Anyone who listens to the greatest Marshall Faulkin sports talk show on internet radio Thursdays @ 6pm est (shameless plug) knows unlike the masses I do not consider Michael Jordan the greatest basketball player ever. I am not a Jordan hater and I do recognize his greatness but I do not consider him the “G.O.A.T.” Before you comment on this post with your subjective conclusions please read the entire post and don’t respond with the lame ass argument of “He changed the game”, “He saved the NBA.” That’s all bullshit! Step your game up and study your history before commenting with that nonsense.
As I recently stated Jordan “The Brand” is powerful and is the most recognizable brand in NBA history. The great marketing efforts of Nike and the NBA made Jordan a household name. What people have to understand is that before Michael Jordan, there were not many athletes that received the marketing he did and many people grew up hearing he was the greatest player of all time.
I stated that the greatest player of all time was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and I honestly believe that. I am not saying that for the sake of argument. I can give you stats if you want, but instead I will give you my opinion on why I believe people consider Mike as the greatest and why I disagree without using statistics.
Kareem’s last six seasons were the most seen out of his entire career. There wasn’t a chance to market him even if the NBA wanted to. Kareem wasn’t marketable anyway. He was dominant but predictable. Everyone knew the hook shot was coming but no one could stop it. It wasn’t exciting and fans love excitement. Fans could not connect to him. He angered many Americans when he skipped the 68 Olympics in protest of Americas’ racial climate. He never wanted to be loved like many of today’s’ players. Kareem was an intellectual who didn’t care what people felt about him.
Jordan was drafted in 84 but there was something that was more important to the NBA around that time than MJ being drafted. David Stern became commissioner. David Stern is the greatest sports commissioner in the history of sports. He transformed the league by realizing the potential in marketing individual players as opposed to teams and he found a partner in Nike who at the time was not the dominant brand it is today. In sports timing is everything. Jordan was a great player who came around at the right time. If it was Kobe that came in the league in 84 and received that same marketing people would be screaming Kobe is the greatest.
I honestly believe that Kareem converting to Islam had a major impact on his legacy. I believe that if he would have remained Lew Alcindor he would be mentioned more often than he is for being the “G.O.A.T” MJ on the other hand is a capitalist who has made a lot of money but never spoke on social issues. Have you ever heard MJ speak on poverty, homelessness, racism, or politics although he had and continues to have a huge platform to make a difference? He doesn’t want to hurt his brand. Former Charlotte, N.C., mayor Harvey Gantt, an African-American, twice ran and lost U.S. Senate challenges to unseat Jesse Helms. When approached by Gantt’s campaign for an endorsement, Jordan replied dismissively, “Republicans buy sneakers, too.” Kareem on the other hand has authored several books and speaks at universities on all of these topics. Because of this he has hurt his brand but unlike the rest of the world who watches sports through SportsCenter highlights I appreciate his impact not only on the game but society in general. I know many of you are saying well that has nothing to do with what happens on the court but in my opinion part of the reason Jordan is widely considered the greatest has nothing to do with what happened on the court but how he was sold to us. Many people just take what they hear as gospel without giving it thought. To quote Kareem “I’m not comfortable being preachy, but more people need to start spending as much time in the library as they do on the basketball court.”
Last but not least Kareem gave Bruce Lee a fair one and Mike cannot say that. Lol