Tag Archives: Michael Jordan

Remembering The Great NBA Lockout Of 1998

I’ve come to believe that I don’t have to worry about football not happening this year, but I’m afraid I’m a long ways from feeling that about basketball. I’ve only got my ear semi-firmly pressed to the ground when it comes to sports chatter, but the majority of news you hear about the NFL is that a deal will ultimately get done. The debate seems to be more about how much training camp time will get cut and at most, will we lose any preseason games? On the NBA front, it’s more about whether they’ll lose a half or a whole season. I am confident that it’s now time for us to prepare for a significantly shortened 2011-2012 season. A great way to do that is to revisit the last season in which a work stoppage wiped out half the season. 1998 saw no basketball games played until February of 99, and when play finally resumed, it was a pretty dreadful season. The Kings were the top scoring team, and the only one to average triple digits, with an enormous 100.2 ppg. Nine or ten teams averaged less than 90 ppg. It’s safe to say that the rust showed. But a few things happened that turned out to set major changes of the tides in motion in the NBA that season. Can we expect similar changing of the guards this season? Let’s revisit some of the top storylines from the 1999 season…

The Spurs won their first NBA Championship, and of course, they’d go on to win three more after that. It was their second year with the short-lived twin towers, Tim Duncan and David Robinson. The Spurs were contenders in the years before, with the exception of the lost season of 96-97, which enabled them to land Tim Duncan in the draft. The strike-shortened 1999 season was just what they needed to get over the hump. The Spurs have been a dynasty ever since. In fact, 1999 was the last time the Spurs failed to win 50 games in a season. That’s tough to do when they only played 50 games that year.

Who could it be this year? Maybe the Cavaliers, perhaps? They spent the decade building a contender, but then their star player was lost. It only took the Spurs one year to turn it around, so why should we expect anything different from Cleveland? Like San Antonio, they were fortunate enough to land the number one pick and get a sure-fire franchise player. Or, do you disagree? Add to that, they had the fourth pick too, and got a perennial all-star there. Oh, don’t like that one either? Alright, so maybe they’re a longer shot to win it all this year, but I bet there will be one similarity there. Antawn Jamison’s 11-12 season will look a lot like Sean Elliott’s 98-99 year.

Michael Jordan was no longer there. His Airness retired after notching a second three-peat from 96 to 98. The Bulls immediately fell to the bottom of the standings, losing an unprecedented 37 games in the shortened season. That’s the most losses in a season they had since 1987. Fans and media immediately started searching for the next Jordan. Would it be 5, 10, 20 years before the next Jordan came along? Where are we at now…

Jordan still isn’t here. I think Kobe came pretty close there for a while, but until he gets another title, people will probably always point to the 6-5 championship edge for Jordan. Even if it gets tied up, winning rings with Shaq / Pau arguably has a lesser degree of difficulty than having Pippen as your next best guy. In the meantime, we can pretty much write off Lebron James and Dwyane Wade until further notice. They proved in this year’s finals that they won’t be producing any Jordanesque highlights in the closing seconds of games in the quantities that he did. Dirk’s “clutch” stock skyrocketed this year, but to be the next Jordan, you gotta do dunk contests, not three point shootouts. Though he did rock the tongue out like Jordan in this year’s finals.

Jason Williams took the league by storm. I’ve always felt that J-Will doesn’t get credited enough for his part in winning back the league’s fans. He came into the league as the seventh pick by the Kings and immediately started cranking out must see highlights. He was doing things that no one had really seen on the court to that point. In a year where the pace of play was at an all-time low, J-Will sped the pace up, and he MADE people watch. Practically overnight, his jersey became the biggest selling in the country. It helped that he got to play with newcomers Chris Webber and Vlade Divac, but he definitely played a key role in getting a franchise turned around and become a contender for years to come. I remember 1998 being called a weak draft, much like this year’s installment. Can anyone in this also weak draft class make a similar impact on the league and his franchise?

For the first time since the 1998 draft that produced Jason Williams, the Kings were to select seventh this year. There was no obvious pick, much like 98, so they took a gamble. Only this time it was on someone that already had a little more accompanying fanfare than the relatively unknown Williams had. It’s not too far fetched to imagine that Jimmer Fredette, depending on how his rookie season goes, could wind up being the hottest selling jersey in the league. I envision close to 80% of those sales coming the kids sizes, but I could see him being this year’s must see TV and help soften the blow of a lockout season. He doesn’t have the flashy ball-handling skills that J-Will had, but he has something of his own that no player has had in our lifetimes: his own range. Most rookies have to worry about adjusting to the distance of the NBA three point line. Not Jimmer. The new three point line isn’t even in Jimmer Range. Hopefully the pro game won’t force him to reel it in a bit, much like it did with Williams a few years in, because the 30 foot three bomb is the short white guy’s slam dunk. If Jimmer starts dropping 3 or 4 of those each night, every short white guy in America will be watching his games. Throw in the Mormon population, and the fact that he’s one of those guys you can’t find any reason to hate – unless he just torched your team for 40 or 50 points – the NBA could very well have it’s next lockout-shortened-season-savior.


Lebron vs. Jordan

I don’t get it, where is all this Lebron is better than Jordan talk coming from? Why are guys like Scottie Pippin saying things like this? Does he still have some animosity towards MJ? Are youtube videos like the one above being made, because there’s nothing else to debate about at the moment? Personally I don’t understand why it’s even a debate. For years we compared Kobe to Jordan, and over the last couple years we’ve seemingly put that argument to bed, aside from a short sighted Lakers fan here and there. Now Lebron is better than Jordan when he hasn’t won anything yet?!? Jordan was 6 for 6 in his career in the finals, and won 6 Finals MVP’s while Lebron is 0 for 1 with a sweep in the finals to his name. Wake me after Lebron has a single three-peat, and we can maybe start this argument. Hell, Dwayne Wade has more “Jordan-like” credentials than Lebron with a 1 for 1 in Finals appearances, and earning a finals MVP. I understand that a lot of us want to see another Jordan, but in reality I doubt we ever will see anyone with the drive that Jordan had. He made it so everyone around him would never give up, because he wouldn’t let them. I can’t say the same for Lebron at any point in his career so far. Lebron doesn’t seem to mind losing while Jordan died a little inside every time he lost a meaningless regular season game, and that my friends is what will separate these two for eternity. I think we should be comparing Lebron to Kobe first, then Magic, then maybe Jordan if he ever gets that far. It feels like we skipped a few legitimate and major steps in our comparisons with this guy.  It’s scary to me this is going to be a debate for the next 10 years regardless of how many titles the Heat do or don’t win…


Jordan Vs. Lebron Parody

Ran across this clip this morning, and have to say it’s awesome! I’m on the fence if it’s actually real or not, since I don’t know why Nike would want MJ to rip on their golden boy Lebron. Either way, I don’t really care if it was doctored, and the words MJ is saying are from a completely different interview, because I bet this is how Jordan actually feels deep down. All I know is if it’s real Lebron might wish he didn’t tell everyone in the league to not wear 23 anymore


Kobe vs. Jordan, and Father Time E-Mail Thread

Today Dyslecix sent out the youtube clip above sparked a longer than expected e-mail chain that we figured was worthy of posting in this slow sports news day. We started with Lebron vs. Kobe. It turned into Kobe and how many more championships can he win, and ultimately ended with some comparisons to Jordan.

Chappy: Haha, did you see Matt’s post over the weekend saying Lebron dethroned Kobe as the most hated man in basketball?

Dyslecix: Yeah I sure did…that was a good post! I think Lebron will win a lot of people back down the road. The media is really driving the hate and the influence is pretty huge. If that team plays well and looks like they enjoy themselves, and makes a good impression during the season, I think people will come back around. Minus Laker fans of course.

By: Kobe, has been the best player from 2004-present time, and far greater than LeBron James now, and future LeBron James considering what he’s done in taking the cop out option to join Dwayne Wade, who is arguably better than him also.

Cali4Dre: I actually prefer people hating Kobe, so it spites them that much more when he makes those off-balance game winners, and wins 3 more rings in the next 5 years.  I think by next year the LBJ noise will have died down after they get to the Finals and lose to the Lakers…

Chappy: I still hate Kobe, but respect him much more than I used to. Living in LA it’s either watch the Lakers or Clippers… Not a tough choice, unless you like watching crappy hoops… I don’t think he’s going to get three more rings though. Two at most…

By: I’ve always hated Kobe because of his arrogance, and because he’s tried to mimic Jordan both on & off the court as oppose to being an original person, but his game is off the charts.  No one hits more difficult shots in critical moments than Kobe, and I’ve learned to respect his game immensely.  When Kobe rises up for a big shot, if you’re a Lakers fan, you’re already cheering, and if you’re not a Lakers fan, you’re already putting your hands over your head.  Clutch is everything. Continue reading


Bored? Watch Some Vintage MJ!

We all remember this game, 92′ NBA Finals, Game 5 and Jordan’s unreal 1st half. After scorching Clyde the Glyde and company for 32 pts in the first 23 minutes of the first half, MJ nails another 3 pointer and can only turn and shrug to the NBC announcers. Easily the best half of basket ball I have ever seen from any player, hands down.

Sit back and enjoy for the next few minutes!


Thanks But No Thanks Lebron

Maybe I’m obsessed with numbers more than I thought. I mean, I’ve always known that I’m a stat freak, but never realized that it went even deeper. As I have written about a few numbers being retired from Rickey Henderson to whether or not Jim Brown’s proposed question on whether Kobe should get two numbers retired when his Lakers career is over, and followed that up by saying it was ridiculous that they retire MJ’s number league wide. I see what Lebron was getting at, but who makes him the ambassador of the NBA!?! Yes he’s great, but why do others have to change their number. Maybe their tribute to MJ is wearing his old number! On Thursday night, MJ finally spoke out on Lebron’s request to have his number retired here. I guess it took Jordan a little while to chime in on it between all those rounds of golf, er, I mean working hard to make the Bobcats better by acquiring SJax… Anyways, I fully agree with the man and his always politically correct statements that if they retired his number, they’d probably have to retire at least another five players numbers! His list included Bill Russell, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson to name a few. Not a bad list as none of them has won less than three titles, and all had just as much of an impact on the game as Jordan maybe not financially, but they were all legends.


CJ, Lebron Says you Can’t Wear Your Number Anymore!

CJ Watson shootingLebron imposed his will on the league today, saying that he’s going to petition and have all the players wearing 23 to change their number to a different one as a tribute to Jordan. Apparently he is going to change his number to 6 saying “If I’m not going to wear 23, then nobody else should.”

Seriously Lebron!?! You’re going to make all 11 players on this list change their number from 23!?! CJ Watson on my W’s might not be a big name, but who is Lebron to say he can’t wear the number he wants to? There were some other more marquee names on the list currently wearing 23 which included one of my favorite former Warriors, Jason Richarson. Marcus Camby of the Clippers, and Sacto’s superstar Kevin Martin both sport MJ’s number.

I don’t see CJ putting up much of a fight, since he has changed his number in the past when Chris Webber came back to the team in 2008, and wanted his old number 4, which CJ had no problem changing.

I doubt it will be THAT hard to convince a Jordan worshiping group of players to not wear 23, but I for some reason still find this gesture very odd. Lebron is a student of the game and history so we hear, and this kind of a move has never been done in any sport except baseball. I mean, are we really going to put him on the same level as Jackie Robinson in baseball? Robinson: A guy who broke the color barrier, and helped open the door for millions to succeed in baseball. Jordan: a guy that made traveling legal, a guy that inspired future generations that individuals can overcome a team, a guy that taught us that sports is a business, and that sticking your tongue out is cool. Hmmm, it’s not adding up to me on retiring his number league wide. I’ll let you decide!



Legalize It: Smoking Cigars on SF Courses

Not everyone looks good in floppy hats

Not everyone looks good in floppy hats

For a large percentage of the folks who enjoy the sport, smoking cigars and playing golf go hand-in-hand.  You’ll see guys lighting up a stogie in good weather and in bad, during a good round and through the shanks.  And it seems as though the wealthier the golfer, the more abundant the cigars. 

Which brings me to our subject today, the Honorary Assistant Captain of the US President’s Cup Team, Michael Jeffrey Jordan, “His Airness”.  This weekend the 8th President’s Cup will be hosted at Harding Park in San Francisco, pitting a talented US Team versus an International Team comprised of the top twelve players in the world outside of the US and continental Europe.  Harding Park is a municipal course owned by the Parks and Recreations of San Francisco, and hosting a tournament of this magnitude is a tremendous and distinct honor.  And for Jordan being selected an Honorary assistant to Captain Fred Couples is another great perk for the basketball legend and celebrity. 

Jordan spotted preparing for his role as Honorary Asst. Captain... in Cabo!

Jordan spotted preparing for his role as Honorary Assistant Captain... in Cabo!

Along with being a course of the people comes the laws of the people, specifically health ordinances recently put into play.  Little known fact: San Francisco banned the smoking of cigars (and cigarettes of course) as part of a city-wide ordinance to keep the city parks smoke-free.  And Harding is certainly near the top of the list in terms of kept up Parks in the city.  I’ll also vouch for beautifully kept Fleming, the nine-hole executive course located on the same property between Harding’s front and back nine.

Honorary Assistant Captain Jordan was spotted on Tuesday at Harding in a practice round with a very large stogie simmering away.  Heck we have the pictures to prove it.  Only problem is, if the city wanted to prosecute, the most they could do is send him a ticket for a measly $100.  One would guess Jordan could pay the fine with one of the benjamins he uses to light a new cigar, but he doesn’t, he uses old thousand dollar bills and would have to ask for change.

His Airness after he heard about the $100 fine
His Airness after he heard about the $100 fine

So the debate rages on: Should Jordan obey the order from the city or should he ignore it for this special occasion?  He was asked about the topic and responded by saying he knew it was wrong but thought he could slide by in this situation.  Asked in an interview by PGATour.com how many cigars he would smoke during the week, “I would say (it’s) a three-cigar round. I would try to keep it at a minimum of three.”  That’s right, a MINIMUM of three per day.

After further review, I think the city should uphold its ordinance in this situation, and follow Jordan around the course all week.  If/when he smokes three per day, over the next 5 days, send him 15 tickets at $100 a pop.  For a guy like Jordan this is tip money at most, and in a city like San Francisco his money is more than welcome.  Whether or not I agree with the ordiannce is a different story, but the law is the law!  Reflecting back on his recent Hall of Fame induction speech, Jordan’s not the only one who can leave a bad taste in someone’s mouth…


Tiger the First Billionaire Athlete!

Double Tiger fist pump!

Double Tiger fist pump!

Well, this shouldn’t really come as a shock to anyone, but by Forbes calculations when Tiger won his $10.5 million bonus at the FedEx Cup last weekend he surpassed the $1 billion mark in career earnings. This marks the first time any athlete has reached a billion in overall earnings. Tiger started the year at $895 million, and Sunday’s payout coupled with all the event winnings, sponsors, and his golf course design company Forbes projected he has made over $100 million this season and is now past a billion dollars. He continues to be the highest paid athlete of all time on an annual basis, and it’s not out of reach for him to hit the $3 billion mark before it’s all said and done. He’s has exceeded every expectation by far over his 14 year career, and looks to have a lot left in the tank.

$100K a hole is like me betting $1 a hole

$1 million a hole eh? How many strokes are you giving me Tiger?

I always knew that he was rolling in dough, but until I saw this reported, I didn’t realize how much more he made than all other athletes!

Even Michael Jordan hasn’t achieved this feat, and for some reason I figured he had. I guess his deals in the 90’s weren’t quite as lucrative as Woods’s are now.  Jordan should reach that mark in the next four or five years with his current paychecks still rolling in mainly from Nike. I’m sure when Tiger finally calls it quits he’ll have plenty of crazy money games with MJ!


Michael Jordan at 46 Still Has Game

This clip has been popping up in various places around the web for a bit, with MJ’s recent Hall of Fame speech making headlines, I thought it appropriate to put some context behind those words. Simply put, the man is a KILLER on the basketball court, and he said as much in his induction speech. Take this video of Michael at his Flight School in Santa Barbara, a little innocent smack talk with Slamball super star (is that an oxymoron?) Chris “The Ghetto Bird” Young, leads to a standing reverse dunk, in jeans no less, followed by a quick one on one beat down. If he had to rip your throat out on the court to get a W he wouldn’t blink to do it. Maybe stodgy reporters like Rick Reilly can hate on Jordan these days, but sports fans in the trenches like us will give him is due anytime….Well played MJ shutting up that young buck.  


Air Jordan’s Enshrinement Caps Off a lot of Memories

Michael Jordan First Trophy

His Airness will be enshrined into the Hall of Fame on September 11 in Springfield Mass, and he is undoubtedly the head of this class. He’s probably the greatest competitor and basketball player we’ll see in our lifetime. I don’t think I fully appreciated until I was about 12 years old around the time of his first retirement. Growing up a Warriors fan, I probably didn’t even realize the importance of the playoffs. I honestly couldn’t stand Jordan in my youthful days. I did like his shoes, commercials (Jordan and Bird playing H-O-R-S-E was my favorite), and of course Gatorade. I just despised him because he always won. Maybe that’s why I’ve never really been a Tiger fan, but I would and do watch whenever a great player is displaying their talents. I can’t even fathom how hard they work to be that good.

By the time he was on his way to his second three-peat I started to become a fan, and realized that this was a type of player that we’d never see again.michael jordan rings He was such a competitor that he didn’t let business and pleasure ever come together. He never really befriended his teammates calling them “co-workers”. He decided against playing in a second Olympics, for what many felt were selfish reasons. Jordan showed Barkley in the 92 Olympics how a player works so hard on a daily basis to be at the level he was. Jordan let out some of his secrets that showed other guys in the league what made him great. He payed for it, as Barkley had his best year following those Olympic games. MJ showed Chuck too much of what he did to prepare himself, and Barkley must’ve taken notes winning the MVP over Jordan in that 92-93 season. Never again would Jordan play in the Olympic games. You have to admire a man who goes out of his way to not get to close to teammates or play for a gold medal to avoid showing them what makes him tick.

I looked through his stats awhile back when comparing him to Kobe through the first part of his career, so if you double those that’s about what he ended with. Here’s a few random ones that you don’t always see 30.1 PPG (highest average of all time), 32,292 points (Kareem and Malone had more), 2,514 steals (2nd to Stockton), and the best shoes in the game. We all know about his MVP’s and Championships as well, that dubbed him the greatest of all time. There’s still youtube clips of him tearing it up. It almost looks like he could still play in the NBA. Good thing they don’t count your post career to get into the Hall of Fame, because he is not a good GM or Owner. I guess it would be hard when you expect your players to be as good as you or possibly just doesn’t care.

Also joining him in the very good class of 2009 is John Stockton, David Robinson, and Jerry Sloan. Once again Stockton will be in the shadows of Jordan even being enshrined into basketball immortality. Tough break for short shorts.Hall of Fame 2009 Stockton Jordan Robinson The Admiral won a couple championships and gold medals. Stockton won gold medals, but unfortunately he played his prime in the Jordan era. Jerry Sloan is being inducted, but is still coaching. I never understood this, why induct a coach for coaching if they are still roaming the sidelines?!? I think they should have to wait until 3 or so years pass after they coached their last game to be eligible. It makes so much more sense!


His Airness Vs. The Black Mamba

With the conclusion of the NBA finals, we finally saw Kobe get the” he can’t win without Shaq” monkey off his back. Kobe’s career is far from done, but his window of greatness could be closing as he transitions to the jump shooting phase of his career. I say that for one reason, he has averaged less free throw attempts per game each year for the last three seasons (10+ from 04 to 07, 7.6 in 08, and 5.9 in 09), which makes me think he would rather not take it to the hole, so instead he’s pulling up for jumpers. Has Kobe had enough “greatness” so far to be considered close to Jordan? Kobe is turning 31 over the summer, so this should be a good point in his career to compare what he’s done so far to Jordan at the same age. I don’t think this is going to be close, but we’ll run it by two categories: stats and bio. I can’t say that Kobe’s resume is as impressive as MJ’s, but adding the fourth championship should make it close!

The Stats

His Airness – Jordan at the age of 29, went into retirement after winning three straight Championships with Phil in Chicago. He left the game he ruled to play professional baseball, but many think that it was an undercover suspension for MJ’s gambling habits (I’m a believer in that theory). He was at the top of the game and his resume was impressive at his first retirement winning; 3 MVP’s, 8 first team All NBA awards, 88’ Defensive Player of the Year, 6 first team All Defense awards, and 3 NBA Finals MVP’s. He won the scoring titles every year from 87 to 93. Many felt that in 93 Jordan deserved the MVP, but they were tired of giving it to him, so they gave it to Barkley.

Black Mamba – I’m sure we’re all a little fresher on Kobe’s stat’s to date, but here they are anyways. Keep in mind that MJ took his year off at 30 years old. Which is when Kobe won his 4th Championship, and added his 1st NBA Finals MVP. He also rounded out the resume with 1 League MVP, 2 time scoring champion, 7 first team All Defensive awards, and 7 first team All NBA awards. At this point I don’t think their stats are comparable, but Kobe did win one more championship than Jordan.

The Path

His Airness – Jordan had his struggles coming into the league since he joined a team that basically sucked. He learned how to win in college hitting a NCAA Championship game winner in 1982. The early Bulls teams were terrible, so he had to compensate by forcing it at times. His greatness still allowed them to win and make the playoffs only to be knocked out early (1st or 2nd round) throughout his first five seasons. In his second playoff series, against the 85-86 Celtics, considered by many to be one of the greatest in NBA history, he made his first playoff mark by scoring 63 in one game (still the record). Two seasons later, Jordan won his first MVP, and the defensive player of the year award.

MJ’s first three Championship years were none other than domination. In the first championship run, it was the first time that Jordan realized he had teammates averaging 8.4 assists in the playoffs, and 11.4 in the Finals. Jordan’s stats seemed to go up when he was in the playoffs. He averaged 34.6 Points, 6.8 Rebounds, 6.6 Assists, and 2.3 steals in his first 9 playoff appearances.

Black Mamba – Kobe came into the league a couple of years younger and less experienced, but was put into the starting rotation in his second year at the age of 20, and showed that he would be a star in the league. Already being teamed up with a superstar in Shaq, he had the chance to figure things out in a winning environment, drastically different than Jordan’s early years.  The strike season of 98, shortened Kobe’s first year as a starter to 50 games, but league wide everyone knew that he was going to be a star. The following year Kobe was given the greatest coach of all time in Phil Jackson. With an amazing core, the Lakers would go on to win 3 championships. Kobe would continually increase his all around stats each year, but never won a finals MVP. He became a fixture in the fourth quarter as everyone would wonder when it was going to be “Kobe Time”. At the age of 23, he was the youngest player in the history of the NBA to have three titles.

There wasn’t a fourth championship run, and that’s when Kobe’s struggles started. He wanted to be the “man” in LA, and basically forced the owners to decide what the Lakers future was, him or Shaq. The Lakers chose Bryant as they traded away their star center and gave Kobe the fat wallet he desired. Kobe, was the man and he won scoring titles, but just like Jordan in his early years, he couldn’t really trust his teammates since they weren’t all that good. Kobe was unstoppable, but teams realized he was playing selfishly and just like Jordan didn’t want to pass to a lesser player to let them miss a shot. Kobe’s playoff averages aren’t bad, but comparing them to Jordan’s playoff stats at the same point in his career makes me appreciate just how good Jordan was. Kobe’s playoff stats look like this 25.0 Points, 5.1 Rebounds, 4.7 assists, and .5 steals (His first two seasons totaling 20 games brought down those stats).

Since championships matter most out of all the stats, I guess we can say that Kobe wins! MJ 3 Kobe 4, at the age of 30. There, I said it. I didn’t want to, but I did. This ultimately isn’t a race to win 4 championships though! Kobe still needs two more championships to be standing on the same pedistal as Jordan. He’s going to have to be the Finals MVP for both before I will truly put him in another comparison to Jordan. Looks like Kobe’s got some work to do!