I was born in the 1970s so when I think of all-time greatest athletes I don’t have many years to go on. However, within my lifetime there is one that stood out to me as definitely one of the greatest – his name was Michael Jordan.
I remember I didn’t even start getting into basketball until 1991, probably around April. Chicago was a thriving basketball city for years before this but this year could have been the year. I started watching and before now I hadn’t heard much about this guy named Michael Jordan. But I remember that as I started watching… I liked what I saw. It seemed that he had a command of the game, on both sides of the court. It seemed that he was good, yes, but over time it became obvious that he was great.
As far as career numbers – 32,292 points, 2,514 steals, 5,633 assists, 6,672 rebounds, 83.5% career free throw percentage, 32.7% career 3-point percentage, 49.7% career field-goal percentage. Five-time NBA MVP (most valuable player)… six-time finals MVP… two-time All-Star Game MVP… ten-time member of the All-NBA team… 1984-85 Rookie of the Year… nine-time member of the All-Defensive team… and think those are just the numerical statistics and accolades. This couldn’t even begin to account for the athleticism he possessed on the court, the practice ethic he had, the respect for the game of basketball that he displayed, his camaraderie with teammates and coaching staff, and just overall impact that he had on the game itself.
He is the one people are compared to… the one that legends consider a legend. So why do I consider him one of the greatest athletes? Note, I’m not an aspiring basketball player, or even an athlete for that matter. But I know greatness when I see it. I consider him one of the greatest athletes because I personally have not seen anyone play basketball like him. Considering the era he played in, the people that have come and gone before him, the people that have attempted to take the throne after his retirement… he is still the bar everyone else is expected to pole-vault over.
His name was Michael Jordan. He wore jersey #23. He played for the Chicago Bulls most of his NBA career and retired as a player for the Washington Wizards. He left the game on two separate occasions, won six NBA championships, and had a vast array of teammates, coaches, people, and situations to deal with outside of sports. Even in the midst of all of these things, he had a gift. He showed us greatness through a medium such as basketball where so many these days seem mediocre at best. Am I biased because he played for the team in the city I was born and raised in? Am I biased because he was an African-American like me? I don’t think so. Like I said before… I know greatness when I see it… and I saw it in him.
Source used for this article:
Michael Jordan NBA & ABA Basketball Statistics | Basketball-Reference.com