The Last Dance; Why We Love MJ

The triumphant ten part docu-series, “The Last Dance” concluded last night and it solidified what I already knew, Michael Jordan is the greatest competitor, basketball player and athlete of all time. Michael Jeffrey Jordan transcended sports and on the court he won six NBA titles in eight season, two three peats and six NBA finals MVP awards.

Jordan’s will to win and his competitive drive is unmatched, he willed teams to victory, he made everyone accountable, he respected and trusted his teammates and he was a must watch anytime he stepped foot on the court.

I have been dying on the same hill for years, Jordan is definitively the greatest basketball player of all time, the debate of who is better between Jordan and Lebron is laugh out loud funny. It shouldn’t even be a debate, is Lebron the most dominate player that I have seen since Shaq? Yes. Is he fun to watch? Yes. There is no disputing that, he is a phenomenal talent but he is no MJ, not on the court, not off the court and as much as he wants to portray himself as the greatest of all time, or attempt to convey a persona that he thinks embodies MJ, he is a far cry from what Michael Jordan was.

Watching this documentary, I was reminded of just how dominant Jordan was, he became great because he had to overcome some of the greatest teams in NBA history. He squared up against Larry and the Celtics, The Bad Boys Pistons, Magic and the Lakers and those battles turned him into the man we saw in 1998, shaking off Byron Russell and drilling the most iconic shot of his career.

As I am writing this, I have the ESPN show “Around The Horn” on the background. I am going to be honest, the reporters and talking heads that are bad mouthing Jordan for being “too mean” “too harsh” make me want to puke. The world has changed significantly since Jordan has played, I understand that, call me old school but the PC culture that has now extended their poisoned arm into the world of sports is laughable. Jordan was determined to win and sometimes, you can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs and all of Jordan’s teammates have some complaints about him but at the end of the day, Jordan’s attitude and tough love is what turned them into champions, not once, not twice, not three times….. but SIX times.

Let me remind you all that Lebron James and the super team Miami Heat consisting of Bosh and Wade only won two out of four championships. Not to mention, Lebron lost to the Dallas Mavericks in six games. That Mavericks team was undoubtedly the worst team to win an NBA championship in my lifetime and maybe ever. He beat a young OKC team and a Spurs team because of a fluke rebound and kick-out that came off of Lebron’s grotesque shot attempt to win the game. The following year, the spurs with three aging stars took down the Heat. I have said for years that Lebron’s only true NBA title came against the Thunder, the title he won with the Cavs was a product of a Draymond Green suspension and smelled an awful lot like the sticky finger pong ball that sent Ewing to the Knicks.

Off the court, MJ is iconic, the shoes, the commercials, Space Jam, it is all remarkable, he defined logic and created the greatest brand in the history of sports. Many have tried to emulate Jordan in these categories and all of them have fallen short. If you were a child of the 90’s, you know the thrill of waiting in line at Foot Locker or Finish Line and getting the new Jordan kicks, one of the best thrills of all-time.

I don’t like to disparage the deceased on this blog but we need to talk about the ego of Jerry Krause, the former Bulls General Manager. Yes, he deserves credit for constructing one of the greatest dynasties of all time but he is responsible for prematurely ending this reign of terror that the MJ led bulls put forth on the NBA. I believe that if the Bulls stayed in tact following the 98 season, Jordan would have played for four more seasons with Chicago and would have won at least two more titles. They showed no signs of slowing down and the documentary confirmed that all of them would have come back for one year deals to continue the dynasty and at least chase their seventh championship. What might have been an even greater end to a remarkable story.