Critics just can’t get enough shots at the Miami Heat’s new trio. So when Michael Jordan recently told reporters: “There’s no way, with hindsight, I would’ve ever called up Larry , called up Magic and said, ‘Hey, look, let’s get together and play on one team,'” media members went into overload. Jordan then added: “Things are different. I can’t say that’s a bad thing. It’s an opportunity these kids have today. In all honesty, I was trying to beat those guys.”

Was Jordan in or out of line? Were his statements a measure to his competitiveness or just his thirsty desire to stay relevant? Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley of the AFRO sports desk took aim.

PG: It’s really easy for MJ to say that after the fact … but I don’t believe him. I think MJ is just using this as another means of staying relevant in the public eye. Just like at his Hall of Fame speech when he said at age 47 he could come back and still be a problem for players in the league. Yea right MJ, I’m not buying it!

SDR: You’re crazy. The media asked MJ his opinion. He didn’t hold a one-hour televised press conference titled “MJ’s decision on LeBron going to Miami.” This isn’t some media ploy. They found Jordan out playing golf and asked him his opinion and he said what everyone thought he would.

PG: In my opinion, this is just another prime example of MJ’s competitiveness overlapping reality. I don’t even know how valuable his comments are on this. He’s telling us what he would have done nearly 20 years ago, and we’re supposed to buy it? In reality, he was NEVER in the position LeBron was in and MJ, Larry and Magic were never free agents at the same time.

SDR:
Jordan’s point is simple: you can’t call yourself the best then go play second fiddle behind another player on another player’s team. That’s just how it is. It’s going to be Wade’s team and LeBron will just be a key part of it now. No Jordan-copied, ego-driven, 25-year-old megastar in their right mind would willingly sign up to be second best. Where’s the competitiveness?

PG: I don’t even see how that’s not considered competitive. I don’t see why as fans, we expect players to waste their best years being selfish, competing to be considered the greatest individual player ever instead of competing to be a significant member of the greatest team ever. This scenario should in no way be compared to what LeBron, Wade and Bosh combined together to agree on. These three players are in the process of making history by putting selfish accomplishments aside to form potentially one of the greatest teams ever assembled.

Perhaps they figured if they combined their talents, they could knock off other great assembled teams like L.A. or Boston quicker than most experts expected. That’s competitive.

SDR: I respect Jordan for being the lone, self-psycho competitor. That’s what made him great; the will to want to beat everybody and not make best buddies and teammates with the playground’s other most talented players. It’s called competitiveness. The great ones have it.

PG: No, that’s self-absorption. Thinking about self only, trying to promote self only.

SDR:
Self-absorption? You mean like LeBron did with the one-hour TV special? I still can’t decipher why a guy craves the glory and fame of being a solo champion so much but only possesses the mentality of a glorified role player. Really strange to me.

PG:
You can respect that self-absorption and I’ll respect how LeBron is willing to put selfish accomplishments aside and help bring together potentially one of the greatest teams ever assembled. LeBron is a totally different player than Mike was but that difference doesn’t equate to less greatness. Point is, contrary to the timeless commercial, you don’t have to “Be like Mike” to be considered in the argument for G.O.A.T and I’m glad LeBron is separating himself from Jordan’s legacy.

 

Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley

AFRO Sports Desk