jordan become the NBA's greatest?
When did Michael Jordan became the best basketball player ever in the minds of the fans? This question is for older users I suppose because I was little for most of his career. Was it after his first title? His first retirement? Second retirement? Somehwere in between? I'm just curious as to at which point did Jordan go from best in the NBA to best ever and had his legacy cemented.
but at 24 goin on 25 in sept i wasn't even born when he FIRST got in the nba.....i was born in 1987.....but even being a little boy throught the 90's I can remember it was close to the end of his career but while he was still playing that he wais coined the greatest ever.......atleast to my young memory at the time....
Thanks for the response. From what I remember when I started paying attention to basketball he was already the GOAT and that was early 2000's.
I started watching around 91 became a die hard fan in 92. Honestly I dont remember him ever not being considered the best. At that time it was considered that watching mj u were watching the greatest player ever with how he put everything together and could do it all. Most guards kinda had their strengths and weaknesses like shooting but couldn't dribble or maybe couldn't postup or lock guys up. Jordan changed the mold. He evolutionized the fact a guy could do it all. There were some very legit other guys like Barkley, Olajuwon and Malone who in my opinion legitamtel won their mvps' over mj. But Jordan was the gold standard. It was cool because even though there was way less games on tv back then and no week day national games and no league pass etc..., I've always had the wgn Chicago channel so I got to the bulls a lot.
That's interesting to hear that he considered the best that early. When is it ok to judge current players legacies then, such as LeBron, Melo, Wade? Once they past their primes? When they retire? Now?
Having watched a bunch of old documentaries about Jordan, a lot of the comments were that before his first title he was considered one of the best in the history of the game, but not the GOAT. He was already considered the GOAT by many after his first retirement, but coming back and winning a second three-peat cemented it in the minds of the rest.
Jordan raised the bar pretty high. Not only by being great, but by winning rings and te fact he was the first major player in the marketing game. He transcended the game. I mean Nike and Gatorade used Jordan to show that basketball was so marketable. His legacy is very tough to reach and even if guys approach it I do think there is an old mans "back in my day" thing going on where Jordan came first so u have to achieve a whole lot to be put on mj's level since he came first. Im not trying to knock mj as I have said he is the goat, but there is a sense of remembering the past more favorably while today's guys are constantly getting picked apart with literally 1000x more media coverage and scrutiny then just 20 years ago.
He was damn near it. After he retired the first time, even after only a nine year career, he was considered by most the GOAT. Think about this:
after 7 years in the league:
Regular season: 32.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 5.9 apg, 2.8 spg, 1.1 bpg (While shooting 52% FG and 84.9% FT)
Play-offs: 34.6 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 7.1 apg, 2.5 spg, 1.1 bpg (50.9%, 83.5%)
So, if he was not there after his first ring, he was pretty close. By his first retirement, it was a VERY well established theory of his being the ultimate combination of individual accomplishment mixed with team success. He was 2.2 ppg ahead of Wilt Chamberlain for All-Time points per game, had won 3 MVP's (could have easily won 5-6, if you have ever read my blurb on who probably should have taken home the MVP in most given years), even won DPOY in 1987-88 and had of course won 3 titles (remember, talking about his retirement, but, after his first title people were starting to believe he might be the best ever).
Michael never averaged less than 29 ppg over a play-off season (his rookie season was the only season he averaged less than 30). One could argue Wilt Chamberlain had a more impressive first 7 seasons statistically, but he did not win a ring until his 8th, when he finally had lost the scoring title. Mike had won 5 of those in a row and was the only player other than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to average over 30 ppg in the same season his team won a title.
Guess what I am trying to get across was that Michael was an incredibly special and rare player. Most other great players needed other All-Time greats to get a title, few did so with the incredible individual dominance seen from Michael Jordan. I think from a skill set standpoint that Kobe Bryant has probably been the most similar, but Michael Jordan's first 7-9 years were maybe the most special the league has ever seen. Definitely special enough for him to be considered as the probable best player of All-Time, definitely after his first retirement in 1992-93.
The thing is, now adays with Bron or Kobe, were comparing everyone to Mike. When Mike was coming up, there was no one before him that was even close to his plateau. Undoubtably in the 80s, before he won championships, it was obvious he was the most talented he had ever seen.
I think it was around 1986 to 1988. When he almost single handedly defeated Bird and Magic, the two great pioneers of the game, with there hall fame supporting cast.
There were a few guys who were close jump off points to Mike. Julius Erving comes to mind, don't think people were probably not calling Mike a semi-swagger jacker. You had Elgin Baylor (who was a different type of player, but incredibly explosive athlete with a semi-similar build to Mike), Oscar Robertson (a guard who could score plus do everything else), Jerry West (nicknamed "Mr. Clutch" and a tremendous scoring guard), George Gervin (who played with Mike early on) and Bernard King (who was an absolute monster and the leagues leading scorer in Mike's rookie year I believe, just had some issues and injuries).
Sure there were others, but one who also comes to mind is the player who inducted MJ into the HOF, David Thompson. He went to NC State and was a major influence for Michael, not to mention a major winner in the ABA before also having a great NBA career. There may not have been as good as Mike, but he had a lot of other excellent careers to live up to as well. The thing is, his is just flat out better than everyone else's. Honestly, there has never been a player who was so much better than everyone he was playing with for as long as Michael Jordan was. Including Kobe and more than likely including LeBron.
June 3, 1992
I am not a MJ fan but the thing is the stuff we complain about today players, we could never complain about MJ. He had a compulsion to be the best player ever and in many people's eye, he is that. The thing is there are better stat guys and more athletic players but MJ for most of the 90's and early 2000 was mad clutch. He got away with a lot of stuff that other players can't though. He would get mad at teammates like Kobe for not passing the ball or missing a shot. He gave the finger and chew out refs. You could not breath on him without it being a foul sometimes. I say this but the NBA was more physical back in the day and team since they could not stop Jordan would just beat him up to wear him down. Remember the Knicks, Heat, Pistons.
The (Jordan Rules) pistons also others team would channel him towards the middle and try to take his head off time after time. The NBA had to take action creating the Flagrant Foul. He revolutionize the game now everyone is able score. He made the nba create a rule because he was so good, and not because he was doing something under handed like Iverson carrying the ball.
"The thing is there are better stat guys and more athletic players but MJ for most of the 90's and early 2000 was mad clutch."
Can you name these players that had better stats and that were more athletic than Jordan coz I sure as hell don't know who you are talking about.
I saw Jordan at UNC, so I saw his entire NBA career. I am trying to remember, but from what I recall, after Jordan scored 63 points on Boston when he returned from the broken foot....that was when the general public at least if not the consensus of players considered him the most talented definitely...and there was a wide view that he was the best. We are talking in the league. Before this time it was widely considered that Bird was the league's best. After that game, Bird called MJ, "God in disguise"
After he won his 3rd title he was widely considered the GOAT.
That 1st full year he came back after retirement from baseball, I remember thinking to myself not only was he the GOAT, but that we would never see another player like that...at least not in my lifetime.
"He got away with a lot of stuff that other players can't though. He would get mad at teammates like Kobe for not passing the ball or missing a shot. He gave the finger and chew out refs. You could not breath on him without it being a foul sometimes."
This I agree with. At the same time, when he first got in the league, he wasnt afforded that luxury and officials were actually biased AGAINST him. Only when they realized that he was the best player in the league did he start to get those calls.
"The thing is there are better stat guys and more athletic players but MJ for most of the 90's and early 2000 was mad clutch."
This is the part where you lost me at. Were there more athletic players than Jordan? Yes, but at the moment I can only immediately recall one, that was Dominique.....and he wasnt a better stat guy. The better stat guys....I am not sure on that one since he came in the league avg 28ppg. Yes, Bernard King avg more points in a season, but if you are talking overall stats? Once again, forgive me but only one player comes to mind immediately....and that was Bird.
So, Dominque was more athletic but not a better stat guy. Bird was a better stat guy but not more athletic. Jordan was the most complete in terms of athleticism, stats, etc....nearly the entire time he was in league.
MJ became the best NBA player after his 2nd title in 92. He was already loved for his dunks and beating Lakers in 91 helped in media exposure. Repeating just made it better
He became the GOAT when he retired and came back. He took 2 years off and developed his jumper and fade away to an extreme that he added another weapon from his slashing to his shooting. He was the best at everything.
There is a common arguement of MJ vs Wilt. Alot of people, Jerry West included side with MJ cuz MJ never lost in a big game or shied away from a 4th quarter championship game like Wilt did, which irks Jerry West to this day. They did have to change rules for Wilt but Jordan just busted people in the mouth
when Jeff Van Gundy refered to MJ as a snake. The next time they played he dropped 51 points in MSG. Very rarely did people talk about Jordan for fear he would drop 50. Take last year, the Mavs Jason Terry said LeBron checked out mentally in the 4th quarter. Someone else said LeBron couldnt defend him an entire 4 quarters. you would never EVER think about saying that about Jordan cuz you knew that just gave him motivation and why would you want to motivate him even more
I started watching NBA in the early 90's and I remember it almost being a unanamous decision made by everybody. You even had Magic Johnson saying things like "There's God, and then there's Michael Jordan."
Everyone knew he was the best, they still wanted to beat him and the Bulls, but even other players acted as if it was common knowledge that he was the GOAT.
@JoeWolf1; I'm pretty sure the quote from Magic Johnson goes "There's Michael Jordan, and then there's everybody else".
Also, Bird's quote was "That was God disguised as Michael Jordan".
What makes me sad is that so many kids today have no idea just how brilliant Michael Jordan was, and how silly it is to put Lebron James on that level at this point.
People are starting to forget now, who knows how bad it'll get in another 10 years.
That's right, I got the two quotes jumbled into one. Thanks
MJ was your favorite player's favorite player.
Magic and Larry are both top five players of all-time and for them to say that about MJ just pretty much sums it up.
As great as today's players are, I don't get that same feel I used to get when I watched MJ. The younger generation gets upset when people are quick to dismiss LeBron from MJ's class, but I just don't think it's close.
Alot of people said Jordan was among the top 3 players in the League after his rookie year..But nobody wanted to say he was better than Magic,Bird or Dr. J...For some reason the so called experts and some players felt that he wasnt as good as he Seemed..It was like they were waiting to see if he would fail..Not that that didnt like him..Even though there were some players were jealous of the attention and all of the endorsements he was receiving..It was that almost everyone thouht he was just a Flash in the Pan..
Even Charles Barkley has stated that he didnt realize how good Jordan was until the 90's...Competing against Magic and the Lakers in thr 1991 Finals was Sought of like the passing of the Torch and he Finally got the respect he should've gotten years earlier..But to me,it seemed like he didn't get the Greatest of All Time Tag until the Bulls won their 3rd Title....
Before Jordan the debate for GOAT was between Russell and Wilt. You were never going to get the Russell people to acknowledge Jordan until he won his second championship. I think at that point you had the rings, the stats, and then domination on both sides of the floor. I think at that point the Russell folks started getting won over. Russell also didn't dominate on offense, so that hurt his case a bit.
Wilt also dominated at both sides, so I think it took a few more championships to convince those folks. Remember Wilt averaged 50 points a game and this is frankly with the refs very biased against him. The refs knew they had to keep him on a short leash or else no one in the league could guard him. The stuff that Shaq later did with power moves through the defender, Wilt would never have been allowed to do. But once Jordan had three championships and a team that clearly could just keep winning more, I think at that point the Wilt supporters gave up. When Jordan came back and won again, it was unequivocal that he was the GOAT.
If my memory serves, Jordan was the best player in the league from about 88 on, then he was considered the best from 91 on - before that most said Magic. After his first retirement he was generally acknowledged as in the discussion for GOAT, but there were questions until 72-10 at which point everyone just kind of accepted it.
Yeah, Magic was getting some credit as the GOAT, but really his defensive limitations made him never really seem to be on the same level as Wilt or Russell, at least to me.
I think he cemented it when he came back from retirement. To leave the game for 2 years and them come back and win 3 more championships in a row, is when you think about it unbelieveable. It made you realize has he not left they most likely would have won 8 championships in the modern area. I mean think about that 8 in a row thats is crazy. He still left the second time with gas in the tank maybe even nine was possible. He proved himself to be one of the best WINNERS in sports history.
In every championship run you never felt like anyone could beat them. Whether he was sick, they were down 10 with 2 min left whatever it was as Bulls fan it was 'Michael will find a way'. That is wht seperates him from everyone else. He was actually bigger than the game, as good as Kobe and Lebron are they never attained that level.