As sports fans crave content during the Coronavirus shutdown, ESPN made the easy decision to move up its 10 part documentary, “The Last Dance”, chronicling the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls season which culminated in their sixth championship in an eight-year period.
After the Bulls won their second three-peat in June of 1998, fans wanted to see if they would come back to try and become the first NBA franchise since the 1960’s Celtics to win four straight titles. Instead, they were broken up by unlikable owner Jerry Reinsdorf and even less likable General Manager Jerry Krause.
At that point, Jordan retired, Pippen joined the Rockets and Dennis Rodman signed with the Lakers. Jackson took a year off before leading the Lakers to their own three-peat.
It didn’t take long into the docuseries for the unmitigated bashing of Krause, who will serve as a human Pinata throughout the series. Krause died three years ago so he has no chance to defend himself.
Jordan and Pippen mercilessly mocked Krause for years for his lack of height and shall we say, portly physique. Making fun of a man’s lack of height is a sure sign of immaturity. Krause didn’t choose to be short.
It also didn’t take twitter very long to create another villain. Someone who was 12 years old at the time when the Bulls won their 6th championship. Someone who grew up a fan of Michael Jordan. Someone who is in the discussion to the question of who is the Greatest Player In NBA history? If you can’t name that person after those three clues, you probably are reading this column by accident.
The Twitteristas decided to attack LeBron James, his supporters or those of us who think a debate does exist as to who is the NBA’s GOAT?
I believe LeBron is the GOAT.
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I also believe that Jordan is the second greatest player ever. I’m ready, willing and able to debate anyone on this topic. But unlike Jordan supporters, who think it is sacrilegious to conduct this exercise, I am eager to partake. Meanwhile, Jordan sycophant’s response is that there is NO doubt, Jordan IS greater! Fine, but please explain why, and then hear me out. Its as if it became gospel that Jordan retired the title 20 years ago.
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The whole debate feels political. Pick your side and ignore your opponent. Jordan fans feel like Trump supporters. Maybe Michael Jordan could stand in the middle of Michigan Avenue and shoot someone and not lose any supporters.
Unless you are still in your 20s and needed to watch this documentary to understand Jordan’s greatness, I don’t know what to tell you. Jordan hasn’t played for the Bulls since 1998 and not played in the NBA since 2003, yet people reacted as though his legacy will grow because of this documentary.
As often happens with great athletes, actors, musicians, and writers their legend becomes greater than their actual accomplishments.
Case in point, check out these numbers:
11-28 11-26 19-43 9-22
6-19 5-19 9-22 11-27
15-35 14-33 9-26
This numerical fruit salad is not my latest eye prescription or nuclear launch codes. They are Michael Jordan’s field goals made to field goal attempts in his 11 of his 35
Yes, I’m nitpicking, but my greater point is Jordan did in fact miss shots and have bad games in the Finals.
I believe men aged 34-48 grew up with Michael Jordan as their sports hero. These fans don’t want to hear that LeBron may be better than Jordan because that would besmirch their childhood and early adulthood.
Jordan is not the only all-time great whose legend has grown to mythical proportions. I have older friends that wax poetically about Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle. According to them Mays and Mantle never made an out or committed an error.
If you look at life analytically you probably think that LeBron is the GOAT. Conversely, if you look at life emotionally, you feel that MJ is the GOAT.
The next four Sundays will be much of the same. The ‘Jordanistas’ will be even more intense. I’m digging in on my belief that LeBron James is greater than Michael Jordan.
See you Sunday at 9:00 p.m Eastern for episodes 3 and 4 of “The Last Dance”. I’ll remain willing to cut in.
John Sapochetti is Co-Host
Of The “SAP & KAT SHOW”
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Follow Him On Twitter @JohnSap25