By Bryan Jeon
Michael Jordan is hands-down the greatest player ever to play in the NBA. He was someone we all could look up to and played with such style and poise no one could hate him. He deservingly won multiple championships, MVP’s, numerous other awards and rewrote the record books. I loved the guy myself, being able to watch him on TV, as he played in our generation. We will never forget the memories of his postseason buzzer beaters and high-flying dunks he provided for us. I never had a problem with the guy. That held true until right around All-Star Weekend ’07 in Las Vegas.
Things all went downhill from there. Jordan, being one of 5 former dunk contest winners as judge, had the great honor of using scorecards to show how much he liked the dunks from this year’s Slam Dunk contestants. Throughout the entire contest up until Gerald Green’s perfect 50 on his last dunk, Jordan never raised that nice, yellow and blue ‘10’ card that he certainly was capable of holding. Instead, he opted for a very negatively, red ‘8’ card he frequently used throughout the contest while the other four judges consistently gave 9’s and some 10’s. Something in my mind was telling me Jordan was thinking all the dunks were mediocre compared to his liftoff from the free throw line. He was not impressed at all, and that was unfortunate because there still was a handful of creative and powerful dunks thrown down to make up for the lack of big names in the lineup.
Then, there followed the barrage of best dunker propositions. During the Slam-Dunk contest, there was a text message voting on best in-game dunk with four options. Jordan was a clear winner here at 44%, with his memorable jam in the playoffs over Patrick Ewing. On the contrary, based on the clips they showed I couldn’t help but to wonder how Julius Erving’s rock-the-cradle dunk came in last at 12%. Not to downplay Jordan’s epic dunk nor to persuade everyone to believe Erving’s dunk was the outright best in-game dunk, but give Dr. J some love here. That move was so graceful and sweeter than anything I’ve ever seen, I’m positive over half of the fans who voted couldn’t mimic Erving’s dunk with a real basketball on a Fisher Price set.
So I guess it is with the help of SportsNation (the general population of the U.S. who is involved in the voting for ESPN) and ESPN analysts themselves boosting Jordan’s ego, as I caught a playing of “Who’s No. 1?” on ESPN Classic last night. Not to my amazement, MJ was picked as the best dunker ever. Let me reiterate that MJ is the best player ever, but the best dunker ever as well? Seems a little coincidental. And watching those clips of MJ wagging his index finger after dunking over opponents put a new light on the fact that he thought better than others while he was still playing. How could we miss the huge significance in these actions? I always thought the world of MJ and knew why no one hated him – he was flat out classy. He would never talk bad about any individual player (which I am beginning to doubt now), and I would always put him in the group with Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and a select few of just good all-around players in that regard. All this venting makes me so mad I almost want to call him the ‘n’ word. Michael Jordan is a narcissist. There I said it.
I hope Jordan follows in the trails of Scottie Pippen only to get burned in action with his slow steps, chipping away at his own legend. Did I mention Jordan was the best player ever and that I love him?