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Michael Jordan: 5 Reasons Why He’s Not The Greatest

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To many Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player that has ever played the game but to some he is just a guy that won 6 NBA Championships. I often find myself in heated debates over Jordan’s legacy. There is no hate for Jordan but I wonder, and am not afraid to ask that question that makes so many others mad. “What has he done that makes everyone label him the G.O.A.T.”?

It’s not me knocking Jordan but it’s more of a can you offer valid reasons why he is viewed the way he is? I can be totally off-base here and by the title of this article I’m pretty sure I have received a few cuss words and “he don’t know what he is talking about smirks” but my opinion is my opinion and I am entitled to it just like you are when Jordan’s name is brought up.

You believe he is the best and I believe otherwise. I have taken argumentative points from fans I have spoken with and complied their top 5 reasons why he is the greatest. I will list the 5 then offer my rebuttal on why he isn’t.

The Championships:

6 titles are nothing to laugh at. It means that your team was better than the rest of the NBA 6 times, that’s a huge number when also considering his Chicago Bulls won those 6 in two separate three-peats. But this is THE main reason people label MJ as the G.O.A.T. How? Is he the only player to win 6 championships? There are 9 other players in the history of the NBA with more rings. Maybe you heard of a few of them. Bill Russell, Robert Horry, Sam Jones, John Havlicek and a few more. In all fairness to Jordan some of the guys above him were role players, not team leaders like he was but when comparing titles how can Russell and Cousey not be mentioned before Jordan? It doesn’t matter if he won 6 straight, if you say he is the best due to titles but there are other players who played just as important leading roles as he did then he can’t be labeled the best for his 6.

His Competitive Drive:

This one always gets me when in a discussion. I guess Jordan was the ONLY player ever in the history of the NBA to have a strong drive. I always get the Flu Game in 1997 against the Utah Jazz. Yes it was memorable, and anyone that’s ever had the flu can recall the weakness that your boy goes through. Jordan managed to score 38 points and led the Bulls to victory but how is that considered G.O.A.T material?

I guess Isiah Thomas playing on a badly sprained ankle in Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers in 1988, scoring 43 point (24 in a quarter) has no substance? What about Willis Reed in the 1970 NBA Finals against the Lakers where he had torn a muscle in his leg in Game 5 but being this was Game 7 he had to play. He took a shot to dull the pain, but scored only 2 points.Still, he played with a torn muscle in his leg. The Flu, torn muscle or badly sprained ankle? Be serious here.

Scoring Ability

Jordan was a scorer, a 2 guard that loved to shoot. The same knock Kobe Bryant receives is the same praise they gave for Jordan. Go figure. Kobe is considered a ball-hog but in reality Jordan took more shots per game then he did throughout his career. Jordan was not a great three-point shooter, he did master his low-post moves later in his career but Jordan was more of a pull up from mid-range guy in his prime.

Here is the one that gets me, “If he didn’t retire he would be the all-time leading scorer”. That might be true, but guess what, he did retire, twice and he is NOT the NBA leading scorer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is. So there goes another one of your reasons down the drain. Doesn’t matter how someone tries to spin it, facts are facts and the stats don’t lie. Jordan took 23 shots per game to average 30 points for his career, plus another 7 free throw attempts. But players like Kobe are the ball-hogs. Do not say he was the greatest scorer when he left the game 6ooo+ points away from the record.

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His Moves

“Air Jordan” was his nickname for the way he flew when dunking. But was he the first to do that, not dunk but fly? Was Jordan not the one who said he grew up watching Dr.J and George Gervin take flight? Don’t get me wrong, Jordan had some unbelievable dunks in his career but to say he was better than Dr. J or Darryl Dawkins is absurd.

To be honest Vince Carter is hands down the greatest dunker to play in the NBA. And that play against the Lakers in the Finals where Jordan drove the lane as if he as going to dunk then switched to his left hand in mid-air for a layup, while spectacular as Marv Albert called it, it wasn’t as great as one may think. Watch it again and see how many defenders were in his way

Nnow look at Dr. J going behind the backboard in mid-air for a layup, using the backboard as a shield from the defender. Jordan was not the best dribbler or passer, but he has been hailed as such from numerous people. He did have great moves but his moves were done before he did them, the same way we speak about Kobe or LeBron as they imitated Jordan, Jordan imitated others. How is that seen as the greatest?


This is not me being petty, its me proving a point. A large majority of you reading this I have never met, in person or through social media so we have never discussed what makes Jordan great, but as I said in the beginning, these are statements that I get when arguing with family members, friends or people I deal with on a daily basis through social media.

What’s one of the biggest knocks we give our current superstars? They cannot win it by themselves. Here is a question? Did Phil Jackson make Jordan a winner or did Jordan make Phil a winner? Could Brett Brown of the Philadelphia 76ers won 6 titles with those Bulls teams?

Since we like to knock LeBron for his talented teammates when he couldn’t win it on his own lets take a brief look at Jordan’s help. Jordan didn’t win a thing before Scottie Pippen came along. His second tour with the Bulls, the team was a little different then. Jordan still had Scottie, but along came one of the best defensive players in NBA history in Dennis Rodman but it didn’t end there. Many forget how great Toni Kukoc was. Kukoc was the┬ánumber one player in Europe before coming to the NBA. That team was loaded, but those facts tend to go unnoticed. Jordan was part of a big 3, hell he was part of a big 4.


I’m not taking away what he did for the game of basketball. I’m just giving my argument on why he is not the greatest to play in the NBA. My father’s generation will say Russell or Chamberlain, while my generation will say Jordan and my kids generation will say James. But with Jordan, he became the face of the league, the one. His merchandise soared out of the stores and his face was plastered everywhere you turned, TV, radio and billboards. He was a great brand, which in turn made him more watchable, which also I believe has led many to believe he was the greatest. He was shoved in our faces that most were forced to like him without really studying him.

Is he the greatest? Yes he was, but only in his era.

You have your opinion and I have mine.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com