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Tag:Michael Jordan
Posted on: April 8, 2011 3:07 pm
Edited on: April 8, 2011 3:08 pm
 

Young Kobe told MJ he could take him one-on-one

Posted by Royce Young



There are a lot of people I look up to in terms of sportswriting. A lot of people that have influenced me, inspired me or maybe even helped me improve. I've met a few of them and one thing I most definitely did not do was immediately say: "I can write a better feature than you."

But I'm not Kobe Bryant. In a whole lot of ways, I'm not Kobe Bryant.

Via the OC Register:

[Phil] Jackson told the story of arranging a first meaningful meeting between Bryant and Michael Jordan in the 2000-01 season, which was filled with Kobe-driven friction after the first championship the previous season. Jackson’s goal was for the learned Jordan to get the eager Bryant “to understand he didn’t have to stray outside the offense” and the Zen idea to “wait till the game presents itself.”

Jackson said Bryant’s first comment to Jordan, however, was: “I can take you one-on-one.”

I think coming from a 22-year-old Kobe, that's not all too shocking. However, if you recall, Kobe said this back in September when asked if he could beat LeBron one-on-one: "I'd win, I'd win. That's what I do. One-on-one is, that's easy for me, you know. Playing one-on-one is how I grew up playing. It's like, my thing. LeBron is more like a Magic Johnson, he's a great passer and plays an all-around game. At the core of me, I'm a one-on-one player. I'd do that in my sleep."

Kobe has never been shy about his talent. Never been afraid to speak up. It's part of what makes him such a confident player and on top of it, such an interesting person to cover and write about.

I mean, set aside how ridiculously cocky it was of him to say something like to M.J. Because come on, that's just stupid, even if you think it's true. But that arrogance is something Kobe has always had about him and the thing is, he's backed it up. Five rings, an MVP, scoring titles and a spot right behind His Airness as the best shooting guard ever.

What I can't believe about this story is though, that Jordan didn't throw off his jacket, grab some sneakers and say, "Alright, let's go."

Via TBJ

Posted on: April 2, 2011 6:15 pm
Edited on: April 2, 2011 6:20 pm
 

Report: Tex Winter to enter Naismith Hall of Fame

Longtime assistant coach Tex Winter has reportedly been selected for induction into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Posted by Ben Golliver. tex-winter

Assistant coach is, without a doubt, one of the least glamorous and recognized positions in the NBA world. The best assistants toil for years -- if not decades -- for the chance to spread their wings and run their own ship.

Not Tex Winter though. After coaching in college and briefly in the pros, Winter settled into the role that he's best known for: Phil Jackson's triangle offense guru. Winter served as Jackson's assistant coach in Chicago for all six of Michael Jordan's Bulls' titles and then went to Los Angeles to accumulate even more bling with the Lakers.

On Saturday, the Chicago Tribune reports that Winter has been recognized for all of that winning. After a coaching career that spanned six decades, Winter will be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as a member of its Class of 2011.
Winter, who popularized the use of the triangle offense in the NBA, served as Phil Jackson's assistant on all six Bulls championship teams. Winter won't be able to travel to Houston for Monday's announcement, the source said, because of the stroke he suffered two years ago.
But Winter is pleased to finally gain induction after several times as a finalist, according to the source. The induction ceremony is in August.
The triangle -- or "Triple Post" as he originally called it in his 1968 book -- has been credited with providing the framework for superstar players to succeed in the team concept, by highlighting the importance of ball movement, man movement and spacing.

One of Winter's former players -- Dennis Rodman -- is also reportedly set to be a member of the 2011 Hall of Fame class. 
Posted on: March 13, 2011 3:13 pm
Edited on: March 13, 2011 3:19 pm
 

Jackson: It's 'not fair' to compare Kobe & Jordan

Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson says it's "not fair" to compare Kobe Bryant to Michael Jordan. Posted by Ben Golliver. kobe-bryant-michael-jordan

Throughout this season, we've tracked Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant's rise up the scoring list, and last week he moved into the No. 6 spot all-time. Bryant is slowly creeping towards Michael Jordan, who sits in spot No. 3, and his drive for a sixth NBA title has made the comparisons to M.J. almost unavoidable.

Who better to answer the "Who's Better?" question than the man who coached them both? In a sit down conversation with the L.A. Times, Lakers coach, and former Bulls coach, Phil Jackson said that, despite Bryant's growing list of accomplishments, Jordan simply defies comparison.
"Kobe has patterned himself after Michael, and there are a lot of identical things there, but it's one thing to hope to be like him, it's another thing to be like him."
So when Jackson's next book comes out, and it will, will Jackson reveal who he thinks was best — Jordan or Bryant?

"I'm with [ESPN's] Bill Simmons on this," he says. "We have to take Michael Jordan out of the equation. Stop comparing anyone to Michael Jordan. It's just not fair. He was remarkable. Kobe's in his own sphere.

"He doesn't shoot the same percentage [.455] as Michael [.497]. He has the same characteristics as Michael, but he's not the same player. It takes nothing away from him — he's a great player in his own right."
I'm with Jackson: I don't think anyone, at this point, compares to Jordan. But his dodge of the question -- his creation of multiple spheres -- is a cop out. 

Hypothetically speaking, if Bryant finishes his career No. 1 all-time on the scoring charts with eight or more rings, we're still supposed to say Jordan was better because of his field goal percentage? That's tough to swallow, and given Jackson's reverence for the league's greats, I think he'd almost certainly be singing a different tune if things played out like that. 

As always, this feels like a motiviational tactic. It's reportedly Jackson's final season on the bench, and while Bryant is playing excellent ball (despite a vicious ankle injury), he continues to go rogue late in games, including during a recent loss to the Miami Heat. By bringing up field goal percentage, Jackson subtly reminds Bryant of the importance of shot selection, that perhaps a 30-foot bomb on the move during crunch time isn't the best available shot. He's prodding Bryant in the most obviously way possible: "MJ wouldn't have taken that shot."

Innately, Bryant doesn't need the extra motivation, he's as self-motivated as it gets. But a little nudge or reminder every once in awhile surely gets his blood pumping just like everyone else. Jackson wants to end this chapter on top and getting Bryant to buy all the way in to his team concept is the surest way to make that that happen. It's been a constant push-and-pull between these two for years now.
Posted on: March 13, 2011 3:34 am
 

Rose is now truly living in the shadow of Jordan

Michael Jordan speaks to Bulls fans at celebration of 1991 championship team, and puts heavy expectations on Derrick Rose's current Bulls as contenders not just for one title, but six.
Posted by Matt Moore




Saturday night Michael Jordan returned to Chicago along with Scottie Pippen and the rest of the 1991 NBA Championship Chicago Bulls team to celebrate the 20th anniversary.  During his remarks to Chicago, looking back fondly on the start of the dynasty and his time as the greatest player in the game, which would stand out as the best stretch of any player in history, he looked forward upon this current Bulls team. And in doing so, he placed quite a heavy burden on their star and MVP candidate, Derrick Rose. 




This night was a quiet, lowly publicized celebration of a great team, but it also stands as a dramatic moment to truly launch the future of this Bulls team as currently constructed. Entering the season, the Bulls were considered an up and coming team, one that should challenge for homecourt advantage in the first round. Against the Jazz on this celebrative night, the Bulls had an opportunity to take a share of the lead for homecourt advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs. Entering the season, Derrick Rose questioned why he couldn't wind up as an MVP candidate. Against the Jazz, he gave another lesson as to why he is, in many people's mind, the Most Valuable Player in the league. The Bulls have a chance at not only causing some damage in the playoffs, but legitimately pushing for a title... this season. They're ahead of where most thought they would be, thanks to Rose's ascension and the work of Tom Thibodeau which will likely earn the first-year head coach Coach of the Year honors. Everything is coming together, and the fact that the greatest player of all time spoke to the potential for this team to win multiple titles only reinforces what many fans believe: this is a special year for the Bulls. 

But to examine the two seasons in parallel is to find stark differences. And those differences start with Rose and Jordan. I was curious how big the gap between Jordan's first championship season with Chicago and Rose's prospective first championship season would be. The results speak to how truly great Jordan was

Jordan averaged nearly seven more points than Rose (31.5 to 24.7) per game, nearly two more rebounds, nearly 2 more steals, and more blocks. Rose is shooting a career low 44% from the field, while Jordan shot a rifreakingdiculous 54% as a shooting guard. Of course, as Rose is a point guard, his impact is felt not only in scoring but in assists, where he is averaging 2.5 more per game than Jordan did. Factor in that Rose's weighted assists (factoring three-point assists) is considerably higher at 9.2 per game, and the total points produced gap narrows somewhat. But the divide is still a gulf, that showcases exactly how good Jordan was that year. 

Perhaps most interesting, though? Is comparing the "sidekicks" for the two players. Scottie Pippen, still just 25 in '90-'91, actually scored fewer points, snared fewer rebounds, and shot a worse percentage than Carlos Boozer is this season. That was surprising information, and shows you how good Boozer has been offensively this season. Now that we've noted that, we can bring to everyone's attention that Boozer is the primary offensive weapon next to a superstar point guard rather than an offensively centered shooting guard, and that the defensive gap between the two is wider than the Great Wall of China is long. (Though it should be noted Boozer actually has a better Defensive Rating than Pippen at 99 versus 102.)

On the team level, the two teams are similar stylistically. Both teams are/were constructed as slow-pace teams (19th for the '91 team, 23rd for the '11 squad). But their performances differed greatly. The '91 team was first in offensive and seventh in defensive efficiency, while the '11 team is first defensively but 17th offensively. Defense may win championships, but the '91 team was better balanced between the two sides. 

In the end, though, comparing the two is nothing more than a fun mental exercise. Both are great teams with huge potential. But Jordan's comments put even more pressure on Rose to reach the heights Jordan did at age 27 when Rose is just 22. It's an enormous shadow for Rose to walk in, one that he's been faced with since being drafted by Chicago. But there's a gap between an unspoken comparison to No. 23 and having the man place the burden of six titles on you at such an early point with such an uneven offense in such a stacked conference. Perhaps that's why Jordan did it, though. Maybe he sees in Rose the same thing that made himself the greatest of all time, the drive to overcome all challenges through determination and the will to defeat all challengers. After all, Rose doesn't have to be as good as Jordan. 

He just has to be better than everyone else now. 
Posted on: March 11, 2011 3:42 pm
Edited on: March 11, 2011 3:43 pm
 

Scottie Pippen says Jordan could drop 100 today

Posted by Royce Young



As former great players get older and less relevant to younger fans, they often get the urge to say things. Things that grab attention and most of the time, things can't can't be proven either way.

The latest example: Scottie Pippen said on Dan Patrick's radio show that Michael Jordan could average more than 40 points per game if he was playing today and on top of that, could score 100 in a single game. (I assume Pippen is saying that if Jordan were in his awesome 1991-92 prime he could do this, not that the current incarnation of MJ would do it.)

“The game now is so offensively driven,” Pippen said. “It’s so easy for an offensive player to keep his aggressiveness with the basketball player.”

That's a nice thing for Pippen to say about his forming running buddy. And like I said, something that there's no way we can really know. Which is why it's fun -- and easy -- to say.

I mean, Bill Russell could say, "You know, I could grab 400 rebounds a game in today's game." Or Magic Johnson, "I could get 75 assists in one half in today's game." Or Sasha Vujacic saying, "I could average 30 a game if I wanted to." Wait, he did say that.

I don't blame players for saying things like Pippen did because they fear we're all going to forget how good they are. And for good reason too. It was one of my favorite points from Bill Simmons' Book of Basketball in that as we move further away from the likes of Bird, Magic, Dr. J and Jordan, we start to marginalize their talent. We forget just how great they were. We see players like LeBron, Durant, Kobe and Derrick Rose and assume that those older players weren't fast enough, big enough, strong enough or good enough to hang.

And to some degree, that's true. The 1980s Bird might not be as legendary today. But that's if you took the actual 80s Larry Bird (the one with the blonde afro perm, dirty mustache and short shorts) and inserted him. If you just took Larry Bird and gave him all the bonuses of modern medicine, weight training, nutrition and whatever else, he'd be as good or better. I don't know if that point made total sense, but it did in my head. I think you get what I mean.

It's easier to respect what you're currently watching and forget what you don't see, or haven't seen in a while. I mean, how many people have already forgotten how good Allen Iverson was? Or just how dominant inside Shaq was? We all love the "all-time" debates, but there are truly people that think that Bob Pettit wouldn't hack it if he played today against Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum. Who knows, I guess they could be right. But it doesn't really matter in the end.

I'm kind of getting off topic here, but that's the whole heart of what Pippen is claiming with MJ. Could Jordan score 100 in today's NBA? I'm sure he could. When you're that good, you can do lots of things. Could he average 40? Probably, because he was darn close in his time. But we won't and can't ever know.

It's easy for former players to rag on "today's game" because it's not how it was when they played. Maybe it's not as physical. Maybe it's too geared for offense. Maybe players don't play as hard. Who knows. But in 20 years, I bet we'll get a quote from Dwyane Wade saying LeBron could scored 70 a night in "today's game" because of the new "no defense in the paint" rule. Or something.

Don't worry Scottie. I haven't forgotten how great MJ was. You don't have to say things just to try and make me remember.
Posted on: March 10, 2011 10:22 am
 

Michael Jordan says Derrick Rose is the MVP

Michael Jordan endorses Derrick Rose as the Most Valuable Player. 
Posted by Matt Moore

Think of it like an election campaign, and a former office holder providing his endorsement for a candidate. Except in this scenario, it's the best mayor/governor/president/high priest/grand overlord/emperor to ever take office. It's a lot like that. 

Michael Jordan, as quoted by the Chicago Tribune
"MVP of the season," the Bobcats owner said Wednesday night after the Bulls downed his team 101-84. "He deserves it. He's playing that well, without a doubt."

Then Jordan offered that sly smile.

"And if he doesn't get it, now he will see how I felt a lot of those years," the Bulls' Hall of Famer said.
via Michael Jordan: Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan says Derrick Rose no doubt the MVP of NBA this season - chicagotribune.com.

This is classic Jordan. Jordan made an empire out of giving everyone what they wanted, regardless of what he actually thought.  Saying the Chicago Bull prolific scorer is the MVP? That's perfect in every way. Just makes everyone love him more, especially Bulls fans (not that that's humanly possible). Jordan probably legitimately does feel Rose is the MVP, considering his disdain for LeBron James' joining the Heat and the fact that Rose is a scoring guard (although much more of a passer than Jordan). It's just such an easy thing for him to say that people will love. 

You also won't find any of the other candidates speaking up for their guys. For example, not like Shaq's going to come out in support of Dwight Howard, no matter how much he thinks that big men are underrated in this league. And LeBron James doesn't have an advocate because there hasn't really been a player like him in terms of overall production and ability to cross positional strengths. Plus, everyone hates him. 

And that may be Rose's biggest strength in terms of his MVP candidacy. It makes everyone feel good to think of him as the MVP. The young underdog (playing in a large market alongside a considerable array of support players) putting in a stunningly good season (without much in the way of elite efficiency) while remaining humble (due in part to his terrible interview abilities and after openly campaigning for himself to start the season) and saying how loyal he is to Chicago (a large market with a history of winning where he grew up).  The parentheticals there aren't meant to say that Rose isn't the MVP, I've got no issue with Rose as MVP, he's earned it every bit as much as Dwight Howard, LeBron James, or Dirk Nowitzki.  The point is that Rose is an easy MVP to get behind. Jordan's electing to provide a sound byte in support thereof (which is rare) is proof enough of that. 

And it'll probably carry some weight with the voters, especially given the tremendous respect Jordan rightfully carries with them. 
Posted on: March 8, 2011 9:21 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2011 10:02 pm
 

Kobe Bryant passes Moses Malone on scoring list

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has passed Moses Malone on the NBA's all-time scoring list. Posted by Ben Golliver. 

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant continued his ascent up the NBA's all-time scoring list during Tuesday night's game against the Atlanta Hawks, moving past Hall of Fame center Moses Malone into sixth place. 

Bryant entered the game 12 points behind Malone and notched his 11th, 12th and 13th points at the free throw line, after being fouled while shooting a three-pointer with 2:04 remaining in the second quarter. 

Malone scored 27,409 points in 1,329 games during his career. Bryant reached that mark in his 1,086th game, 243 games faster than Malone. 

Bryant began the 2010-2011 NBA season in 12th place on the all-time list. This year he has passed (in order): John Havlicek (26,395), Dominique Wilkins (26,668), Oscar Robertson (26,710), Hakeem Olajuwon (26,946) and Elvin Hayes (27,313). 

The only active player in front of Bryant is Boston Celtics center Shaquille O'Neal, Bryant's former teammate in Los Angeles. O'Neal is currently in fifth place on the list, roughly 1,100 points ahead of Bryant. Given the distance between those two players, it's a virtual certainty that Bryant will conclude this season in sixth place. The next closest active player? Celtics forward Kevin Garnett, who is 22nd all-time.

The top four scorers in NBA history are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387), Karl Malone (36,928), Michael Jordan (32,292) and Wilt Chamberlain (31,419). Back in January , we took a look at Bryant's career scoring trajectory and how it's likely that he will finish his career no lower than third all-time.

The Lakers defeated the Hawks, 101-87, in Atlanta. Bryant finished with 26 points. 
Posted on: February 17, 2011 7:58 am
Edited on: February 17, 2011 7:59 am
 

Shootaround 2.17.11: Lakers go tumbling

Michael Jordan a player-owner? That plus Lakers reeling, Celtics laughing, and the status of ownership in sports, in today's Shootaround. 
Posted by Matt Moore

A nice look at Mike D'Antoni in another role watching basketball: as a father

Owners are people who were smart in business who are sports fans, so they think they're smart at sports

Speaking of owners, Cuban says that owning a team right now is a "vanity" venture. Which sounds about right given the tough economic conditions and the state of profit across sports. 

Panic in the streets of L.A.. Mike Bresnahan nails the current state of the Lakers. Basically, if they win the championship, forget this loss. If they don't, this was a sign of trouble. You just never know with this team. 

No, for real, who gets Jordan's number wrong?

It would appear that Willie Green has finally usurped Marco Belinelli's starting spot. Just six minutes for "Belly" in Wednesday's loss to the Blazers. 

Chris Paul is seriously struggling, to the point where it's time to start looking at when he's going to be "back.

Carl Landry hopes he's not traded at the deadline

Oh, now that's just mean

SI examines the implications of Michael Jordan: owner-player
 
 
 
 
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