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5 Controversies in the Life of Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan is known as the Greatest of All Time but nobody is perfect.

The first major Michael Jordan controversy was punching his teammate, Steve Kerr.

The first major Michael Jordan controversy was punching his teammate, Steve Kerr.

1. Punching Steve Kerr

Michael Jordan is one of the most competitive players ever to grace the hardcourt.

He developed this competitive fire while battling his brother Larry on the court his father built.

Michael lost a lot to Larry and he kept trying to improve. When Michael's height and athleticism finally manifested, he began to dominate Larry in their one-on-one match-ups.

Michael was a ruthless competitor. You can be his friend off the court, but when you're on the court, everyone is fair game.

The same goes for teammates. When you are on the opposing team during a scrimmage, Jordan will try to decimate you.

Steve Kerr was a much smaller guy than Michael but he did not back down as he took it to Michael. Things got so heated that Jordan punched him.

This has since become the stuff of legend.


2. The First Retirement

Michael Jordan was on top of the world. He just beat his friend Charles Barkley and won his third straight championship. He had more endorsement deals than you could count. He was the top basketball player on the planet.

All of a sudden, Michael Jordan's father was murdered. Was it a case of a robbery gone wrong or a hit from the mafia due to gambling debts? After all, Jordan was an avid gambler. He could be seen in Atlantic City gambling despite being in a grueling playoff series against the Knicks. Michael often gambled on poker and golf.

Michael Jordan's retirement shocked the basketball world. In an instant, their biggest star was gone.

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3. Leaving Isiah Thomas Off the Dream Team

Isiah Thomas was one of the top point guards of his era and one of the greatest of all time.

Despite his diminutive size, he was fearless against much bigger opposition. He even nearly single-handedly beat the Los Angeles Lakers on one leg.

Isiah was a two-time NBA champion who led the "bad boy" Pistons to three trips to the NBA Finals.

Despite Isiah being more than qualified to be on the Dream Team, he was not part of the squad. The slot instead went to collegiate star Christian Laettner.

It is widely believed that Michael Jordan blackmailed the Dream Team into not selecting Isiah; he wouldn't be on the team if Isiah was. Some blame Scottie Pippen; some blame Magic Johnson.


4. Keeping Quiet About Nike's Unfair Labor Practices

Nike nowadays loves to advertise about social justice. They love to promote gender and race equality.

However, they are huge hypocrites as they have factories in China, Indonesia and Vietnam and do not pay their workers a living wage.

Kathie Lee Gifford, a media personality, tried to get Jordan onboard to oppose sweat shop labor.

Instead of joining the advocacy, Jordan was quoted as saying this instead.

"I heard that Kathie Lee has kind of put me and other people in her fight or whatever," Jordan said. "But I think that's Nike's decision to do what they can to make sure everything is correctly done. I don't know the complete situation. Why should I? I'm trying to do my job. Hopefully, Nike will do the right thing, whatever that might be."

On another occasion, Jordan also promised to investigate the matter but nothing ever came of it.


5. Failure in the Front Office

Michael Jordan is the greatest of all time as a player, but he is a bust as an executive. Jordan got his feet wet with the Washington Wizards. He made some very questionable moves as the head honcho, such as trading promising young player Rip Hamilton and drafting bust Kwame Brown.

Michael's failure in the front office is apparent. Despite adding himself in the lineup, the team still failed to make the playoffs in his two seasons there.

Michael would later end up in the front office of the Charlotte Bobcats and he would not fare any better.

He famously drafted the supposed "next Larry Bird" in Adam Morrison. Morrison turned out to be a bust and any hope of him getting any better were dashed when he had a major injury.

He also drafted Brandan Wright, D.J. Augustin, Gerald Henderson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Cody Zeller and Frank Kaminsky using lottery picks.

Instead of hiring a bunch of "yes men," Michael should have hired competent executives like Jerry West or Danny Ainge.

© 2020 Jan Michael Ong

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