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News » Is Hall all there is for the greatest?


Is Hall all there is for the greatest?


Is Hall all there is for the greatest? Sometime late in his final season with the Bulls , I caught Michael Jordan alone in the locker room for the briefest of moments.

Dennis Rodman was causing a stir, I suppose, and that distraction allowed me a few seconds with M.J.

He answered a couple of questions antiseptically, until I got to the one he liked.

When exactly, I asked, did he decide to drop his game down low and become not just the Bulls ? dominant post player but also the best in the game, and like one never seen before at 6-feet-6?

That?s when Jordan chuckled and said something about making the decision when he looked around and realized no one else could do it.

Nothing but net.

That was the most impressive part of The Greatest Who Ever Lived, that he could reinvent himself over a summer, during a season, or even in the middle of a playoff series.

Jordan, who was often called selfish, was selfish only because selfish was sometimes the order of the day.

He was possessed by the need to win, and that need drove him to do whatever was needed to win.

Actually, his willingness to shoot 30 times in a game was the exact opposite of selfish, a notion his critics never understood.

While they wanted him to distribute more to players like Luc Longley ? a 7-2 center who could only catch and dunk if there wasn?t another human within 50 feet ? Jordan looked around and, to borrow from Jordan, realized no one else could do it.

It?s what caused Jordan to recreate himself over and over again, to become whatever his opponents couldn?t cover, whatever his enemies couldn?t defend, whatever deficiencies his team couldn?t overcome.

The evolution of Jordan might be the most fascinating aspect of The Greatest Who Ever Lived.

The Jordan who entered the league unable to shoot, who played only above the rim, gave way a couple of years later to a deadly shooter, always hard off the dribble.

By the end of the Pistons era, he was as a good a clutch, catch-and-shoot gunner as there was in the NBA, and by the time the Bulls won their first title, Jordan was the point guard dishing off to a wide-open John Paxson.

By the first three-peat, Jordan was a chameleon, the perfect combination of all things freak.

He could find a shot any way he wanted it, above the rim, off the dribble, from the catch, elevating above defenders, you name it.

He was truly unstoppable.

And when he returned for the second three-peat, Jordan was transformed again, this time into a dominant post player.

Once he had the ball down low, not a player in the NBA could stop him from creating his own looks above the defense in the post.

His fadeaway jumper was money.

This Bulls team was less talented than the first three-peat group, but Jordan nevertheless was able to provide them easy layups and open looks off double teams.

Then ? and this was the one that had you shaking your head in the final weeks of his Bulls career ? he developed a floor move.

Just like that.

He discovered the footwork like he was a 6-6 Kevin McHale near the bucket, forcing wary defenders to the air suspecting that fadeaway, and embarrassing them with a floor move.

The Michael Jordan who once could take the ball from coast to coast, the Air Jordan who could fly from the free-throw line, soaring above the giants, was on the baseline among the trees, using a basic floor act.

Think about it.

His metamorphosis was constant and mind-blowing, impossible and incomprehensible.

Selfish?

If selfish means his need to win trumped any need to make his teammates feel wanted or needed, he was absolutely selfish.

He probably figured all the rings he won for them, and the money they made while riding his back, was satisfaction enough.

He might even sneak one or two of them into the Hall of Fame some day.

But for The Greatest Who Ever Lived, the Hall of Fame seems so horribly anticlimactic and ordinary.

It is, for lack of a better word, unsatisfying.

After all, kings don?t hold court while sitting on a folding chair, and presidents don?t host heads of state at the Holiday Inn Express in Langley.

Sorry, but the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., can?t be the highest honor for Michael Jordan, not when his image will rest in a room for eternity with mere mortals.

Unless they rename the sport after him, there?s really nothing meaningful enough, and so you?ll forgive me for lacking interest in this induction exercise, a yawn, the equivalent of Babe Ruth or Wayne Gretzky getting a call to the Hall.

Jordan was the NBA, and he remains the standard, and anything short of Jordan fails to move emotion.

The Hall of Fame is for "ordinary" legends, the superstars of superstars, the Magics and Oscars, the Kareems and Wilts, the Docs and Icemen.

Michael Jordan stood so far above them all, if you?ll forgive such sacrilege, that it?s just not tribute enough for The Greatest Who Ever Lived.

brozner@dailyherald.com


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: September 12, 2009

 

 
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