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Why Michael Jordan Is Overrated

Author:

Jesse is a lifelong sports fan with a passion for finding the facts. His writing has been recognized and published by Sports Illustrated.

It looks like a cool picture, but Michael Jordan actually missed this dunk.

It looks like a cool picture, but Michael Jordan actually missed this dunk.

Throughout Michael Jordan's career in basketball, he was seen as an unstoppable force. He won six NBA titles, earned multiple MVPs, scored at will, and saved the Looney Tunes from annihilation. Kids drank Gatorade to be like Mike. Jordan sells more shoes than any other NBA athlete and has perfected his brand. Unfortunately, I personally believe that years of great branding, mainstream success, highlight reels, and nostalgia have created this misinformed idea that Jordan is the greatest player ever. His stats, opponents, and lack of killer instinct say otherwise.

Why Jordan Wasn't Clutch

Let's just get it out of the way: Jordan was not a clutch player. Everyone seems to remember that Jordan was a master clutch, a killer on the court who struck when he smelled blood. The fact of the matter is Jordan's apparent "clutch-gene" is more of a product of our tainted memory than it is supported by numbers. The following stats will show you why:

Jordan's Career, Playoff, and Situational Statistics

Bold numbers indicate areas that Jordan's numbers regressed from his career average.

 Field Goal %Free Throw%Total ReboundsTotal AssitsSteals Per GameBlocks Per GameTurnovers Per GamePoints Per Game

Career Stats

49.7

83.5

6.2

5.3

2.3

.8

2.7

30.1

Playoff Stats

48.7

82.8

6.4

5.7

2.1

.9

3.1

33.4

Finals Stats

48.1

80.6

6

6

1.8

.6

2.4

33.6

Eliminating Opponents

40.7

84.6

4.8

3.2

1.5

.2

1.9

29.8

Facing Elimination

48.1

77.8

7.9

7

1.6

1.3

4.2

32.8

When we look at the numbers, we see that Jordan was a very good defender during his career, scored the ball incredibly well, and, while he scored under 50% of the time, he still found ways to be efficient. However, when we speak about being clutch, it is specifically in the big moments: the playoffs, the finals, or game-winning situations.

When Jordan smelled blood and had the opportunity to eliminate an opponent, he did so 75% of the time, with a record of 30–10. His shooting percentage dropped a whopping 9% in these situations, his rebounds decreased by 1.4, his assists by 2.1, and he had .8 fewer steals and .6 fewer blocks. That doesn't sound like killer instinct to me. In fact, it's more like letting a fish off the hook! He scored less, missed more, played far worse defense, and didn't help the team with assists or rebounds.

When Jordan's back was against the wall and he had to save his season, he was able to save himself 41.7% of the time, with a record of 5–7. When Jordan faced elimination, he shot worse from the field and from the free throw line. He stole the ball .7 fewer times per game, turned the ball over 1.5 more times, and only scored 2.7 more points per game.

His Playoff Record Is Lackluster

When the playoffs and finals came around—games that determine a player's ability to be a champion—Jordan shot a worse percentage from the field and the free throw line. He scored three more points, but he also had fewer steals, fewer blocks in the finals, more turnovers in the playoffs, and rebounded less.

In conclusion, Jordan vastly regressed in some major statistical categories during key moments, even when he had the opportunity to eliminate an opponent or save his own skin. During other vital moments, his stats regressed and rarely improved vastly in the way we would consider a clutch player to do so. Jordan only moved on from a team 75% of the time, and when he faced elimination, he only won 41% of the time.

Jordan also only shot 5–11 on go-ahead shots in the postseason, or 45.5%. Of those five, three were buzzer beaters.

Poll: Clutch Players

Poll: Was Michael Jordan Clutch?

Six teams were added to the league during Jordan's career.

Six teams were added to the league during Jordan's career.

Michael Jordan Played in a Weak League

The 90's was an expansion league. Michael Jordan won his six rings in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, and 1998. He had two three-peat performances that were separated by a short stint in baseball. While many believe this solidifies him as the greatest, they often fail to look at the league surrounding him at the time. Between the years of 1988 and 1995, the NBA expanded. Six teams were added: the Hornets (88), Heat (1988), Magic (1989), Timberwolves (1989), Raptors (1995), and Grizzlies (1995). The following stats cover the time between their creation as a team and their first playoff appearance. They include their overall game record, the number of games played against Jordan, the overall record of Jordan vs. the team in those years, and their playoff record against each other (if applicable).

Charlotte Hornets

First Playoff Appearance: 1993

Overall Game Record, 1988–1993: 140–270

Playoff Record vs. Jordan: N/A

Season# of Games Played Against JordanOverall Record of Jordan vs. Team

88–89

5

4–1

89–90

2

2–0

90–91

5

5–0

91–92

4

4–0

92–93

5

3–2

Miami Heat

First playoff appearance: 1992

Overall game record, 1988–1992: 95–233

Playoff record vs. Jordan: 3 games, 3–0

Season# of Games Played Against JordanOverall Record of Jordan vs. Team

88–89

2

2–0

89–90

4

4–0

90–91

4

4–0

91–92

4

4–0

Magic

First playoff appearance: 1994

Overall game record, 1989-1994: 106–249

Playoff record vs. Jordan: N/A

Season# of Games Played Against JordanOverall Record of Jordan vs. Team

89–90

5

3–2

90–91

2

2–0

91–92

4

3–1

92–93

4

3–1

93–94

1

1–0

Timberwolves

First playoff appearance: 1997

Overall game record, 1989-1997: 192–464

Playoff record vs. Jordan: N/A

Season# of Games Played Against JordanOverall Record of Jordan vs. Team

89–90

2

2–0

90–91

2

2–0

91–92

2

2–0

92–93

2

2–0

93–94

0

 

94–95

2

2–0

95–96

2

2–0

96–97

2

1–1

Raptors

First playoff appearance: 2000

Overall game record, 1995–2000: 135–243

Playoff record vs. Jordan: N/A

Season# of Games Played Against JordanOverall Record vs. Jordan

95–96

4

3–1

96–97

4

3–1

97–98

4

4–0

Grizzlies

First playoff appearance: 2004

Overall game record, 1995–2002: 101–418

Playoff Record vs. Jordan: N/A

Season# of Games Played Against JordanOverall Record vs. Jordan

95–96

2

2–0

96–97

2

2–0

97–98

2

2–0

00–01

1

1–0

01–02

1

0–1

Jordan played in a league that was watered down throughout his career. As the new expansion teams finally got to the playoffs (and many didn't stay long), new teams continued to flood the league. At any given time in his career after 1988, there were at least three teams that had five or fewer years of experience.

Aside from this, the leagues were incredibly top-heavy! After the first expansion of Jordan's career in 1988, the following were the number of teams that had a .500 record or worse:

The league Jordan played in was not very impressive.

Season# of Teams With a .500 Record (or Worse)

88–89

10 of 25 (40%)

89–90

12 of 27 (44.4%)

90–91

14 of 27 (51.8%)

91–92

13 of 27 (48.1%)

92–93

14 of 27 (51.8%)

94–95

13 of 27 (48.1%)

95–96

15 of 29 (51.7%)

96–97

15 of 29 (51.7%)

97–98

13 of 29 (44.8%)

01–02

13 of 29 (44.8%)

02–03

12 of 29 (41.3%)

If you look at the numbers, throughout his career, there were a lot of losers in the league. More specifically, if you look at the six years Jordan won titles, four of them had more losing teams in the league than winning teams.

Poll: Jordan's League and Opponents

Jordan Never Beat a Prime Opponent

When you think of Michael Jordan's biggest rivals, people often think of Larry Bird, the Bad Boys of Detroit, or Magic Johnson. The problem is, Jordan never beat any of these opponents in their prime. In fact, these opponents are some of the only players in MJ's career that could rival his skill and ability as a team. They're the only opponents who could arguably be considered dynasties, had multiple rings under their belt while facing Jordan, or ever challenged him as a player.

Here is the list of Hall of Fame players Jordan faced in the Finals, where Jordan was undefeated:

  • Magic Johnson
  • James Worthy
  • Clyde Drexler
  • Charles Barkley
  • Gary Payton
  • John Stockton x 2
  • Karl Malone x 2

Total: 9 Final face-offs

And here is Jordan's record against every Hall of Fame player he faced in the playoffs:

Jordan's record against every Hall of Fame player he faced in the playoffs.

PlayerJordan's Record Against PlayerPlayerJordan's Record Against Player

Larry Bird

0–2

Dennis Rodman

1–3

Kevin McHale

0–2

Patrick Ewing

5–0

Dennis Johnson

0–2

Charles Barkley

2–0

Robert Parish

0–2

Dominique Wilkins

1–0

Bill Walton

0–2

Alonzo Mourning

3–0

Isaiah Thomas

1–3

Shaquille O'Neil

1–1

Joe Dumars

1–3

Dikembe Mutombo

1–0

Adrian Dantley

0–2

Reggie Miller

1–0

Michael Jordan faced 16 Hall of Famers during the playoffs on 39 occasions. He posted a winning record against six of the 16, a tied record with one, and a losing record with 9 of the 16. His total record in the playoffs against Hall of Fame opponents was 17-22, with 10 of his 17 wins coming against Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley and Alonzo Mourning alone. If you include his Finals appearances, MJ faced 24 Hall of Famers on 48 separate occasions, with a final postseason record of 26–22, or 54%.

The problem with this is that 20% of his entire postseason wins came against three players who never won rings. The biggest issue with Jordan's career is he never beat an opponent of his caliber in their prime. Another knock on his career is that of the fifteen Hall of Fame opponents he faced more than once in the postseason, he only posted a winning record against four.

Larry Bird and the Celtics

Jordan never beat Larry Bird in the playoffs. He faced the Celtics twice in the playoffs, never winning a single game. In his second year, it's understandable that Jordan wouldn't beat a great team that boasted so many Hall of Famers, but the second time he faced the Celtics, it was different. Jordan had posted his greatest statistical season in his third career year, and he had averaged 37.1 points per game, 5.2 rebounds, and 4.6 assists. If Jordan was the greatest ever, shouldn't he have been able to win at least one game against the Celtics that year? Instead, he was swept once again.

The Bad Boys of Detroit (The Pistons)

Jordan's next great nemesis was Isaiah Thomas and the Bad Boys. Jordan faced this team four times in the playoffs during his career, losing his first three meetings and winning the last. Not only did it take Jordan four tries to beat the Pistons, but the year he did, Isaiah Thomas had broken his wrist and never fully recovered. In fact, it was Thomas' worst year of scoring and steals in his career to that point.

Magic Johnson

Jordan actually beat this opponent in their single meeting in the Finals. Unfortunately, Jordan never beat Magic in his prime on the big stage. Magic retired the very next season when he learned he had HIV. In addition, Byron Scott and James Worthy were both dealing with injuries throughout the Finals and even sat during game five against Jordan.

Jordan's Six Rings

While it is impressive that Jordan won six rings in his career, he also did a fair share of losing. Based on the number of teams admitted to the playoffs, if you are knocked out in the first round, you could be ranked at 16th at worst and ninth at best. That ranking goes up to eighth and fifth during the second round. If eliminated during the Conference Finals, you could be ranked fourth at worst or third at best. Losing the Finals obviously means you are the second best team in the league.

Jordan lost in the first round of the playoffs three times, the second round twice, and the conference finals twice. He was first or second in six of his 15 seasons. He was the best in the league 40% of the time, he was third or fourth 13% of the time, he was fifth through eighth 13% of the time, and he ranked ninth and lower 20% of the time.

Seeing how in his three first-round exits he only won one game total, it's easy to say he probably ranked 13th or 14th in the league, being that there were only fourteen teams in the playoffs at the time. Would the greatest player of all time be ranked between five and fourteen at the end of the season a third of the way into his career? Absolutely not.

why-michael-jordan-is-overrated

The End of Jordan's Career

While reading Jordan's placement stats above, you may have thought that the math doesn't add up. That's because 14% of the time, Jordan was on one of the league's worst teams and failed to make the playoffs at all. When Jordan returned to the league for his final two seasons, he failed to make the playoffs in both.

Yes, he was 38 and 39 years old at the time, but shouldn't the greatest player ever be able to make the playoffs at a time when more than half of the league gets in, especially when he's a seasoned veteran champion? He only won 37 games in each of those final seasons, needing only 42 to get into the playoffs in both. It was a sad career ending for a man who was once an offensive force to be reckoned with.

Why Jordan Isn't the GOAT

Jordan was a great player, let me make that clear. I believe he's one of the best players, the best scorer ever, and a great competitor who changed the game. However, he unfortunately didn't excel and overachieve when big games came around: he played in a weak league, he never beat an opponent on his level in their prime, he was regularly beaten by those who challenged his greatness, and he failed to make the playoffs at the end of his run.

I believe that all of this adds up to a great player who wasn't challenged enough in his career to be boasted as the greatest ever. Players like Kareem, Bird, Magic, and LeBron James all had to face dynasties at various points of their careers, sometimes on multiple occasions! The argument will never be settled, but don't allow the cloud of sentiment and nostalgia to blur the truth of the matter: Jordan was a great player, but he is still overrated.

Poll: Who is the Greatest of All Time?

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© 2018 Jesse Unk

Comments

Kristal MacLeod on September 20, 2020:

Bird is theWord = GOAT.

Paul Burt from san pedro on September 01, 2020:

Johnny Kilroy - You mad bro?

Geezus.....

Paul Burt from san pedro on July 31, 2020:

A significant factor omitted/not considered from the conversation/discussion along this topic line, is the long ago abandoned "Territorial Pick" - Look it up, and how it worked, because Auerbach was well aware of who Wilt was - and his untouchable capabilities - as far back as Wilt's sophomore year at Overbrook High School.

Beginning with the summer following his freshman year in high school, Wilt worked a summer job at Kutsher's resort in the Catskills, a a place all of the top shot callers - Auerbach being the largest of them - in east coast basketball circles, advised their prospects to get jobs at, as one of the "activities" involved basketball games set up by aficionados like Aurebach, that pitted the staff playing against one another in organized tourneys that lasted thru the summer season. Today, we can only IMAGINE what these games of epic proportions would have been like to watch.

Point being, had the Territorial Pick not been in place at the time, Auerbach and the Celtics - the wealthiest franchise at the time - would have - without fail - made the moves necessary, in order to either procure Wilt's services once he became age-eligible.

Tony on July 30, 2020:

In the series against Boston, Jordan is only awarded 2 free throws on the foul behind the 3 point line. That game would have been won and the series would have looked different.

Tony on July 30, 2020:

And MJ. missed a year do to injury and 2 years in his prime.

Sure he had some missteps but clearly the greatest of all time.

Christian J Camlin on July 03, 2020:

Read this today after seeing it yesterday but not having time then and was disappointed because I agree with your point but your reasoning is, pardon me no offense intended but it is P*ss poor. The Jazz and Knicks teams of the 90's were extremely good. As Were the Pistons,Blazers and Sonics. The Lakers had to rebuild. But the Spurs were a perennial contender that broke through in 1999 with the Advent of Tim Duncan the only constant in 5 Spurs titles. And if the mid 90's Rockets were not a force who was. To expect anything from a pre Scotty and Horace, Jordan is ludicrous. Until about Scottie's 3rd season, the Bulls were a joke. It was a miracle. that the 1989 Bulls an 8th seed beat the 1 seeded Cavaliers in the Spring of 1989. What was more clutch than Jordans hitting the "Shot" to beat a far better Cavaliers club that switched out Ehlo and a young pre-surgery Ron Harper on him and still got beat. Your Definition of Clutch misses one small thing.The Playoffs are harder than the regular season. You face tougher competition and can't roll up your stats on tanking lottery teams. Most players see their shooting numbers drop because good teams play defense. You Clearly do not remember how dominating the late 80's early 90's Pistons were. They were one of the best defensive teams to ever play. Rodman, Dumars, Edwards, Thomas, Laimbeer,Salley, Mahorn, Greenwood and others. were all phenomenal defenders. And Even Vinnie Johnson and Mark Aguirre were solid on defense after Chuck Daly got hold of them. Certainly the 80's were a glamorous era but the influx of European talent in the 90's made up for the the effect expansion had on the product. The best players usually see their scoring averages rise because the coach leaves them in more minutes but they have to earn their points.The Regular season is a Demonstration. The Playoffs are a brawl. Endurance and conditioning reveal stamina or lack thereof. Jordan certainly is in the conversation for best Guard ever with Magic, The Big O, Kobe, Jerry West. But for sheer dominance no player Dominated or changed the league more than Wilt Chamberlain. His Career averages of 30 points and 20 rebounds a game have never been matched and may never be touched.Everyone assumes that Wilt was just so much bigger than everyone else he could dominate that ignores the facts. Chamberlain ran track at Kansas and he was fast enough and jumped far enough he could have made the Olympics in that. He mostly played at a weight from 270-280 with not an ounce of fat. The foul line was created because he was dunking foul shots because of his leaping ability. He Even led the NBA in assists 1 season. The knock on Wilt was that he only won the title twice. All I can Say is thisthe late 50's and full 600's Celtics were consistently the best and deepest team ever asembled. Most seasons they carried 7 to 9 Hall of Fame players. And a few NBA Coaching Hall of Famers to round them out. In the late 60's they won the title twice with 6 Hall of Famers and twice with 5. In 1963 they carried 9 players who were Hall of Famers. Losing to the Juggernaut that was the 1960's Celtic is no shame. In his final 5 years with the Lakers Chamberlain carried them to 4 NBA finals.They beat the 1972 knicks with 6 Hall of Famers in 5 games. But those same Knicks beat them in 1970 and 1973. Those teams also had Superstar Dick Barnett who P*ssed of the NBA brass and writers by going to a rival league and winning a title in Cleveland. Barnett woukld be in the Hall of Fame if not for that. Losing to them 2 out of 3 was no shame even though both teams were loaded. And losing to Bill Russells Celtics in Russel's final season was not exact horrible either. Chamberlain hurt his image by revealing his promiscuous lifestyle. But that did not reflect his play. And Chamberlain was not the only big guy when he played in the NBA. Most of his career ther weretaller guys in the NBA. What set Chamberlain appart was that he had a guards speed and passing skills to go with his superhuman strength.No player like that has yet played in the NBA after him. I'd argue thar Russell, Robertson, West, Bryant and Kareem matched Jordan but Wilt stands alone. And Wilt spent 10 years being Triple teamed because it was normal then. Today that would be illegal Defense and Wilt would have owned the league.

Naw on May 28, 2020:

So tempted to jump in this, but gotta pass.

Corey on May 25, 2020:

My g, MJ is NOT Overrated, Lebron is! People say, oh Lebron made 8 straight finals appearances, when actually he played abasi t teams he was SUPPOSED TO BEAT. U are obviously a bronsexual, MJ is not overrated, Scottie was underrated and overrated to in a way also. People forget Scottie defense, but they also overlook his FG percentage in the last 3 finals, u are also biased, because u have never watched MJ, and u said all that matter is statistics, which is not true. People forgot in 2014 finals when Lebron had those good scoring games, they forget that Lebron checked into the game when the Heat we’re getting blown out by the old spurs with Tony Parker being the best player on that team, he had only 20 points, and then he added 26 points. Lebron runs his own offense, and also handpicks his team and

made Kevin love and Chris Bosh his spot up shooters, and Kyrie his second option to take turns with, Lebron has had more teammates in the hall of fame and has had more scoring teammates, also MJ has beat more 60 win teams in the playoffs and faced u also said MJ is not clutch which is completely false! Tell me when Lebron ever made a game winner to win his last championship and score his teams last what, 6 points? Also nobody brings this up, Lebron May have more DEFENSIVE REBOUNDS, but MJ has had more OFFENSIVE REBOUNDS!!!!! That is RIDICULOUS when Lebron has played in more than 200 games over MJ and more seasons than him. My opinion, an offensive rebound is better than an uncontested rebound

gypo o'leary on May 18, 2020:

Michael Jordan is overrated because after he came back from baseball the refs let him travel. They allowed MJ to subtly change his pivot foot before he drove for the basket. After his baseball adventure it was blatant, the guy probably averaged 6+ a game on what were actually traveling.

Because the falloff of ratings when he was gone, they made it easy for the big star to look good. In honesty, when Bird and Barkley got older, they both got the same preferential treatment.

If you've ever balled, you understand how it becomes impossible to guard a guy if he can shift his weight to his other leg and quickly change his pivot foot before the ball hits the ground. It is very hard to notice it happening. He got away with a slight shuffle of the feet and was able to go either direction explosively by doing it. At his level with his skill it just makes him impossible to drive.

LIke I said, Bird did it, Barkley did it...but Jordan was doing it all the time.

Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on May 09, 2020:

JM,

You make good points, but you say the "only" HOFers MJ had were Dennis and Scottie. That's 3 on one team. After the Pistons broke up MJ never faced another team in the postseason with 3 or more HOFers except LA, and Worthy was hurt/missing during the series. LeBron has faced 3 or 4 HOFers in 8 of his 9 Finals appearances. How exactly do you see that as MJ playing in the better league when you yourself said today teams are built with the best players together instead of sporadically spread amongst the league?

JM on May 09, 2020:

The only HOF's that was on the team with Jordan was Scottie and Dennis. Scottie was on the team and like I said in my first post got better and became an HOF. The Larry Bird Celtics is the only team MJ did not beat. Every other team he faced and beat had future HOF on the team. Lebron has been through nothing in comparison to MJ. The league is weak. If MJ was playing now he would average 50 points a game easily. I have no idea what you are talking about the teams that Lebron has faced. The league is weak and all teams are doing the same thing, loading up with the best players on one team. This all started when Garnet and Ray went to Boston to join up with Pierce. Then Lebron and Bosh goes to Miami to join up with Wade. I was so happy when an aging Dirk and Jason Kidd beat them. Anyone that is a true basketball fan and appreciate true competition hates what they see now in the NBA. You have a bunch of actors flopping all over the place instead of playing the game. They should be given Academy and all other acting awards for their performances. I am also one to admit that without Phil Jackson MJ still may have won, but maybe not 6 rings or the way he won them. Phil is the best coach ever to coach the game. Kobe and Shaq did not win until he came on the scene.

Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on May 08, 2020:

JM,

Jordan never had to face teams like LeBron. When he did (Celtics and Pistons) he lost. In fact hes the only team after the Lakers who had 3 hall of famers during his time. He averaged a whole HOF teammate more than his opponents during his postseason career. LeBron has faced 3 HOFers MINIMUM in the Finals 8 of 9 times. Averages less All star and HOF teammates than his postseason opponents. Jordan had the lucky break of getting great teammates and the best coach ever and conpetition that wasn't on par with them.

JM on May 08, 2020:

Jordan is hands down the best to play the game. The only player that comes close to how he played the game was Kobe Bryant. Lebron cannot even be in this discussion because of how he went about trying to win. He had to join up with other players in order to get it done. As much as Detroit kicked Jordan behind, he stayed right there and got better. The team got better as well and they won. You also have to look at the caliber of players Jordan played against. He played against legitimate shot blockers. He always had someone waiting for him at the rim. Lebron had no opposition at the rim. Most of the time the lane opened up for him. I cannot remember one time someone really put Lebron on the floor or him getting a hard foul. The league is weak when comes to players playing real defense without flopping all over the place. Lebron is a good talent, but he is no where near Jordan nor should be considered the goat. If you are watching the Last Dance, this should seal it. Look at what he went through and he did not whimper and complain. He did what he had to do to overcome and he won. His record in the finals is 6-0. What is Lebron's record with him joining up with other super stars to win. He has now joined up with AD again to stack the odds in his favor. He is not nor ever will be the goat.

John on May 06, 2020:

Charles Barkley was literally the MVP the year Jordan and the Bulls beat him.. thats literally his prime and Jordan beat them.. Stat wise, going into advanced stats/metrics, Jordan is at the top of all of them. You love numbers and statistics I don't know how you could go against MJ except for nit picking a couple stats like him declining .7 percent in a stat that is skewed just to fit your narrative.. Looks like the 2000+ people have made their votes and you sir made this post just to be proven wrong by public opinion.

Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on April 17, 2020:

Jbf,

You seem to think the words "overrated" and "bad" are somehow synonymous.

Jbf on April 16, 2020:

Legit, you should have your right to be a journalist revoked. Jordan was overrated?? My lord, just when you think you can't see or hear anything any dumber i come across this gem. I certainly won't take you seriously ever again. Thanls for the warning.

Paul Burt from san pedro on April 10, 2020:

Hey Jesse, pay no attention to the likes of Alek Hadadan, as he's just another of the under 40 stat nut group who never witnessed the level of competition a 17 team NBA provided nor any of the real GOAT's play live when in their primes. Yeah, Bill Walton, that Bill Walton, the three time - would have been four but freshman were ineligible for varsity play - NCAA National Player of the Year. Put Jordan in the Western Conference during his championship years, and his numbers come way down, playing night in and night out against KJ, Hardaway, Magic, Drexler, Payton et al as opposed to the Craig Ehlo's of the East.

I'd remind this Hadadan youngster, that Jordan was in Chicago five full seasons, before the Bulls made it past the Eastern Conf finals, and that milestone reached, only after the franchise acquired a true center in Bill Cartwright.

Due to the presence of Wilt Chamberlain, basic rules of the game were changed. No other player, coach, official, franchise front office administrator nor NBA commissioner can make that claim....Watch some film, fool!

Alek Hadadan on April 09, 2020:

Jesse Unk you should never write an article about the NBA again.

First of all magic was in his prime he won mvp the previous year and was only 31.

He had a losing record against Celtics in his first 2 seasons. The fact you count Bill Walton it in shows your'e a moron.

If you're gonna put bill Walton then add chris mullin in 1998 and Shawn kemp in 1996 who was a 5 time all star in the 90s

Some of those expansion teams actually become great teams in the 90s especially the hornets and heat who he beat. Heat had Tim Hardaway who will be in the hall of fame soon, and alonzo mourning.

He avg 41 ppg against the suns in the 1993 finals against the Barkley who was the MVP that season.

Lebron lost 2011 nba finals while only avg 17 ppg and scoring 8 points in game when he had wade and bosh both in there primes against a 32 year old Dirk. GOAT MY ASS.

Against the pistons in 1990 Game & Scottie pippin barely played and scored only 2 points .

You skewed your numbers. He lost to Celtics and pistons that's it. He lost to the Celtics his 2nd and 3rd year. He beat (Magic, karl Malone, John Stockton, Clyde drexler, Shaq(1-1), Penny Hardaway(1-1) Mutombo, Alonzo Mourning,Tim Hardaway Reggie Miller, Patrick Ewing, Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp.

Jordan only lost to Bird, Mchale, Parish, Bill Walton, DJ= on the same team.

Then Pistons team who also had 5 hall of famers but eventually beat them while they were still in there prime and actually swept them in 1991.

Jordan has 6 finals mvp no other player has more than 3.

10 time scoring champion a record that will never be broken.

Think about how many hall of famers and all stars didn't win a championship cause of Jordan.

Against I can't think of 1 guy who didn't win cause of Lebron except Paul George.

He lost in 2009 magic team whose only all star was Dwight Howard. Jordan never lost to any team in the playoff who only had 2 or less all stars

Daniel Fiedler on April 05, 2020:

How about instead of posting bogus “clutch stats” you post NBA finals clutch stats. Clutch points at the biggest stage in basketball. With the score within 5 points in the last 5 minutes of the game MJ has scored 127 points, shooting 47.8%. Lebron in the last 5 minutes with the score within 5 points has only scored 76 points on 31.3%. Plus Jordan was near 50% on shots to tie or win a game and Lebron is at 30%. Jordan is widely known as the most clutch player in history and no it’s not because we’ve been twisted into thinking this. To me and most other people that define “clutch”, clutch doesn’t mean your shooting % in an entire game, it means when the score in the game is the close in the finals deciding minutes of the game, are you going to hit key shots to get your team the lead? And Jordan did it every time. Jordan is the most clutch player ever

Tim Woten on March 30, 2020:

The article should have ended when you said Jordan was successful in eliminating his opponents 75% of the time, with a record of 30-10. Less stats in different situations don't tell the story at all. You should know that. It also means the games were tougher for any reason as long as he still won.

Anyone could spin something like this in any direction they wanted while giving thousands of examples inbetween.

Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on January 15, 2020:

Paul Dee,

Great analysis. Youre absolutely right on many of your points. I dont disagree that Jordan is great, this article is mostly to show he isnt untouchable as many people claim. I believe hes interchangable between 1-3, but I believe Kareem and LeBron are in the conversation. The common idea that he is hands down, no argument, the best is what I challenge when I say "overrated." Thanks for reading.

Paul Dee on January 15, 2020:

Your losses to Hall of Famers numbers are incredibly skewed. Rodman, Dantley, Dumars, and Thomas were all on the Bad Boy Pistons. Jordan was 1-3 against them, but instead you added it all up and counted it as 3-11. Bird, Parish, Walton, McHale, and Johnson were all the same team. Jordan was 0-2 against the Celtics, but for some reason you counted that as 0-10. You also counted Walton, who was in the twilight of his career and came off the bench to average a combined 13 minutes and 5 points per game against the Bulls, yet you counted it against Jordan all the same.

Adjusting those skewed numbers, Jordan is 21-6 in career playoff games against teams with at least one HOFer on them. That looks much better, doesn't it?

Also, on the topic of the Celtics, those Bulls teams were terrible. They snuck into as a 8th seed both times purely because they had Jordan and got swept by the top seeded Celtics both times despite, as you acknowledged, historically good efforts from Jordan. That was to be expected since the Celtics had 5 HOFers on those teams and the 2nd best player on the Bulls was either Charles Oakley or John Paxson. So to answer your question, "If Jordan was the greatest ever, shouldn't he have been able to win at least one game against the Celtics that year?" the answer is no, absolutely not. Scottie Pippen joined the Bulls the next year, and naturally everything changed.

"20% of his postseason HOF wins came against 3 players who never won rings." And why did they never win rings? Because their primes coincided with the 90s Bulls, and the 90s Bulls were that much better. Basketball is a team sport. The fact that they never won rings does not take away from how great Ewing, Barkley, etc. were.

Finally, you neglected to account for human bias and did not use any analytics in your argument. Michael Jordan has the highest PER of all time at 27.9. He also has the highest playoff PER of all time at 28.6. So, he was the best ever in the regular season and still elevated his game in the playoffs. Looking at similar advanced stats usually tell the same story, with Jordan either #1 or 2nd to Lebron. In my mind, the analytics are checkmate.

Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on January 09, 2020:

Troy,

I agree. Many teams' records were raised after beating up on the 6 expansions. Some of those teams were winning 20 games a year. They were pathetic for half a decade.

Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on January 08, 2020:

Justin,

I wouldn't call a comprehensive look at an entire career nitpicking, but opinions have ruled over facts before. Thanks for reading.

Troy Johnson on January 08, 2020:

The argument about Jordan "only" playing 18 games in 86 against the Celtics is backwards. Jordan, was probably at an advantage. Much like Leonard was last year. 18 games was enough to shake of the rust not to mention the fact that he had fresher legs. And he definitely benefitted from expansion as did the Utah Jazz. The Jazz during Malone and Stockton's prime years averaged 52 wins yet averaged over 60 wins and made it to the finals as old men. The only way to explain this is that the league was watered down. If Jordan's teams would have had to face say for instance the 1985 Lakers, forget it. They would have gotten crushed. The 1988 Jazz would have beaten the 96 Bulls. Didn't they go 7 against the Knicks? Truth be told the refs cheated the Knicks the year they were up 2-0 against the Bulls. Talk about phantom calls!

Justin Abelman on January 07, 2020:

It is an interesting article coming from such a different angle than most but it is very forced in my opinion. You can focus in on and exaggerate negative points of anything to twist a narrative.. I guarantee you that you could make the same article with different points for whoever you do think is the GOAT.

Just hard to argue more than anything with his dominance just watching basketball but maybe all you see is stats. He wasn’t perfect, when you play 82 games for so many years of course there’s going to be some down moments and flaws for any human.. like I said you could take this same negative approach with any great before or after him.

Where your argument really falls apart.. well a large large majority of those incredible players I speak of before and after Jordan almost all recognize him as the greatest to ever touch a basketball. I think that alone says more than any stat or situation. Might trust those guys a little more than your nitpicking.

Either way good try sincerely.

Dark man X on January 02, 2020:

And further more what in the heck are you talking about the 90s was FAAAAR from a weak era lol. There are SOOO many shooters and COACHES ALLOWING THEIR GUYS TO SHOOT. There is much more spacing now than ever before.. Which is why a guard like Westbrook can get 30 a night by taking his man 1 v 1 and dunking right down the lane.. That’s a no go in 90s basketball and whatever the players lacked in “talent” (Since idiots love to believe that as well) they made up for in physicality! Idc how talented you are if you get clocked in your face you’ll think twice about running down that lane. Once again you making up things to better your argument.. Many people believed that Charles Barkley was on the same level as MJ as far as taking over a game!,

Not sure on how he was expected to beat 2 dynasties without the help those other legends you mentioned had lost to bird and bad boys before Pippen , vs Magic and Bird with arguably the best starting 5s of all time cmon man this is a joke lol

Dark man X on January 02, 2020:

I’m a firm believer in being mislead by statistics first of all , MOST of that bad boys pistons team was 1-3 yrs older than MJ not a significant drop off.. Secondly most of the players you put on that list played together, MJ in 86 played 18 regular season games and came back for the playoffs do your numbers tell that? Numbers don’t show chemistry do they? There was times MJ would miss the first 7 shots of the 4th and WHEN IT COUNTED HE MADE IT! How about you show those numbers too,

Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on December 29, 2019:

Paul,

I appreciate the kind words and even deeper insight and addition to the piece! Thanks for reading.

Paul Burt from san pedro on December 29, 2019:

Great compilation, excellent piece!

Several years ago, some stat nut who never witnessed the level of competition a 17 team NBA provided, decided that Bill Russell - the consensus for decades with 11 rings - was no longer the GOAT and simply transferred that title to Jordan via ignorance. Anybody who witnessed a prime Kareem, Wilt, or even - when healthy - Bill Walton, knows the center position is the trunk of the tree, the step back, no hand check, travel-free shooters of today like to think they've changed the game notwithstanding. Let us recall that Jordan was in Chicago for six seasons before the Bulls made it past the Eastern Conference Finals, and only then, after that franchise acquired a true pivot man in Bill Cartwright. By contrast, Magic won a championship his rookie year, after nearly single-handidly demolishing the 76ers while playing all three positions on the floor, at Philadelphia. This, while further embarrassing not only Caldwell Jones and Darryl Dawkins, but Hall of Famer's Julius Erving and Bobby Jones - in the game 6 finale.

Jordan embarrassed Magic in the 90/91 Finals and Magic isn't compelled to leave the league that summer like he did, the Lakers would have been right back there for some Bull's behind for the 91/92 championship.....

Keep up the great work.

Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on December 28, 2019:

Ryan,

Magic is the only player in the talent range of MJ that you mentioned. It's the equivalent of saying LeBron did away with Paul George his whole career. No one cares about them. When he faced similar talent he faltered. LeBron has victories over two all-time dynasties. Jordan is 1-6 against dynasties.

Ryan on December 28, 2019:

Once again, Jordan stopped Magic, John Stockton, Karl Malone, Clyde Drexler, Charles Barkley, essentially by himself. Lebron needed 15 all stars just beat a Magic Team led by an injured Dwight Howard.

Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on December 25, 2019:

Ryan,

Yes but who did he beat? When he faced powerhouse teams with Big 3s or Big 4s he lost. He never faced a finals opponent that stood a chance. He has more rings, but his rings weren't earned by beating talent of his skill level or a culmination of top talent. LeBron has losses, but they're against all-time dynasties and he has wins over the Warriors and Spurs. The Mavericks is the only true spot on his resume thats bad, and that team was incredibly hot and cut through the west also. Jordan never beat a team on par with the Spurs or Warriors.

Ryan on December 25, 2019:

As said again, the reason why Michael Jordan is labeled as great as he is, is due to his pure basketball skill and poise. Contrary to your belief, not everything is based on stats. Exactly why James Harden and Russell Westbrook are looked down upon. When you sW Michael Jordan play, it was seeing the magic he could do on the court, that no one else could do. If he wasn’t great, no way would he have 6 championships, won 1 without an all-star in 1991. You don’t play for the stats, you play to win.

Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on December 14, 2019:

Ryan,

This article has nothing to do with LeBron. Jordan played in one of the weakest eras ever, with all super teams retiring away after beating him minus the Lakers who you can reference above. The HOF talent he beat is abysmal compared to the players he lost to, and his stats in win or go home games pale compared to his regular stats, thus the lack of killer instinct.

In fact all your issues are clearly laid out and backed by stats above. Im not sure if you need to read it again or if you just skimmed, but maybe find some facts to disprove mine, because all of mine are well documented.

Ryan on December 14, 2019:

All of your criticisms are nitpicks of either a super young Mike or a super old Mike. You really think that Michael Jordan isn't the greatest player to ever step foot on a basketball court?

You say he has a "lack of killer instinct" I don't know what the fuck you're looking at, but that is just flat out false. He's never been to a game 7 in the Finals. You say his opponents were weak, yet you leave in that he was beat by a Hall of Fame Celtics team as a young player. Contradicting statement? Even with the expansion teams, it's exactly like Lebron dominating a weak east for 10 straight years. Numerous sub .500 teams were in the playoffs, yet you call MJ "overrated" for easily defeating those teams, yet Lebron gets a pass?

Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on December 13, 2019:

Ryan,

If you found my only criticism after he was 40 then you need to work on your reading comprehension.

Ryan on December 13, 2019:

The only points you bring up, are degrading Jordan when he was 40 years old Washington. Jordan is one of 5 guards to win the DPOY, and he averaged 30ppg. This dude averaged 40 in the finals. Won in 91’ without any allstars. If you watch Mike, you’ll see how skilled he was. Unlike Lebron, Jordan had the will to win, and didnt need to run to any other team. Its clear you never watched any game, hell, even highlights of Jordan.

Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on December 13, 2019:

Ryan,

Feel free to debunk whenever you see fit. Im not sure how you can debunk the facts above though. All are cited and checkable at your leisure.

Ryan on December 12, 2019:

Had to make an account just to debunk this fool. So much is wrong with this post, you'd think it's a troll.

Rod Harper on December 05, 2019:

Jesse try again, stop the false equivalencies attempt. Are you really trying to compare what Michael Jordan had as teammates to Magic,Bird,Russell,and others? Scottie is the only other player on all the Bulls championship teams. Rodman added rebounding and defense but added no scoring threat. Dr J had one future hall of famer already in Maurice Cheeks but needed another to win a championship. Mike had 3 before Rodman showed up right? As for Lebron he lost with a super team of his own creation. Mike beat 3 hall of famers and came within a game of beating 4 right? Please try again both of you.

Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on December 05, 2019:

ThotKing36,

Thanks for reading!

ThotKing36 on December 04, 2019:

Jordan was overrated for sure, I wanna thank Jesse on finally being brave enough to expose the bald-headed,gambler. Half the people that say he's the GOAT have never watched a full game of his. He always had the better team in the finals and when he left to "pursue" his baseball career his team only won 2 less games without him. While on the other hand a player like LeBron was much more valuable to his team as proven by the 2018 Cavs and the 2011 Cavs and the 2015 Heat. So before yall reply go and watch some of his full games because he played against car washers and plumbers.

Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on October 21, 2019:

Rod,

He had at LEAST one hall of famer for each of his rings. Of course he needed HOFers to win!

Rod Harper on October 21, 2019:

Shouldn't Bird have met him with the same McHale and Parish when he got help? Should McHale and Parish have been able to beat the Hornets the first time they were in the playoffs ever? Kareem went how long between championships? He did jack without help right? Wilt won a whopping 1 championship with way more than Mike had. Russell played in a completely different era, apples and oranges from the 90's. His Celtics would get run over in the 90's especially by the greatest team ever, the 72-10 Bulls. That same one that you can't name a team to challenge them. You did look up Michael Jordan vs Sidney Moncrief and Michael Cooper correct? So I am waiting for your opponent. Will it be the 86 Celtics, the Showtime Lakers, Fo,Fo,Fo Sixers? It doesn't matter because that same watered down NBA team beats them. Michael Jordan didn't need a cast of Hall of Famers to win championships. That is why Mike is the greatest of all time.

Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on October 20, 2019:

Rod,

You're right. When he got help. Shouldnt the greatest of all time be able to pull a win at least? The league was absolutely watered down, two great teams out of 30 doesn't change that. You're proving my point further. Im not saying he wasnt great, but hes overrated as this "untouchable #1 all time" player. He isnt.

Rod Harper on October 18, 2019:

So when he got some help, did he not torch Sidney Moncrief? Who was in his 20's when his ass whippings started and continued. He torched Michael Cooper repeatedly as well, please look this up. How many times did he get a W when Scottie started showing his abilities? So the Bad Boy Pistons didn't have the Jordan Rules? They smoked him right, that's why they mugged him right? I think you need to watch that Bad Boys 30 for 30 again and listen very closely to Mark Aguirre. Once again it's not Michael Jordan's fault the Celtics couldn't meet the Bulls when Michael Jordan had help. They were so great in a watered down league right?

Eddie on October 15, 2019:

Jordan got smoked by real competition.

Rod Harper on September 23, 2019:

You love mentioning the celtics when Michael Jordan had no help. When the celtics beat those bulls teams. They were a far cry from the championship teams correct? Because Scottie was a great player, teams couldn't double team Michael Jordan. If the Bulls got destroyed, there would have been no need for the Jordan Rules. You keep living on pre Scottie I see. You do that for a reason. How convenient you gloss over the fact when Scottie came into his own, the Celtics couldn't advance to meet them. You also overlook what Larry Bird said about Scottie. You keep speculating because you don't want to face the FACT that Michael Jordan with help is the greatest. Did Michael Jordan's Bulls not sweep Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars and Dennis Rodman? That's 3 hall of famers correct? They also beat Magic and Worthy, 2 Hall of Famers considering Worthy played 4 of those 5 games. Chris Mullin and Reggie Miller, both hall of famers right? You are using basing this solely on your opinion and your convenient memories. What teams match up well with the championship bulls teams? Give me the 72-10 bulls, who matches up?

Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on September 22, 2019:

Rod,

I think plenty of those teams could compete with those Bulls. Anytime Jordan and the Bulls faced teams with multiple HOF talents they got destroyed. They beat the Pistons ONCE in a year where they had lost Dantley and IT was recovering from his wrist. Then they broke up. Celtics swept them repeatedly. Then they never faced a trio of talent again. They got to beat up the Knicks and Cavs every year and people act like they were great teams. I think the Spurs easily could have competed with them, as well as the Kobe and Shaq teams. Just because you say they couldnt doesnt make it so. Youre all speculation, how about arguing any of the facts listed above?

Rod Harper on September 22, 2019:

So the bad boy pistons won both of their championships with 4 of the 6 expansion teams. That seems to be glossed over but okay. What team from the 2000's outside of the Kevin Durant warriors or the 2003 pistons even give the bulls a series? Outside of the Showtime Lakers the 80's aren't looking too good as opponents. Please don't give me the 72-10 Bulls because it really becomes quite difficult. The 86 Celtics don't match up well. Definitely not the fo,fo,fo Sixers. Michael Jordan repeatedly torched Michael Cooper and Sidney Moncrief when he got help. Scottie coming into his own makes the Bulls more dangerous. The Bad Boy Pistons only won that game 7 was because Scottie had a migraine. Kobe and Shaq's Lakers get obliterated quite easily. So does every Spurs team. Who hangs with the Bulls? Please let me know. Remember Scottie is 50 greatest on his own skills.

Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on September 21, 2019:

Rod,

The whole league had boosted records that made the top heavy teame appear better than they were. Were there some solid teams? Sure. But 3 or 4 good teams doesnt trump an expansion league of terrible teams.

Rod Harper on September 21, 2019:

A weak league is the reason the spurs won multiple championships. It is also the reason Kobe and Shaq had their run. What team do you want to compare to the 90's bulls? The fo,fo,fo Sixers? That's a joke and it's hilarious? Any of those celtics teams? The showtime Lakers perhaps? The Bad Boy Pistons maybe? There were great teams in the 90's. The Blazers, Jazz, Rockets, Knicks were really good. They just didn't have Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.

Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on September 20, 2019:

Lu,

Someone smells like they cant come up with a counter argument to disprove this slew of facts presented before them.

Lu on September 19, 2019:

Someone smells like a millenial

Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on September 01, 2019:

Irwin,

How is 6 new teams in a league that just lost Kareem, Bird, and Magic not a weak league? It certainly wasnt stronger than the 80s before it or the 2000s after.

Irwin Jamss on August 27, 2019:

Man talk about a failed troll post and matt you are an idiot

90s were never a weak league

Rod Harper on August 13, 2019:

So Michael Jordan with no help couldn't beat the celtics in the playoffs. Yet you don't the fact that when they could have had another series the celtics failed repeatedly. When Scottie started showing his true potential the bulls won in the playoffs. You like comparing apples and oranges I see. So since you want to make it an issue. The McHale and parish celtics couldn't beat those watered down nba hornets in the playoffs? Was bird their everything? Michael Jordan also never lost a series to the Cavs nor the New York Knicks much less swept by the Knicks and the mike never dropped a series to the Hornets. Either the 90's was watered down or the celtics were old. You can't have both. Because you contradict yourself. So the Jordan Rules weren't a thing? Was that not created because Michael Jordan was killing the Pistons? Funny how that's overlooked. It's like you guys don't like looking at a full picture. The Pistons changed everything because of their fear of one player? He was overrated so why would there be a need for the Jordan Rules? Let's look at the Bird's celtics finals victories. You beat above average rockets teams twice. They had 2 incredibly green big men and not much else. Did that second Rockets team get to the finals becaue of a defensive brain fart? You did beat the Lakers once. How many L's did Magic give you? I guess you don't fair well against teams that are remotely evenly matched. So the 72-10 Bulls couldn't beat the 86 celtics? Who's guarding 33 in red? Heck who's guarding ron harper? Dennis Johnson is far overmatched. You can't put Dennis johnson on Michael Jordan that's totally unfair. So who is guarding him? You have to put bird on mike but you can't Dennis johnson or danny ainge nor scott wedman on scottie so that's dead. You think your bench is deep until scottie pippen puts you in matchup hell. Stop the foolishnes please.

Matt on July 31, 2019:

Interesting take. I’ve always felt the same way about the watered down league during the Bulls 6-championship title run. As you pointed out, the league added 6 new teams just before or during the Bull’s run. That’s adding an extra 90 roster players to a league, that was already losing some of its biggest stars to age (Bird, Magic, Isiah, etc). The timing couldn’t have been more perfect for Chicago. They solidified the core of their roster with young up and coming players (Pippen, Grant, BJ) just before expansion began. They were in the PERFECT position to capitalize on a weakened league. This isn’t to throw shade on Jordan, he was my hero growing up. But you have to look at the circumstances of his dominance. Just like Kareem hitting his peak when a lot of great players were getting poached by the ABA, or Chamberlin seeming so dominant because he literally admitted to chasing stats (assists leader or most notably refusing to defend at the end of games because he didn’t want to blow his record for never fouling out of a game). You’ve done a good job pointing out some of the breaks Jordan had during his run, doesn’t make him less than great, just helps put things in perspective.

The point about him not being clutch is something I would want to see compared to other great players/closers. Everyone knows the ball is going to Jordan during the final seconds, which means the opposing defence would be keyed on him. Also, the level of difficulty of the shots could vary by a wide margin depending on so many factors. Where is the ball being inbounded from? How much time is left on the clock? Did the Bulls have a timeout to use to draw up a play? Were other key players fouled out? Was he battling an injury? Etc etc. The eye test says Jordan would refuse to lose in big games and always found a way to win even if it wasn’t him taking the final shot. Case in point, when the Bulls won in 1993, John Paxson hit the game winner, but Jordan had scored all of his team’s points in the fourth quarter (up until that point), and he wasn’t ball hogging, they just couldn’t score. Does that get factored into him being clutch?

Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on July 27, 2019:

Kamil,

I agree with you to a point. It definitely isnt all about numbers, but its a factor. Thats why i also included the league around them, their opponents, and many other factors. And he didnt impact the world JUST because of his PR, but lets not act like his marketing strategy wasnt the best in the world at the time, and no one was near his skill level either. Of course his influence ran wide because of it!

Kamil Devonish on July 26, 2019:

I'm not trying to convince you if it is just a numbers game to you.

Everyone knows the stats both for and against. That's not what puts him over the top as the GOAT. He's the GOAT because he won at every level and did impossible things on a basketball court.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8M7yBjtx_Ic&

20 years on - what player can have a highlight pack with half as many incredible moves? He did stuff like this on the regular AND won 6 titles.

I have a soft spot for Kareem. He perfected an unstoppable move in the skyhook. LeBron is an unstoppable force based on his mind and athleticism. MJ was both of those things in his career: scoring at an all-time clip through sheer athleticism and then scoring at an all-time clip by developing an unstoppable move in the fadeaway. What's LeBron's unstoppable move? What's Kareem's greatest highlights? You gotta check a lot of boxes to be the GOAT.

My dude, MJ didn't inspire a worldwide basketball explosion because he had good PR.

Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on July 03, 2019:

Jampa,

I agree. Someday someone will surpass Lebron, Brady, and every other great.

jampa burgos on July 03, 2019:

jordan made great records, yes. but talent and skill? there are players better than jordan. players have improved. actually, human race have improved. players of 2000's and 2010's are faster, smarter, have great handles etc... we all have to learn how to accept that evolution is inevitable. it's unfair to say that the best who ever played was in the 80's or 90's.

Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on June 10, 2019:

Karthik,

Youre partially right. It isn't Jordan's fault he didnt have competition. However, it can be held against him in terms of his GOAT status. People often say Bill isnt the GOAT because of his level of competition, but ignore that Jordan never faced a worthy adversary. And yes he faced 50+ win teams, but they were bolstered records just as much by those expansion teams as MJ's were. Thats why I included their paltry records up until their first playoff appearances to show their impact in watering the league. I'm not trying to say MJ isnt good. Thats not the purpose of my article. Im just saying hes overrated as this untouchable God. I think both Kareem and Lebron are right neck and neck with MJ.

Karthik Konuru on June 10, 2019:

Sorry but this is straight blasphemy. You can’t put Jordan not beating prime hall of famers against him. Considering the fact that the showtime lakers and 80’s Celtics were in their primes before Jordan had an actual squad, you can’t put it on Jordan. And he did end the pistons dynasty and took them to 7 before. That 90-91 pistons team won 50 games despite Isiah playing 48 games. In 11 full seasons with the Bulls MJ was a 10 time scoring champion, 10 time all NBA first team, 1 time all NBA second team, 9 time all defensive first team, 3x steals leader, defensive player of the year, 5 time MVP, 6 time champion, and 6 time finals mvp. He’s the greatest scorer ever and one of the greatest perimeter defenders and two way players ever. Stats will never tell you a full story about how clutch a player is either. A large portion of it is the degree of difficulty of shots and the moment. And this “expansion era” is irrelevant. Look at the number of 50+ win teams Jordan has faced. He beat 4 60+ win teams in the finals itself. Jordan led a dynasty greater than the 80’s Celtics and showtimes lakers and it stopped many 50+ and 60+ teams from winning championships. The only dynasty greater than what Jordan led is Russel’s Celtics.

Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on June 03, 2019:

Chris,

When I say overrated I'm speaking to the idea that he's an untouchable all-time great. People act as if he CAN'T be surpassed. Jordan is in my top 3 with LeBron and Kareem. I'm simply pointing out things that people very often times forget about.

Chris McQueen on June 03, 2019:

Bird called MJ GOD, Bron called him Black Jesus and wore his number. Ai say he the goat. Dwade (lebrons teammate) say he the goat. Vince played against MJ Kobe Bron and still playing in 2019 and he say MJ the goat. Barley say he the goat. Bill Russell has been in record saying Mike the GOAT. Shaq say he the goat. Kerr coaches the greatest team in BBall arguably and he say MJ is the GOAT. Magic say he the goat and he played with Kareem. Most Legends who played, sports experts, B-ball anaylsts not football players or the geek squad talking about basketball. True hoopers and hall of fame coaches all on record saying Mj is the GOaT. So I say this to say that. I would take professional player or ex player opinion over some regular joe blow. Besides how is Mj overrated when y'all constantly bring him up everyday and he been retired for 20 plus years. He's obvious the measuring bar for success in the game of basketball. Kobe duplicated him, bron chasing the ghost of MJ, still the biggest shoe brand in history, he's in every basketball topic daily. I don't think he's overrated at all. Speaks to the greatness of his legacy.

Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on May 24, 2019:

Tscov3

Where in this article is a lie? Losing record to HOF talent, expansion era, never beat his greatest rivals? How is that stats making a story? Really its stats revealing the true story that your nostalgia has covered up for decades.

Tscov3 on May 23, 2019:

Is this guy serious? You can make stats do what you want to make any point you desire to make. But hands down, MJ was the greatest ever, point, blank, period. Get a grip dude!

Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on May 15, 2019:

Titus,

Stats are a very small portion of this article. It covers records, why his opponents were overrated, the strength of the league. Clearly reading comprehension isn't a strong suit of yours. I'd much rather be a stats and facts guy than a guy who was wowed as a kid by Jordan dominating weak opponents and living off of nostalgia. Fact is he got owned by every prime opponent he ever faced until they aged out or got hurt. But youre right, he really was great when he was destroying Ewing year in and year out.

titus on May 14, 2019:

stats are a way for people who don't play the sports and don't have a reference point to all of a sudden be in possession of a valuable opinion or perspective and be relevant. i fell for the obvious bait by clicking, which is on me, but damn if you're not a troll.

A. Thompson on April 30, 2019:

Not even worth debating, stats guy huh. I wonder if you even played any sport??? Side line guy definetly. SMH...

Cesar on April 28, 2019:

One cannot go with stats alone. I go by achievements and the impact a players makes to the league or team at that time. Jordan completely dominated and created fear in his rivals in his prime. Stats are trash. He accompliahed wat he wanted at tje time wen he did and completely changed basketball for future generations. Won at will like no other player in recent nba has done that like jordan. And most of all jordan was a winner at everything

Boxx on April 25, 2019:

All respect for MJ, as what you said he is a great player and it is indeed true. I don't believe in Goat alone maybe herd of them. I agree with you saying that MJ is overrated. for me this is why.

1. No other players had the same skills like him during his time, maybe someone near but not enough to compete with him.

So all the attention was on him.

The league itself made MJ to be the Media darling. Making issue for every little things he does to make a story, maybe like LBJ now as well but LBJ have more nemesis.

now, almost every team have their 1 or 2 players known by many fans to talk about.

Same case with the shoe. How can MJ never made that huge number of sales if there is only few competition? Unlike now almost every stars or even not a star status have their own shoe line.

And lastly, MJ and the Bulls played those 6 finals having a homecourt advantage except againts the SUNS lead by Barkley. But still the betting odds favored the Bulls. A bold proof how mismatch those games. And that 6 rings issue is the main topic when people talks s about MJ they don't care if MJ got swept also and actually holds the worst records in 3 points shoot out in NBA all stars making only 5 points tie with Detlef Shcremf.

I don't hate MJ, I never hated him, like I said I don't believe in GOAT alone. I just hated those people talking impulssively

PapaP on April 24, 2019:

Shannon and Nick Write clones. Debate is over baby. MJ is the goat. LBJ is the one overrated.

Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on April 22, 2019:

Lee i dont think this is hating. Everything here is true, is it not?

Premo745 those men make millions to talk sports, I'd say thats a positive.

Premo745 on April 22, 2019:

Sound like Shannon Sharp or Nick Wright lol

Lee Muhammad on April 21, 2019:

Y'all are some hated on Michael Jordan

Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on June 14, 2018:

DashingScorpio you certainly know your basketball! I'd love to know your votes on my polls above. I'm personally a stats man. When it comes to the game we can see who was best against the best level of competition with numbers. Kareem faced some of the greatest ever, same with lebron. Who do you personally think is the best ever?

dashingscorpio from Chicago on June 14, 2018:

Interesting....

First of all when people talk about the GOAT they're primary focus is not on the individual's overall career but rather what they did during the NBA finals. Some people will say the fact that he (never lost) a finals series puts him above a lot of the other NBA stars. Others may point to the 72-10 record or the MVPs.

The soaring high flashy dunks with his tongue wagging, playing with the flu against Utah in the finals are all legendary memories.

Truth be told Jordan took the marketing of basketball shoes to a whole new level with Nike while he was winning championships. The kids saw him as being "cool". Sure Magic and Bird were great but all the kids were using the tagline "Be Like Mike".

Magic and Bird were "fundamentally great players" but they seldom made people jump out of their seats with a reverse dunk.

MJ did for the dunk shot what Curry is doing for the 3 point shot.

If were strictly going by stats more than likely you'd have to say Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul -Jabbar, or Wilt Chamberlain statistically were better in many areas. Everyone likes to count "rings". Bill Russell won 11 championships out of a 13 year career! NOTE: The NBA was not near as popular then as it is.

However championships are not usually the deciding factor.

After all Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana both won 4 Super Bowls but no one ever says Bradshaw is in the same league as Montana when it comes to "greatness".

Ultimately there is an "It Factor"

Rocky Marciano never lost a fight and yet many people will tell you Muhammad Ali is the GOAT heavy weight champion.

Stats do not translate into emotional connection.