Michael Jordan and my take on the GOAT debate
The Greatest Of All Time debate will rage on forever. It’s a super fun topic, especially with people across generations. Perspective is reality though, and as much as I have my own preferences, I understand there is no one right answer. But here is my argument.
Before we start, I think the thing everyone forgets to do when entering these debates is to specify the question they’re asking. And for this basketball GOAT debate, my specific question is:
What player has achieved the most with their personal skills and attributes in their chosen field?
Yes other players have played more games. Players have jumped higher, scored more. Won more.
But skill for skill, achievement for achievement, Michael Jordan has built the most impressive individual trophy case over pretty much about every athlete known to sports. To summarize, he’s dominated his generation like no other and was revered by his peers like no other. I think all speaks for itself.
I don’t want to make my case there though, because I think it’s what Michael Jordan continues to do with his love for basketball, through his playing days, and now beyond, that puts him in another stratosphere.
#1 is the Jordan Brand. Jumpman. Air Jordan. Never has a sportswear company named after a player shaken up the industry like Jordan Brand has. Branching into other sports and signing all-time greats like (my all time favourite fighter) Roy Jones JR, Derek Jeter, Gennady Golovkin & Neymar. Signing numerous NBA stars. Opposing players were checking him while wearing his gear. Kids tweet “Crying Jordan” memes while waiting in line overnight for the 11’s to come out….the blasphemy!!! We’re 20 years after that last shot in Utah, and he’s still as much a part of basketball culture as he’s ever been.
#2 is what the hometown kid “put on for his city”. Not only did he win an NCAA championship for his home state @unc, but he went back and got his alma mater rocking all Jordan Brand gear. He took the hometown craziness to another level by becoming the first former NBA player turned owner of his Charlotte Bobcats (now Hornets). Just stop and imagine the path you would have to take to buy your hometown pro team…I’ll wait.
#3 and the final one, is Michael Jordan reaching billionaire status. What makes that even more ridiculous is that he was vastly underpaid as a player for the majority of his career. From that game-winning shot against Georgetown, he used his cold blooded killer instinct, ferocious competitiveness and other skills he developed in his career to join the ranks of people like Oprah, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson.
The fact of the matter is that he hasn’t stopped at all since retiring. He keeps going and going. I think it was a very interesting and very telling statement that Scottie Pippen said of his teammate that “he saw Michael as someone who wanted to prove that he’s a winner…every day”.
It’s almost terrifying to imagine the personal sacrifices he must have had to make to achieve what he’s done. But man, what a 55+ year run he’s had. I can’t think of many in human history, let alone basketball history, that have racked up as many massive wins as Michael Jordan.