Michael Jordan provides perspective on success

Michael Jordan Provides Perspective on Success

Michael Jordan is often looked upon as the picture of success, and rightly so.  Consider just a handful of Jordan’s achievements during his NBA career:

  • NBA Championship: 6 times
  • NBA Most Valuable Player: 5 times
  • NBA Steals Leader: 3 times
  • NBA All-Star: 11 times
  • NBA Slam Dunk Contest Winner: 2 times
  • Scored 30 or more points in a game: 672 times
  • Recorded 241 double-doubles
  • Named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year in 1991
  • Ranked #1 in Top 75 Players of All-time by SLAM Magazine
  • Ranked #1 in Top 100 Athletes of the 20th Century by ESPN

Michael Jordan also holds over 70 NBA records, including,

  • NBA Record for Most Seasons as Scoring Leader: 10 seasons
  • NBA Record for scoring 30+ points in a regular season game: 561 games
  • NBA Record for highest career scoring average: 30.31

Jordan was an incredibly talented all-around player, defensively as well as offensively.  Yes, he was a scoring machine, but he also holds a number of NBA defensive records, such as:

  • NBA Record for blocked shots by a guard: 893
  • 1st player in NBA history with 100 blocked shots and 200 steals in a single season: 125 blocks, 236 steals

Jordan was successful throughout his NBA career, both as a young rookie and as a seasoned veteran.  He is the only NBA rookie to ever lead his team in 4 statistics as he led the 84-85 Chicago Bulls in scoring with 28.2 points-per-game, 6.5 rebounds per game, 5.9 assists per game and 2.4 steals per game.  In Jordan’s final NBA season, he scored 20+ points 42 times, 30+ points 9 times and 40+ points 3 times.  In fact, Jordan is the only player in NBA history to score more than 40 points in a game at the age of 40 or older.

It might seem that, with all of the success he experienced year after year after year, Jordan is impervious to failure.  Yet he has seen his share of failure.  But here is what kept him going:

Michael Jordan Provides Perspective on Success

What do you think about Jordan’s perspective on success?

 

 

Dennis Rodman speaks to the youth of today

I read somewhere that Dennis Rodman is putting out a children’s book.  More power to him.

I’m not necessarily saying that the Madonna-tutored, ex-bad boy, who once traveled the nation with his own bartender, dyed his hair every different color of the rainbow and kicked an NBA cameraman in the groin on live television ISN’T the least likely of candidates to speak to America’s youth.  I’m just saying if I were a parent, I probably wouldn’t bring my four-year old to the book signing, unless of course, it was open bar.

Rodman getting in touch with his inner child inspired me to think of the least likely book titles we’d ever see.

Fasten your seatbelts and if you’re easily offended, please turn away.

Gambling is Bad by Michael Jordan

The Perfect Golf Swing by Charles Barkley

Decision-Making 101 by Dwight Howard

Read more here…

Another shot by Patrick Ewing rejected

Although retired from the NBA for almost a decade, former New York Knicks icon and hall of fame player, Patrick Ewing, seems to be having his shots at a head coaching job blocked. His latest rejection came on Wednesday from former rival, “Space Jam” co-star, and close friend, Michael Jordan.

Bobcats owner Michael Jordan has eliminated Patrick Ewing from consideration for the head coaching job in Charlotte.

I must admit that the news came as a complete surprise to me because I didn’t feel that any of the other candidates posed a severe threat to Ewing. I mean, Jeff Van Gundy, Pat Riley, or Phil Jackson had not been considered for the Bobcat’s position, so it wasn’t like the competition was stiff or anything-although sources are now saying that Jerry Sloan has now been added to the list, and more than likely will bring his hall of fame credentials to Charlotte.

Read more here…

Bobcats’ Jordan does Ewing a favor, doesn’t hire him

michael-jordan-bobcatsFormer NBA great Michael Jordan has six NBA championships.  He is arguably the biggest reason former New York Knicks Center Patrick Ewing has none as the Knicks could never get past the Bulls in the Eastern conference playoffs during the 90’s.  The one year they did, Jordan had retired temporarily but the Knicks eventually fell to the Houston Rockets in the NBA Finals.  It was a series more remembered for being interrupted by the infamous freeway chase of a white Bronco driven by none other than O.J. Simpson then the one that got away from Ewing.

Almost two decades later, O.J. still finds himself getting in trouble and Jordan is still preventing Ewing from rising to the top, or is he?

According to NBA.com Charlotte Bobcats President of Basketball Operations Rod Higgins says the team will hire a new coach within the next couple of weeks but it won’t be Patrick Ewing.  Ewing had previously interviewed for the team’s vacancy.

According to reports Jordan had already told his former Eastern Conference foe that he would not be bringing him in as head coach to replace Paul Silas at the time the announcement was made.

Ewing may have been dissed by Jordan again but the truth of the matter is that if Jordan wanted to keep Ewing from ever getting an NBA ring s a player or coach, he should have hired him.  The Bobcats are an abysmal NBA franchise and after Ewing stunk it up there for a couple of years his NBA coaching reputation would have been all but shot.

Maybe Jordan actually did him a favor this time?

Follow Aaron on Twitter @Da_Bear_Truth

NBA’s best one-two punches within the last 30 years

It can be argued that a team sport is not a one-man game. In fact, it’s very rare that one person can come along and change chemistry, talent and overall bring championships to an organization.

For every LeBron James there is a Dwyane Wade and for every Kobe Bryant there is a Shaquille O’Neal.

Because a team of the NBA features only five players at any given time one player does not make the difference, but history has shown us that when two key players join forces special things can happen.

1. Magic Johnson & Kareem Abdul Jabbar

As great as the 7″2 Hall Of Fame center was, Kareem Abdul Jabbar never won a championship with the Lakers until Earvin “Magic” Johnson came via first overall pick in the 1979 NBA Draft.

The story of Johnson’s rookie year is well…Magic.

Magic averaged 18 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 7.3 assists per game for the season. He was selected to the NBA All-Rookie Team and was named an NBA All-Star game starter.

The Lakers reached the NBA Finals where they faced Julius Erving “Dr. J” and the Philadelphia 76ers. The Lakers went out to a 3-2 lead but Abdul-Jabbar who was averaging 33 points-per-game in the series sprained his ankle and was ruled out of game six.

Instead of lying down and concentrating on game seven, head coach Paul Westhead made a drastic decision to start Magic at center in game six where he recorded 42 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists, and three steals. Magic became the only rookie to ever win the NBA Finals MVP award, but if it wasn’t for the MVP of the league “Kareem” they may not have been there to begin with.

It’s rare that two of the greatest players of all-time had the opportunity to play together and these two made the most of it.

The Lakers were one of the most dominant teams of the 1980’s appearing in the finals eight different times and winning five NBA championships.

2. Kobe Bryant & Shaquille O’Neal

It can be argued that these two future Hall of Fame players could have been the most dynamic duo of all time, but instead it becomes a “what could have been” situation.

Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant led the Lakers to three consecutive NBA titles but it was the feud between them that led to the separation of possibly the greatest one-two punch ever.

On the court it was the perfect harmony.

The center-guard combo was impossible to stop as O’Neal was named MVP of the NBA Finals three times and had the highest scoring average for a center in NBA Finals history.

He was also named the 1999-2000 NBA MVP while Kobe earned appearances in the league’s All-NBA, All-Star, and All-Defensive teams.

While opposing teams struggled to stop the size and power of Shaq it gave Kobe the opportunity to flourish and grow into the superstar that he has become today.

Kobe continues to be a dominant force in the NBA and remains one of the NBA’s top players ever.

Jordan-Pippen-sports-illustrated3. Michael Jordan & Scottie Pippen

If there was one person that could turn a team around by himself it was his royal airness, Michael “Air” Jordan.

In a playoff game against the Boston Celtics in 1986, Jordan scored a playoff record 63 points. After the game Celtics star Larry Bird described him as “God disguised as Michael Jordan.”

Jordan led the league in scoring for 10 seasons but was more than a scoring threat, he was the face of the NBA.

Gatorade, Nike and the Jordan image dominated the basketball scene and set an example of how a sports athlete can take advantage of the market.

Despite the image Jordan needed the defensive minded Scottie Pippen who was named to the NBA All-Defensive team 10 consecutive years during his career.

Phil Jackson once described him as a “one man wrecking crew, capable of guarding anyone from the point guard to the five position.”

Pippen is one of three NBA players to record 200 steals and 100 blocks in a season, and he also has the record for career steals by a forward (2,307), as well as in the playoffs (395).

4. Karl Malone & John Stockton

When comparing athletes it’s impossible not to account for how many championships each of them have won over their career, but despite never winning one, Karl Malone and John Stockton were one of the best duos in NBA history.

Karl Malone “The Mailman” twice won the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award and is considered one of the best power forwards to ever play the game while John Stockton holds NBA records for most assists and steals by a considerable margin.

Malone’s post game was flawless and became the staple of the Utah Jazz’s offense with point guard John Stockton as the general and distributor.

Stockton to Malone was heard during 1,412 regular season games and many of the record assists Stockton had were to his teammate.

By playing the tough style of 1980s basketball and perfecting the pick and roll the Jazz regularly made the playoffs and became one of the most consistent teams in NBA history.

5. LeBron James & Dwyane Wade

Dwayne Wade has one title under his belt and was named the NBA Finals MVP with the Miami Heat in 2006, but as a duo, the story has just started. There is no telling what these two NBA stars could accomplish over time.

King James finished second in the league in scoring in 2011 with 26.7 points per game and Dwyane Wade finished fourth (25.5 points per game). They combined to score 4,052 points last season, most by a duo in Miami Heat history.

NBA slam dunk contest needs to be changed

blake-griffin-kia-dunkGrowing up watching the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk contest was a privilege. I understand that now after watching the garbage we have seen over the last few years.

While the contest still pulls in solid viewing numbers, All-Star weekend and the Slam Dunk Contest could be so much more.

Imagine if the NFL had the rights to the Slam Dunk contest, we would be paying $250 to watch the dunks in 3D by now.

Why players like Blake Griffin, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Dwight Howard are not in the contest each year is beyond comprehension, especially with their competitive nature.

Shaquille O’Neal called out the NBA greats that refused to enter the contest during the broadcast. Shaq said “It’s time to bring back the Slam Dunk contest and I’m calling all these players out.”

Were we spoiled by Dominique Wilkins, Michael Jordan, Dr. J, Spud Webb and even Vince Carter?

Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Vince Carter, Blake Griffin and Nate Robinson, who have all participated and won the contest before would be such a draw for the league that it may possibly put up numbers that the NBA Finals would.

Instead, we have lesser and unknown players because players fear for injury. Not only is the common fan asking “who are these guys?” they also have numerous chances to make the dunk.

Let’s admit it, once you have seen them attempt the dunk five times it loses it’s star-power.

No one will remember the 2012 dunk contest and for David Stern and the NBA that is a lose-lose proposition, especially for a league that likes to pad their pockets.

The NBA needs to find a way to entice these superstars into this contest and make it a what it could be.

Start by getting the stars in and get rid of second chance dunks.

Video: Slam dunk contest, Top 10 dunks of all-time

Dwight Howard

Dwight HowardThe NBA All-Star dunk contest has always been a favorite event that takes second place only to the actual All Star game. Through the years, many great athletes have competed and we have been treated to dunks that made our eyes bleed.

But what dunks stand above the rest?

Here we try to pin down ten of the greatest stuffs ever.

10. Dwight Howard-‘Superman’ Throw Down (2008):

Sure, we can chalk up some of the excitement surrounding this one to Dwight Howard’s donning the outfit of a certain former citizen of the planet Krypton, but the man was not trying to get extra points or get his mug on Sportscenter, he was trying to get your attention.

Dwight takes off in such a way that you would think he actually thinks he can fly and throws the ball into the hoop with such ferociousness that any opposing defender would have been hard pressed to find this Superman’s Kryptonite.

9. Spud Webb-Floor To Backboard (1986):

Simply put, Spudd Webb put everything he had into this dunk. All his hops, all his athleticism and all his heart. He took nothing back to the locker room that night as he faced off against then teammate and relentless dunking machine Dominique Wilkins.

Suddenly, after this dunk, kids that were deemed too short to play pro ball or were cut from their school team due to height could be heard practicing in driveways, parks and gyms all over the country.

8. Jason Richardson- Final Dunk (2003):

Although the dunk itself is as impressive as it gets, with Richardson pulling off a between the leg dunk with a reverse finish, it was the storyline behind the dunk that made this sweet jam even more exciting.

Richardson had won the Dunk Contest in 2002 and had agreed to compete again to defend his crown. The pressure was about as high as it can get as Richardson needed a 48 to tie Desmond Mason’s score and needed at least a 49 0r a 50 to win it all and repeat.

He triumphed in this brief moment of glory and made sure that he would go down in Dunk Contest history with one of the best final dunks of all time.

7. Amare Stoudemire- Get Your Head in the Game:

In one of the most interesting uses of an assistant’s body parts in the contest, Amare Stoudemire used former teammate Steve Nash’s soccer skills to have Nash make a head pass to Amare, who then caught the ball, spun in the air, and threw down a one handed slam.

The dunk was not the best in the world but the set up was creative, well timed and something that was sure to get the fans out of their seats and the judges scrambling to find the score cards with the double digits printed on them.

6. Gerald Green Makes A Wish (2008):

As Kenny Smith loves to point out when he is on broadcast team at a dunk contest, ‘you have to sell your dunks’. The contests themselves are pure entertainment for fans and non fans alike and the more you put into a dunk in terms of set up and originality, the more awesome it is for the casual fans at home.

In 2008 Gerald Green decided to put a cup cake at the back of the rim next to the glass with a lit candle stuck in the center. As he went up and competed the stuff, he blew the candle out. If your thinking the movement of the ball going into the rim or something else put out the candle, watch the replay in the video below in slow motion.

He actually blows the candle out.

5. Dominique Wilkins- Windmill Dunk (1986):

There have been many windmill dunks in the history of the contest and many more will most likely be attempted as it’s future rolls on, but none can beat Dominique Wilkins windmill in the 1986 contest.

It is perfect in execution, the way his arm windmills with the ball palmed in his hand, his feet walking across the air as he glides to the rim. Then comes the the intensity as he slams the ball into the cylinder.

There are many windmill dunks in the history of the dunk contest, but this is the best.

Ever.

4. Andre Iguodala- Behind the Backboard (2006):

Getting an assist from Allen Iverson (Wonder if he “practiced” the routine?) , AI tosses the ball off the glass behind the backboard. Iguodala catches it and slams it home on the other side. Even more amazing, Iguodala actually had to bend his head down so that it did not hit the backboard as he goes underneath it, a spectacular feat of athleticism and execution.

Afterwords Iggy runs to the locker room tunnel, as there is no need to wonder about the judge’s score.

3. Michael Jordan- ‘Jumpman’ (1988):

We have all seen it.

Even if you have never watched one game of basketball in your life or you live in a third world country, most likely you have seen this dunk at least once in your lifetime. It is on our clothing and our shoes and it is an image that is, for better or for worse, is iconic as Neil Armstrong landing on the moon or President Kennedy getting shot.

This dunk has transcended everything to become something beyond basketball, it is a living, breathing  thing and with good reason. It is surely one of the most supreme examples of hops, hang time and athletic talent ever captured on film.

2. Blake Griffin- Driving to the Rim (2010):

Of course you knew this one had to make the cut, although you might not agree with its rank, but jumping over a car with a pass thrown from the sun roof is an amazing feat no matter how many choirs were singing in the background.

What also makes it special is the calm manner in which Griffin delivers the dunk, as if to say it is no big deal, he can do this all day long. Even the camera crew seems not to have realized he was up in the air until it was almost over.

The dunk contest has always been about the young talent showing that they are no fluke, that they belong to be among the best basketball players in the world and have supreme athletic skills.

1. Vince Carter- 360 Windmill Dunk (2000):

Before Vince Carter was a role player in the NBA he was Vinsanity, riding the wave of the search for the next Jordan. His excellent ability to dunk and score made him on of the brightest young stars restocking the NBA’s talent pool after most of the former generation of stars had left the game behind.

Carter sealed the deal by bringing his ‘A’ game to the 2000 dunk contest, and despite all  of his dunks being special that night, his first slam told everyone that this contest was over as he pulled off a 360 windmill that is so perfect you would think it was computer generated special effects.

Thomas Willam Spychalski is a freelance writer for hire who co-edits the UK cult website Cult Britannia.co.uk and has been published at such sites as Kasterborous, Whotopia and is also a reporter for the paper Dolphin Talk in Port O’Conner Texas. Tom is also working on breaking into fictional works as well as a long term non fiction book project on the Amityville Horror. 

Is Michael Jordan the new Donald Sterling?

michael-jordan-bobcats

Isn’t it ironic that the ultimate competitor is owner of the league’s least competitive team? It’s sad to see how futile Michael Jordan’s Charlotte Bobcats have become. They have the worst record in the league at 3-24 and things don’t look to get any better in Charlotte anytime soon.

The Bobcats have lost 15 straight games and didn’t eclipse 100 points in any of those games. Not only did they fail to score 100 points in any game, they have failed to eclipse 90 points in all but two games during this current losing streak.

With the rise of the Los Angeles Clippers, Charlotte has taken over the role as the worst team in the league. Sure the Clippers have had a tough time over the years keeping its best players healthy but the biggest reason they have remained the league’s most consistent loser over the years is because of the tight pockets of their owner Donald Sterling.

Sterling has refused to pay the superstars that have come through the Clippers organization usually allowing players to leave via free agency when their asking price got too high. He allowed Lamar Odom to leave as a restricted free agent; refusing to match the offer he received from the Miami Heat.

Another culprit that has sabotaged the Clippers organization over the years is questionable draft picks. Remember Michael Olowokandi or Darius Miles? Both were top three selections by the Clippers. Olowokandi was selected number one overall back in 1998; the same draft that produced Dirk Nowitzki, Vince Carter, Paul Pierce, Antawn Jamison and Mike Bibby.

Sterling has long been a running joke in terms of his thrifty spending and inept management of the Clippers so it’s a sad day when the league’s most celebrated player is associated with the league’s most eccentric owner. Jordan has brought this notoriety on himself though with the questionable moves he has made first as president and now as owner of the Bobcats. Jordan took a competitive team, one that went to the playoffs in 2010 and traded away his two best players while allowing a third player to walk.

Sure the moves Jordan has made has helped to slash the payroll in Charlotte and allowed them to stockpile draft picks for the future but there are ways to build a team that doesn’t sacrifice winning. The Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, and Boston Celtics have proven that.

Besides, when you do bring in the talent you want you still have to pay them too. Charlotte didn’t have a bad payroll situation when compared to most teams in the NBA but Jordan allowed Raymond Felton to leave in free agency while shipping off both Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson. Jordan’s reasoning is that he didn’t want the Bobcats to be a seventh or eighth seed each season. Still it’s hard to recruit free agents to a losing team or a team that shows itself not to be loyal to its best players.

And that’s one of the knocks on Jordan right now. Wallace was the face of the Bobcats franchise and the main reason they made their first playoff appearance back in 2010. He was the last original member from the Bobcats’ inaugural season roster back in 2004 and had suffered through all the teams’ growing pains leading up to their first winning season.

Wallace was still in the prime of his career at the age of 28 when he was trade from the Bobcats. Wallace referred to his trade to the Portland Trailblazers as a “stab in the back” and a “slap in the face” and you know other players around the league were paying attention.

Trading him for more talent would have made sense if Jordan was truly trying to build a winner but the Bobcats traded him for expiring contracts and a couple of draft picks. The draft picks sound nice but Jordan doesn’t have a very good track record in the draft either. He endorsed the Clippers’ picking Darius Miles and later picked Kwame Brown when he was the head man with the Washington Wizards.

His failures in the draft made him a little gun shy with taking risks in the draft making him more conservative once he started making picks for the Bobcats. He drafted Adam Morrison in his first draft as president of operations back in 2006 and has stuck to the safe strategy even up until he took over as owner in 2010.

But Jordan is convinced that what he is doing is in the team’s best interest in the long run. Let’s hope he is right but as the evidence shows he’s done a “sterling” job so far.

Roosevelt Hall is an NBA Featured Journalist for The Sports Blitz. He can be contacted @sportmentalist.

NBA Supreme Court: Michael Jordan Drops 63 on the Celtics

Michael Jordan

Michael JordanIf you’re a fan of the NBA then at some time or another you’ve probably heard that Michael Jordan once scored 63 points in a playoff game against the Boston Celtics.  In fact, his 1986 double overtime effort still stands today as the most points ever scored in an NBA playoff game.  What you probably didn’t know was that Jordan foretold his stellar performance to several Celtics players the night before.

In 1986 Michael Jordan had began taking up golf.  In the early stages of the Chicago Bulls first round matchup with the Celtics the opportunity to play a round of golf between games presented itself.  The players were Danny Ainge of the Boston Celtics, Michael Jordan , and a couple of reporters;  Mike Carey from the Boston Herald and Mark Vancil from the Chicago Sun-times.

According to Ainge , Jordan liked to talk trash on the NBA hardwood as well as the golf course and on this outing things would be no different.  Jordan would talk but with his golf game still in its infancy, he wasn’t able to back up his talk with his play.  Ainge beat Jordan and this infuriated the competitive Bulls Guard.

As Jordan was dropped off at his hotel following his defeat on the golf course he left Ainge with a message to pass on to one of his teammates.  “Tell your man D.J. I got something for him tomorrow.”  Jordan was referring to his Game 2 matchup up with the Celtics Dennis Johnson, more commonly known as D.J.  Johnson was the Celtics defensive specialist and would have the primary responsibility of guarding Jordan for the remainder of the series.

Jordan went out and had the best game of his young NBA career torching the Celtics for 63 points while putting the majority of the Boston players in foul trouble as they attempted to slow him.  The Celtics would win the game in double overtime 135-131, but Jordan had won the war of words.  What he lacked in golf IQ, he more than made up for on the basketball court and made it a point to prove it in Game two.

The Celtics would go on to win the series and the NBA finals but an invaluable lesson was learned.  Don’t beat or piss off Michael Jordan when it comes to anything.

Jordan went on to win six NBA titles.  Twice as many as his Celtic foes of the 80’s.

You can follow Aaron on Twitter or Facebook @Da_Bear_Truth.

5 Owners that should not be running NBA teams

James Dolan

Behind every collection of players there is the team owner, the man who writes the huge checks players get for providing the entertainment aspect of their business. A large part of that business success is not dictated by an individual payer but rather an individual owner, sitting there in his office making the big decisions that mean the difference between an NBA franchise to die for and an NBA franchise that is dead.

Here we explore five of the worst owners in the NBA, and they are judged not only by the 2011-2012 season but also their actions of the last few years as well as how well they have manged the business they run. Continue reading

Jordan or Ali: The most iconic athlete of all-time

Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali

Michael Jordan and Muhammad AliThere is no doubting the greatness of both Michael Jordan, the Hall of Fame basketball player who played for the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards, or Muhammad Ali arguably the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time.

No matter how one looks at their accomplishments they’re all-time greats in their respective sport, but what makes them iconic and still relevant years after?

I’m sure you’ve heard this one before; If a tree falls in the middle of the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a noise? Well, while you think about that, the whole world heard the noise Ali and Jordan made. While they both made quite a splash in the sports world, it’s safe to say they did it in their own way. Sure, they’re both similar in their competitive drive, but how they presented themselves in the public and media was different.

Ali had a very vocal personality. Even in the ring while another man tried to take his head off, Ali ran his mouth. He predicted rounds, demanded respect and all that jazz, but we’ve already covered that. What I’m getting at is that Ali was vocal outside the ring about social issues. In joining the Nation of Islam he changed his name from Cassius Clay, you know the story. In fact, you’ve probably already seen the multiple movies and documentaries of Ali. There is without any doubt still controversy surrounding Ali.

It was what Ali sacrificed that made him pulverizing. There was a time when Muhammad Ali was hated by many because he exercised his freedom of speech and refused to serve his country for the Vietnam War. Ali was drafted and asked to join the Armed forces but in a controversial act refused to join. Ali maintained that war was against his religion, which he did adopt long before he was drafted and saw no reason to kill any “VietCong”. This is when Ali gave a famous line while being interviewed by the media.

“I Ain’t Got No Quarrel With The VietCong…
No VietCong Ever Called Me N****”
Muhammad Ali, 1966

This case went all the way to the supreme court and even forced Ali to retire and vacate his World title as an undefeated Champion. Ali continued to voice his opinion over social issues like racism and the war itself. He was loved by some and hated by others because of his actions.

Do I agree with everything Muhammad Ali ever said? No, but I understand where he was coming from. He was in a position as the Heavyweight Champion of the world, at the time a prize that gave you a voice regardless of your color or creed. Ali’s voice on the war in Vietnam and social issues was heard by everyone around the world.

ICONIC: Ali vs United States Government

Soon enough as the death-toll kept climbing, public perception turned over the Vietnam war. Ali was able to return to the ring and fight around the world. The world was able to witness the love and admiration that was given to Ali by those who loved him. He was a clear favorite among the public in Zaire when he fought, then Heavyweight Champion, George Forman. As for those who hated Ali? Many still turned to love him and understand the man.

That one act and sacrifice Muhammad Ali made turned him into a global icon and while despised by some, he is loved by many.

As for Michael Jordan, his iconic status was much different than Ali’s. The one major advantage Michael Jordan has is that he is fresh in our minds and currently being compared with top NBA stars like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. Granted, I don’t think Bryant or James hold a candle to Jordan, but the comparisons are out there and many fans are able to analyze that. This is something Muhammad Ali doesn’t really have.

It’s impossible to compare today’s heavyweights in boxing to Ali, while Jordan still has that. Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao can’t fill the void of Ali since they’re nowhere near the same weight-class. Some will fill that void with the likes of today’s boxing stars like the stars I just mentioned, but there is still a large gap in time. Boxing is also not a mainstream sport but once or twice a year anymore.

“Air” Jordan is much fresher than Ali. In fact, I watched Michael Jordan play live on television and witnessed his career growing up. I too wanted to be like Mike. Since most of us grew up watching Jordan play, we have first hand seen the impact he’s had in sports. His story doesn’t seem right out of a Hollywood set.

While Jordan wasn’t a vocal figure, he didn’t have to be. One, he played basketball in different times to when Ali was boxing. He wasn’t drafted to go to war, so we have no idea what Jordan would have done or how he would have handled a situation like that. All we know is what made him an iconic star and that was his commercial success. Jordan sponsored a sponsor, that’s how big he was. Nike created an entire “Jordan” brand which still exists today. In fact, I bet 1/2 of the readers right now are wearing Jordan’s.

ICONIC: Jordan’s commercial success

The multi-media marketing power that Michael Jordan brought to basketball turned the sports world upside down. You can’t ignore the fact that he revolutionized basketball and introduced it to a sea of people across the globe. Hanes still makes profit every time they say the name Michael Jordan, it seems.

Jordan refused to let opinion of social issues be out in public. He always kept things strictly on the game. Truthfully, that’s all Michael Jordan really had to do. He just wanted to be an athlete and let his performances on the court inspire those who watched him play. Future NBA stars will consistently get compared to Jordan. Even in other sports or businesses people say, “He’s the Michael Jordan of”, which is just another way of saying, “the best of”. Just about everyone has used that line and it will continue to get used. It’s become part of our culture. It’s said out of respect to the iconic Jordan who proved he was the best in a golden era of the NBA.

Just remember that before Jordan, “The Babe Ruth of” was part of American culture. Jordan is just, again, fresh on our minds.

Without a doubt, Michael Jordan has earned the praise that he gets. You can even argue he was a better basketball player than Ali was a boxer. I won’t dispute that Michael Jordan changed the sports sponsorship landscape forever. He was great, but he’s still not “The Greatest” Icon in sports history.

Be sure to check out other great articles by Eric Anaya at Rope A Dope Radio.

Top 5 Bulls of all-time: Pippen surpassed by Rose?

Jordan and Pippen

Jordan and Pippen

The Chicago Bulls have been an NBA franchise since the 1966-67 season.  Until the mid 80’s the Bulls had been little more than a mediocre franchise at best.  That all changed with the drafting of a 6’6 Guard from the University of North Carolina in 1984.  The Bulls would win six NBA titles in the 90’s and with Derrick Rose leading the way, again appear to be on the verge of dominance.  Here are the Top 5 Chicago Bulls of all time.

1.       Michael Jordan:  From North Carolina, a 6-6 Guard, Michael Jordan.  Jordan is arguably the greatest player that has ever stepped on a professional basketball court and without a doubt he is the No. 1 Bull of all time.  Jordan had it all: explosiveness, athleticism, creativity, length, defense, offense.  You name it, he had it.  He is the all time scoring leader for the Chicago Bulls with 32393 points.  Jordan averaged just over 30 points throughout his 15 year career and was the focal point during the Bulls six championships in eight seasons.  Jordan was also named league MVP five times during his 13 seasons with the Bulls.  By far the best closer in the history of the NBA.

2.       Scottie Pippen:  Every Batman needs a Robin and that’s what Scottie Pippen was to Michael Jordan.  Pippen played 12 of his 17 NBA seasons with the Bulls and as he and MJ formed one of the greatest tandems in NBA history.  Pippen averaged 18 points per game during the height of his Bulls career.  Capable of taking over a game offensively, Pippen was also known for his shutdown defense.  He was a first team NBA defensive player three times.  Pippen was a hybrid.  He had exceptional ball handling skills for a small forward and was often used as a point forward.  It’s debatable as to whether or not Scottie Pippen would have had the success he did without Jordan but the fact remains that he was an intricate part of those six Chicago championship teams.

3.       Derrick Rose:  This is no disrespect to Chicago Bulls’ players of the past but basketball royalty doesn’t come around often and Rose has that lineage.  In only his 4th season in the NBA, Rose has already won Rookie of the Year honors and a league MVP.  Only one other player on this list accomplished both of those and he sits at No. 1.  At a generous 6-3, Rose possesses explosive leaping ability and is fearless when he attacks the rim.  Rose is averaging just over 20 points and 6.8 assists per game in his young career.  In the 2010-11 season Rose led the Bulls to the NBA’s best record.  Despite being outplayed by the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, if Rose can stay healthy he will lead the Bulls to multiple Championships.  Again, the only other player on this list to do so sits at No. 1.

4.       Jerry Sloan:  A 6-5 Guard/Forward, Sloan was the cornerstone of the inaugural Chicago Bulls team.  During his 11 NBA seasons, Sloan played 10 with the Bulls.  He averaged 14 points per game over his career, appeared in two All Star games, and was named to the NBA All-Defensive team six times.  Sloan led the Chicago Bulls to numerous playoff appearances and in 1975 to their only divisional title before the Jordan.  Sloan would later coach the Bulls for three seasons in the early 80’s taking them to the playoffs in his second season.

 5.       Bob Love:  An ambidextrous 6-8 Forward, Love played with the Bulls from 1968-76. Love averaged almost 19 points a game, to include six consecutive seasons of more than 21 ppg, in his nine seasons with the Bulls.  Despite no championships, Love was a three-time all-star player with the Bulls and had his No. 10 jersey retired.  He is only one of four Bulls with retired jerseys.  The other three are on this list.

Aaron Moon is the CEO and a Featured Journalist for The Sports Blitz. You can contact Aaron on facebook or follow him on Twitter @DA_Bear_Truth. Contact Aaron directly by emailing him at amoon@thepenaltyflagblog.com.

Did Cleveland alter the careers of Jordan and Lebron?

Lebron James and Michael JordanCleveland, the abyss of the professional sports teams.  A place where great players and coaches are more often than not hidden on bad teams before opting to go elsewhere in search of greater glory.    In baseball during the 80’s there was Joe Carter and later Manny Ramirez.  Both went on to play key roles in championships with other clubs.  In football Cleveland was so bad that even Bill Belichick couldn’t win there as he compiled a not so impressive 36-44 record during his five-year tenure as the Browns’ head coach during the early to mid 90’s.  Everyone knows what he’s done with the New England Patriots.  And then there’s basketball.  Lebron James was a homegrown prodigy who was deemed the savior of the Cleveland Cavaliers and the successor to an NBA legend.  For the most part Lebron carried his own and lived up to the hype as the “Chosen One,” but his inability to get bad Cavs’ teams over the hump in the playoffs and his subsequent decision to abandon them for safer ground has threatened to tarnish his legacy.  But what about Michael Jordan?  No, “His Airness” never played for the Cavaliers but he did play in Cleveland, and there was one particular game that catapulted him into the legend that he would become.

The year was 1989.  Jordan had been in the NBA for six seasons and despite multiple playoff appearances he had yet to get the Chicago Bulls past the second round.   It was Game 5 in the first round of the NBA playoffs.  It was a best of five series back then and after Michael and the Bulls took a commanding two games to one lead, the Cavaliers tied the series at 2-2 and forced a Game 5 in Cleveland.

Like the Bulls 108-105 overtime loss to the Cavs in Game 4, the outcome of Game 5 would hang in the balance with just seconds remaining.    Jordan hit a jumper with six seconds on the clock to give the Bulls a one point lead.  Chicago’s elation quickly turned to deflation as Craig Ehlo scored immediately for the Cavs on a lay-up with just three seconds left.  For Bulls’ fans, it seemed as if the basketball season would again end in disappointment.  But Jordan had other plans.

Jim Durham made the call over Bulls Radio –

“The inbounds pass comes in to Jordan…Good! The Bulls win it! They win it!”  Jordan had hit a floating jumper over the defending Ehlo as time expired.  He finished with forty-four points in the game.

Jordan and the Bulls would go on to beat the New York Knicks in the conference semifinals before falling to the Detroit Pistons in the conference finals.  Despite the Bulls eventual playoff dismissal, “The Shot” Jordan made against the Cavs to propel the Bulls into the second round would later prove to be one of those magical moments in time when greatness was born.  Jordan would go on to win six NBA titles and arguably would have won eight had it not have been for his premature retirement following the tragic death of his father.

Two megastar players, one team, two different directions.  For Jordan, the Cavaliers created NBA royalty.  As for Lebron James, the Cavaliers created NBA public enemy number one.  Luckily for James, the beauty of life and professional sports is that time heals all wounds and winning cures everything.  So if Lebron can string together three or four championship runs over the next five years or so all will be soon be forgotten.

As for the answer as to whether or not Cleveland altered the careers of Michael Jordan and Lebron James; it’s an astounding Yes. But with that said, like Jordan, James has control of his ultimate destiny and I would like to believe that when it’s all said and done he’ll go down in NBA history as one of the Top 5 greatest players of all-time and have the championship pedigree to support it.  He might want to get a move on it however as he is currently 0-2 in the NBA finals. Only time will tell.

Aaron Moon is the CEO and a Featured Journalist for The Sports Blitz. You can contact Aaron on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @DA_Bear_Truth.