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Jordan is back.
September 25, 2001 1:43 PM   Subscribe

Jordan is back. Officially. The question is: does he still have what it takes to reach the top?
posted by kchristidis (30 comments total)

 
As a Jordan fan (who isn't?), I'm skeptical. I like to see great performers going out on a high-note. Why shatter your fans' memories? On the other hand, if he can come back and still dominate the game -- I'm all for it.

In other words, I've no answer to your question -- but I'm eager to find out :-)
posted by dagny at 1:47 PM on September 25, 2001


Damn, maybe the geezer will pump himself full of steroids and creatine before returning.
posted by Aikido at 1:51 PM on September 25, 2001


He's 38. His age is starting to get to him (as he admitted in earlier interviews). His performance will not be like it was in his peak. At least he's donating his first year salary to a worthy cause, of course if he owns the Wizards then he also sees profits from the ticket sales skyrocketing.
posted by geoff. at 1:55 PM on September 25, 2001


dagny, I agree about going out on a high note. The last shot in the series against Utah was a great end would have been a great end to a great career.
posted by msacheson at 1:58 PM on September 25, 2001


He's in a very good position to make a comeback, playing for the Wizards. He'll still score 30 points a game, since he'll carry the ball all night long. But there's no way the team can contend for a title on his shoulders alone. Hence, no one will notice that he's not the old Jordan.

Essentially, he used to be the biggest fish a really big pond. Now, he's just a huge fish in the puddle that is the Wizards.
posted by jpoulos at 1:59 PM on September 25, 2001


geoff, he was required to sell his share of the wizards.

He won't be the slashing Jordan but then again he wasn't really that his last two seasons. He'll basically be a player coach. should be interesting to watch though.
posted by srw12 at 2:07 PM on September 25, 2001


The Wizards are going to get Slaughtered when they open up the season against the Sixers. Can't wait to see what the press has to say about that one.
posted by fusinski at 2:14 PM on September 25, 2001


With the Redskins now "the worst team in football", at least the Wizards will be exciting to watch - Go MJ! Basketball will be fun again...
posted by owillis at 2:15 PM on September 25, 2001


the man wants to play. i can't wait to see how he does, good or bad. i like what i have read about the man. and basketball could use a kick in the popularity butt at the moment (although baseball could use it more).
posted by o2b at 2:17 PM on September 25, 2001


This is worst thing that could have happened to the Wizards. Sure, they'll get more fans and better TV rating in the short run, but Jordan's return will hurt their long run prosperity. Jordan will make a poor team a mediocre team. This transformation will rob Washington of a shot at the top tier lottery picks they need to make a legitimate long run improvement, while keeping the team just bad enough in the short run to fall short of the playoffs or be first round losers. The end result for Washington is a longer run of futility.
posted by Bag Man at 2:21 PM on September 25, 2001


I like his immediate downplaying of expectations "Winning isn't always championships. What's wrong with helping kids find their way, teaching them the game?"

Well, nothing actually, but coming from someone who is one of the most competitive people in the world this is disingenuous at best.
posted by jeremias at 2:27 PM on September 25, 2001


legacy is a pile of poo. Good for him coming back, it's good to do what one wants, without regards to their "legacy". If I enjoyed playing pro bball that much, and was able to play at that level, I would, regardless of what the crititcs say.
posted by corpse at 2:33 PM on September 25, 2001


I thought this was Jordan...
posted by feelinglistless at 2:39 PM on September 25, 2001


Well said, corpse. My sentiments exactly. If he wants to play, let him! I hate b-ball, and all sports in general, so I don't care either way, but it sure is interesting to see so many people all worked up over whether or not he "should" play or not.
posted by davidmsc at 2:48 PM on September 25, 2001


People...this is Michael Jordan we are talking about. Not only is he one of the best pure athletes ever to live, but he is a mental player. John Stockton still owns guys half his age and he isn't half the athlete Jordan is. I can't wait for Jordan to embarass the hell out of Kobe, Allen, Ray, Stephan, and whoever else thinks they have the game to hold the best player ever grace the courts.
posted by catatonic at 2:54 PM on September 25, 2001


Hmm I gotta wonder about that big fish big pond statement. Look at the supporting cast in the last Bull's team to win the championships and what they've done since. Not a whole hell of a lot.

Jordan has the unique ability to make those around him better.
posted by bitdamaged at 3:10 PM on September 25, 2001


The Wizards are going to get Slaughtered when they open up the season against the Sixers

As much as I'd like to see that, Iverson and McKie both had surgery today and probably will not be playing in that game.

If Lemieux can come back for a year, play selected games, and enjoy some success, I think that Jordan can also.

But the biggest thing he can bring to the young players on the Wizards is an education in strategy and gamesmanship that might make them much better players.
posted by bragadocchio at 3:14 PM on September 25, 2001


A little after the September 11 events, there was a retrospective about what was the hot news of the day and week before. Whether Michael would come back or not was one of the "hot issues". I am glad to see the topic, and that little packet of reality, again.
posted by bison at 4:03 PM on September 25, 2001


brag:

basketball's not the same as hockey, however. in hockey, as in baseball, it's not unheard of for 40+ age players to enjoy some success. in the nba, it's pretty rare. michael jordan has a very good conditioning program (i have read), and that will help him out a lot, but i don't know how he will end up. so i won't say that his team will be shredded, or that he'll lift his team.

peter may on espn said that he might give the wizards one extra win per series. even that may be pushing it. no offense to the DC fans on mefi (owillis), but i think the wizards -- at best -- might have 30 wins. but don't feel bad; that should still be better than the win total for the bulls. (hopefully not by much.)
posted by moz at 4:54 PM on September 25, 2001


I have lost what respect I had left fo Michael. This is sad.
posted by hotdoughnutsnow at 5:41 PM on September 25, 2001


The Lemieux comparison wasn't meant to compare hockey to basketball as much as it was to have folks consider the manner in which Lemieux played when he returned.

Mario didn't play in every game, and he often sat out decent portions of games that he did play in.

You do have to admit however, that both hockey and basketball can be fairly physically challenging sports, and that it takes a lot of determination, and ability to play in something other than a reserve role at 40+

That's even true with baseball. Not everyone is a Nolan Ryan, or Satchell Paige.

Of course, in golf some folks are just hitting their stride at that age...
posted by bragadocchio at 5:42 PM on September 25, 2001


There are three things that can happen:

1) He comes back and he is so-so, doesn't harm his legacy, but doesn't improve it.

2) He comes back, gets whipped by the youngsters and retires with his legend tarnished. This is not good for basketball because one of its heroes is diminished.

3) He comes back and crushes everyone within his path. The young players are shown up to be show ponies. This is really not good for basketball, because its new stars will be whipped by a 38 year old man.

IMHO, 3 not very good options.
posted by jordanbrock at 6:54 PM on September 25, 2001


What's wrong with a 38 year old man whipping a cocky youngster? It might just give them a dose of humility...
posted by vito90 at 7:10 PM on September 25, 2001


John Stockton still owns guys half his age and he isn't half the athlete Jordan is.

Their games are not as similar as make them out to be. Jordan relys on physical abilities (first step, jumping height to get the shot off) much more than stockton.

I can't wait for Jordan to embarass the hell out of Kobe, Allen, Ray, Stephan, and whoever else thinks they have the game to hold the best player ever grace the courts.

I sure that will happen on occasion, but so will the opposite and more often than ever before. Kobe was giving him hell before he retired. Now jordan is 3 years older, and kobe is a much better player.

Jordan has the unique ability to make those around him better.

Not that unique. Magic, bird, and others had the same ability. But when they couldn't do it physically, they were done. In other words, that ability alone isn't enough to be who he was, and is also somewhat reliant on the quality of his own play, which no doubt is going to suffer.

however. in hockey, as in baseball, it's not unheard of for 40+ age players to enjoy some success.

Almost all 40+ basketball players are centers who depend on height. Rarely do you see guards/small forwards effective at that age since they depend on quickness and speed.

What's wrong with a 38 year old man whipping a cocky youngster? It might just give them a dose of humility...

I was thinking the same thing, except with opposite results.
posted by justgary at 7:39 PM on September 25, 2001


I'm a Bulls fan so I am highly biased here, but I think seeing him in a Wizards uniform is going to be so...wrong.
posted by SisterHavana at 10:32 PM on September 25, 2001


People still play pro basketball?
posted by dopamine at 11:28 PM on September 25, 2001


Jordan doesn't own any stock in the Wizards at all.

John Stockton is older than Jordan.

The Wizards open up the season in Madison Square Garden against the Knicks, not the Sixers.

As far as Jordan ruining the Wizards franchise, that's laughable. The argument that they would be better off by losing, thus gaining top draft picks, is ludicrous. You don't build a dynasty on mere draft picks. Jordan's influence will bring in premiere free agents.

Jordan's physical attributes are getting way too much press. By the end of his career, 60 % of his shots were fadeaways from the elbow. There's really no way to stop a fadeaway jumper and no one can shoot it like him.

Keep in mind, there are some rule changes now. Teams can play any type of defense they want. If Jordan plays the point-forward position (see Pippen as a Bull), teams will have to collapse on him or suffer the jumper. With this defensive pressure, he can set up the mediocre players around him for easy opportunities (see Horace Grant, Luc Longley, Bill Wennington, Cliff Levingston, and any post player the Bulls ever suited up). With Jordan's strength he can lock him man down using the new rules that enable hand checking.

As far as tarnishing his legacy, that has never really happened to anyone. No one cares about Mays' last year, Ali's last bout, Magic's last 1/5 season. At worst, the man will average 20 ppg and make an All-Star appearance.
posted by wklang at 9:13 AM on September 26, 2001


John Stockton is older than Jordan.

Jordan is asked to do much more than Stockton and his game is completely different, relying much more on physical skill. Not a good comparison.

Jordan's influence will bring in premiere free agents.

Hasn't happened yet. Word is he already tried to talk to a few, such as vince carter, about coming to the wizards, no doubt hoping his return would help recruitment. How many came? None. Why would a free agent come to washington to play for an absolute awful team just because Jordan is there when one, you have no idea how good he will be and two, he could retire at the end of the season. Why sign a 5 year free agent contract when you know if Jordan isn't effective he'll leave in a heart beat.

By the end of his career, 60 % of his shots were fadeaways from the elbow.

How high will it be this year? 80%? 90%? The fadeaway depends both on his ability to drive and jump. Both obviously have suffered since three years ago.

At worst, the man will average 20 ppg and make an All-Star appearance.

If he knew right now he'd just be another run of the mill allstar with the wizards not making the playoffs I doubt he'd be coming back.

Lastly, while he was surrounded by mediocre players in chicago he always had pippen. Pippen did all the dirty work in the latter years, including rebounding and defense, leaving jordan to concentrate on scoring. (pippen, though I don't like him, could hardly be considered mediocre)

It's probably foolish to bet against Jordan, but he has a mountain to climb. If he can stay injury free it should be cosidered a major accomplishment.
posted by justgary at 5:36 PM on September 26, 2001


Jordan is asked to do much more than Stockton and his game is completely different, relying much more on physical skill. Not a good comparison.

By who? He has practically been the coach of every team he's played on. Jordan's role this year will be redefined. He will be running the offense, just like Stockton does.

Hasn't happened yet. Word is he already tried to talk to a few, such as vince carter, about coming to the wizards, no doubt hoping his return would help recruitment. How many came? None. Why would a free agent come to washington to play for an absolute awful team just because Jordan is there when one, you have no idea how good he will be and two, he could retire at the end of the season. Why sign a 5 year free agent contract when you know if Jordan isn't effective he'll leave in a heart beat.

Right.....lol. Just in case people are confused, he just announced yesterday? Why would they come to play for an absolute awful team? Have you not the logic to see that they wouldn't necessarily be "awful?" You stated that Jordan always had Pippen....inster free agent X as Pippen. He could reture at the end of the season? He signed a 2 year contract - he's not leaving after one season. Many have hypothesized that Jordan doesn't anticipate much success at all this season but feels as though he'll be able to land some free agents after this season to make one last run for the end of his contact.

How high will it be this year? 80%? 90%? The fadeaway depends both on his ability to drive and jump. Both obviously have suffered since three years ago.

A fadeaway depends on the ability to drive?! If you gain penetration, you wouldn't fade away. Many, man veterans go to the fadeaway with age due to the lack of ability to drive.

BTW, Jordan did not rely on Pippen to do the dirty work. Jordan made the all defensive team numerous times. He could rely on Pippen for migraine headaches.....
posted by wklang at 8:44 PM on September 26, 2001


By who? He has practically been the coach of every team he's played on.

Chicago was terrible before Phil Jackson became the head coach. Jordan was great but the team couldn't even make the playoffs. Then Jackson comes, inserts his trangle offense, and the team starts winning. Ask Jordan if Phil Jackson made a difference?

He will be running the offense, just like Stockton does.

As I said before Jordan will be asked to do much more than 'run the offense'. They ar completely different players. Stockton averaged 11.5 points last year. You think Jordan will be happy with that? As I said before, bad comparison.

Right.....lol. Just in case people are confused, he just announced yesterday?

Believe me, I'm not confused. For the last few months Jordan has been meeting with potential free agents. One was Carter. You don't think he mentioned to Carter he would be coming back? You don't think he would use that bit of information to try to lure free agents? Actually, this was written about months ago. Perhaps you weren't following the story until now. But believe me, Jordan would tell Carter more than he would tell the public.

He signed a 2 year contract - he's not leaving after one season.

Means absolutely nothing. He can break that contract anytime he chooses, and anyone who thinks about coming to washington knows it.

A fadeaway depends on the ability to drive?! If you gain penetration, you wouldn't fade away. Many, man veterans go to the fadeaway with age due to the lack of ability to drive.

I'm not sure how much basketball you've played, but the ability to penetrate allows the fade away to be effective. If an opponent doesn't fear Jordan will fly by them they can play up close, which makes the fade away a much more difficult shot. Without the ability to penetrate he'll have to depend more on ball fakes and body english.

Here's a link from espn for you:

He still had enough elevation on his fadeaway to shoot over just about anybody. Not anymore. Now, I'm told, he has to pull up and pump-fake to get his shot off.

BTW, Jordan did not rely on Pippen to do the dirty work. Jordan made the all defensive team numerous times.

Again, I have no idea how you can possibly say that.

Once again, another link:

Now, I suspect, we are about to find out how important Scottie -- along with Phil and Tex and Dennis -- was to Jordan (particularly in those last few years when Pippen did the defensive dirty work and rebounding that allowed Jordan to save his energy for scoring).

You're about to see how much Pippen did for the Bulls. Casual fans my not have noticed his contributions, but those with more insight certainly did.
posted by justgary at 9:43 PM on September 26, 2001


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