Who is the greatest player in NBA history? That classic debate never truly goes away, but it's back in the spotlight in a big way now with the release of "The Last Dance." Is it Michael Jordan, LeBron James, or perhaps another challenger, such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar? They all have their merits, which is why it's so hard to get anyone to agree.
What everyone does recognize, however, is that when it comes to mystique and significance, there's never been anyone quite like Michael Jordan. The combination of his unbelievable skills, fierce personality and the time in which he played gave him an almost mythical presence.
There have been numerous instances of that in the documentary so far, and Steve Nash expounded on what it was like from his perspective as an opponent. During an appearance on Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes' podcast, All The Smoke, Nash said that other players were basically afraid of Jordan.
"We didn't have so much access back then to every single thing on Instagram, or YouTube, let alone watching games live so MJ was must-see TV," Nash said. "He just had this charisma on top of all the gifts and skills and mentally, you know how great he is. Playing against him, the one thing that I think he was unlike any other player I've played against is that there was a real fear playing against him. I've never seen the league be kinda fearful of a player or have that much reverence for a player."
Nash's point about not having social media or League Pass is definitely interesting. While there are so many benefits of those advancements in technology, the ability to see every game, highlight and off-court activity at the click of a button changes our relationship with the game and the players.
There's absolutely no mystery anymore, and the importance of each game or moment is lessened when you can easily see a highlight, or just catch the next game in a few days. And especially in regards to the fear aspect, would the league have had the same reaction to facing Jordan if they saw him goofing around with his kids all the time on Instagram? Probably not.
But those hypotheticals aside, this is some great insight from Nash. It really shows not only how the league has changed, but just the level to which Jordan dominated the league. He didn't just win all the time and put up crazy stats, he was psychologically tormenting them the entire time.