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Winderman: Jordan would have called Magic and Bird — he wanted to win

Jul 19, 2010, 1:28 PM EDT


When did Michael Jordan become like our dads?

When did he start with the, “Well, back in my day…”

Because if he truly is going to thrive as a franchise owner with the Charlotte Bobcats, then perhaps there is a need to recognize he is not back in his day, and that the world has changed since there was a one-star-per-team limit.

The latest, and best-chronicled, is the comment Jordan offered during his latest whirl at celebrity golf over the weekend.

“There’s no way, with hindsight, I would’ve ever called up Larry, called up Magic and said, ‘Hey, look, let’s get together and play on one team,'” Jordan said. “But that’s . . .  things are different. I can’t say that’s a bad thing. It’s an opportunity these kids have today. In all honesty, I was trying to beat those guys.”

In other words, he wouldn’t have gone LeBron, wouldn’t have sought refuge in the land of Wade (and Bosh).


Understand, Jordan wanted to win, had to win.

So let’s say Jerry Krause pulled his ultimate power play during Jordan’s career, during one of those seasons when Michael was on the year-to-year plan. Say Krause won the power struggle with Phil Jackson, excised the coach, and got into a stare down with Jordan.

Can you honestly say Jordan then would have moved on to the Clippers or Warriors or Raptors, or stayed with a rebuilding Bulls team just so he could have competed against Shaq and Malone and Reggie?

Or, like LeBron, would he have said that he wanted to play deeper into the playoffs, play alongside someone who could keep him there.

For Jordan, there always was the luxury of playing alongside Scottie Pippen. He didn’t have to find a running mate; he always had one.

And it’s not as if LeBron still won’t have his moments this coming season against the likes of Carmelo and Durant and Pierce. The challenges still will be there. Plenty of them. With many motivated opponents.

Put it another way, do you honestly believe Jordan would have hung up if Larry or Magic or Charles had actually called, if there was such an opportunity, during a period of much more restrictive free agency?

But this is good to know, and good for those in Charlotte to know.

Because if Michael does have the opportunity to land someone like a Chris Paul, bring the point guard back to North Carolina, at least Bobcats fans would know that Jordan then wouldn’t try to add a Carmelo, as well.

In M.J.’s view, that clearly would be unseemly.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

212 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Jay Dale - Jul 19, 2010 at 1:37 PM

    Jordan actually said years ago he wouldn’t play with Barkley, who’s one of his best friends.

  2. johnmaine - Jul 19, 2010 at 1:46 PM

    Dwyane Wade issues official apology for World Trade Center comments:

  3. quietplease - Jul 19, 2010 at 1:51 PM

    I’d like to see you call Jordan a liar to his face.

  4. MJDidn'tPlayForTheCavsOrRaptors - Jul 19, 2010 at 2:00 PM

    MJ’s comments are ridiculous. He was on the Bulls. Bird the Celtics. And Magic the Lakers. Teams in contention every year b/c of more than just their 1 superstar player. None of the current 3 guys were in contention for any reason except themselves (when Wade and Bosh didn’t play their teams lost nearly every game) and LeBron was literally carrying a large sack of junk into the playoffs every year. MJ had it good. These guys did not. And MJ still ran off to play baseball b/c he loved basketball so much. Give me a break. MJ’s comments are the sour grapes of a GM who knows another GM just made the ultimate move and there’s nothing he can do about it, not the unbiased comments of the NBA’s greatest legend.

  5. Chris Fiorentino - Jul 19, 2010 at 2:07 PM

    Sounds like somebody got snubbed by Michael when he tried to kiss his ass one day and has had a grudge ever since.

  6. MichaelY - Jul 19, 2010 at 2:11 PM

    The idea of Michael, Bird, and Magic together seems so very wrong on anything other than the dream team representing the good ole USA.
    I believe him when he says he’d rather have the challenge of competing against his archrivals rather than take an easy path to the finals. And that, in my eyes, makes his accomplishments much more meaningful than anything Miami will accomplish.
    I’m a serious Laker hating Blazer fan and have been loyal even during the dark days of the Jailblazers era. But if it comes down to the Lakers vs Miami any time soon, I’ll be rooting West Coast all the way.

  7. Don - Jul 19, 2010 at 2:25 PM

    Jordan – He had the ultimate side kick in Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant was no slouch in ’91, ’92, and ’93. Jordan was saying demanding some size before returning in in ’95 and they trade for Dennis Rodman to win three more titles. Star help, whatever….neither might be Magic or Bird, but would anyone think 20 years from now that Bosh is spoken on the same level?
    Bird – He had Parrish and McHale. He won his titles with two other Hall of Famers on the roster.
    Magic – KAJ as a running mate. James Worthy on the roster, please.
    Every single superstar has rarely ever done it on his own. There may not be teams with two of the top five players in the NBA pair up, but all of them had guys next to them who were one of the best at thier position.
    Give me a break about all this stuff. Who cares? This trio just went about it in another way, but teams in the NBA have being doing similar things for decades now.

  8. Phil - Jul 19, 2010 at 2:28 PM

    Dude wtf are you talking about? Jordan said he wouldn’t have but you use some “make believe” pretense to call him out. WHAT? Jordan is calling it like it is, Bron didn’t want to be the man. Jordan always has and always will want to be the man. You on the other hand sound like a woman.

  9. Joe - Jul 19, 2010 at 2:35 PM

    People seem to forget that the Cavs were the NUMBER 1 TEAM IN THE LEAGUE LAST SEASON!!! They had the best record in the NBA and lost in the playoffs!!! The fact is that LeBron can NEVER be mentioned in the same breath as a Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, or Kobe Bryant. People say “well…Mike had Pippen” but with all due respect to Pippen…he wasn’t as good as LeBron or Wade. What Bosh, Lebron, and Wade have done…is the equivalent to Jordan, Barkley, and Magic joining the same team back in the early 90’s. Sometimes it’s not all about winning, but how you win and even if Lebron ends up with 10 rings..he still needed 2 Superstars to get them.

  10. Hoog - Jul 19, 2010 at 2:36 PM

    Jordan had several opportunities to bring on a Barkley, or ‘Nique, but felt they weren’t a fit. In other words, there is only one ball, and MJ wasn’t giving it up. On top of that, its not like Bird or Magic ever reached free agency in their primes, and what makes you believe any of them would have left?
    And technically, Jordan didn’t ALWAYS have Pippen as a running mate, Jordan was drafted in 84, Pippen in 87.
    And regarding Jordan leaving to play baseball, that was because of his gambling, and the fact Stern didn’t want to hurt his product by suspending his top player, so they worked it out so that Jordan’s image wouldn’t be tarnished, and Stern didn’t take as much of a hit. The whole baseball thing was a charade.

  11. Chris - Jul 19, 2010 at 2:40 PM

    The jealousy eminating from you guys fuels us Heat fans like spinach for Popeye. It’s unbelievable the amount of whining you all are doing, but I cannot WAIT to see Gallinari try to stop LeBron. NY fans, welcome to another decade of irrelevance haha

  12. Raul - Jul 19, 2010 at 2:42 PM

    Ira who? Seriously, is this what you have to do to get your name out there? Aren’t you kind of doing what Lebron did by linking yourself up to someone else and ride their wave? I’ve never heard of you and hopefully never will again. Leave the real commentary to the likes of Rick Riley, Dan Patrick, Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon…

  13. windermanisatool - Jul 19, 2010 at 2:43 PM

    Winderman is a retard. Lebron is no longer the king and there is no way Jordan would have called any of those guys to join his team.. Jordan had that killer instinct that our Jester Lebron does not have where Jordan wants to be the best and prove he is the best. Lebron want to tag a long because Lebron does not make players better.

  14. Bron Blows - Jul 19, 2010 at 2:44 PM

    The only thing amiss in MJ’s statement is comparing Wade and Bosh to Bird and Magic. That’s laughable at this point. Wade may get to the point where he’s mentioned in the same breath with them. Bosh isn’t even close.

  15. Frederick - Jul 19, 2010 at 2:48 PM

    “Ira Winderman writes regularly for and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.”
    Yeah, right. A little Florida bias? Why don’t you accept Jordan at his word. Or, instead, you could not accept him at his word and pull conclusions from nowhere in order to defend the team you cover the most.

  16. Anonymous - Jul 19, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    @ MJDidn’tPlayForTheCavsOrRaptors – You are a dumbass. The bulls where terrible before they got Jordan @ 3 in the 1984 draft. The previous 3 years they were 34 – 48, 28-54 and 27 – 55. They sucked and he built them into a dynasty. Yes, he had Pippen. The point is Bron wipes from the front. Jordan made the Bulls. He didn’t pussy out and go join Magic in LA. The author of this article is a fag from FL and a Heat apologist. You think Kobe is sitting @ home hoping they will call? No. Game face bro, he is in the gym cause he wants to beat these guys and add to his legacy. Like Jordan.

  17. Spirothegreek - Jul 19, 2010 at 2:53 PM

    It is easy for Winderman to comment the way that he does. He writes for the local Sun-Sentinel paper. So of course he is going to favor the local team. It’s called job security for the next five years. If you want a “dream” team, that’s what the Olympics are for. That is why they allowed professional players to join the Olympics.

  18. WylieHombre - Jul 19, 2010 at 2:53 PM

    @ MJDidn’tPlayForTheCavsOrRaptors – You are a dumbass. The bulls where terrible before they got Jordan @ 3 in the 1984 draft. The previous 3 years they were 34 – 48, 28-54 and 27 – 55. They sucked and he built them into a dynasty. Yes, he had Pippen. The point is Bron wipes from the front. Jordan made the Bulls. He didn’t pussy out and go join Magic in LA. The author of this article is a fag from FL and a Heat apologist. You think Kobe is sitting @ home hoping they will call? No. Game face bro, he is in the gym cause he wants to beat these guys and add to his legacy. Like Jordan.

  19. Ben - Jul 19, 2010 at 2:55 PM

    Jeez, lighten up! I think what MJ was saying is that he’d figure out a way to beat them rather than giving up and joining them. King James can’t win with the team he’s got, so he’s going to make one up.

  20. jeff - Jul 19, 2010 at 2:55 PM

    If Scottie Pippin and Phil Jackson had not come along and Michael was still looking for his first ring, you can bet he would have called Bird, Magic, Barkley, or anybody he could think of to get that first ring.

  21. liverwurst - Jul 19, 2010 at 2:56 PM

    …and it’s knowing that most Heat “fans” will disappear if their ego collective doesn’t win a championship this season is the fuel that keeps the rest of us going.

  22. Mario - Jul 19, 2010 at 2:56 PM

    This sounds like news you would read in communist newspapers. I guess the Miami Herald and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel are becoming the Pravda to the Miami Heat’s USSR.
    They will praise the greatness that is the Heat and will debunk any negative comments of the Heat from anyone. Unless of course they start losing to which hypocrite sports writers will say that they knew something wasn’t right and was against it from the beginning.
    …now if this column had been written by someone who writes in say…Seattle, the writer might have been more credible.
    Author Bias: Fail.

  23. Big C - Jul 19, 2010 at 3:01 PM

    Pippen is way better than LeBron or Wade. He may have been one of the best all around players of all time. That being said, LeBron has never displayed the mentality of a Jordan or Bryant, he wants to win but does not display the killer instinct to be the clutch guy. I am not man at him for that, he wants to play more of the Magic role on a team. Magic never fully had to carry the Lakers except for game 7 of the Finals his rookie year when he played center in place of Kareem. What LeBron could have done though is skip the spectacle and told the Cavs on the day he made the decision his intentions.

  24. hoj - Jul 19, 2010 at 3:01 PM

    the era you speak of when jordan was working year to year, he had already 4 titles. he was older and was loyal to our fans. when he was pushed out, he retired. he didn’t go to the clippers or what not. and people talk about him trading for players? that’s his job. nobody is blaming pat riley for this whole lebron thing. pat did what pat was supposed to do and he did it better than anybody else. i don’t like pat riley, i think he is a snake, a jerk, the devil in flesh, but he did his job, so other gm’s should tip the cap. if jordan traded for paul and melo, that’s his job. If paul calls up melo and says, don’t sign that extension(bad idea to not sign) and come with me to …. than it will be on a L.W.B level. If you listened to anythign jordan ever said about being a competitor, loving the challenge, accepting challenges, doing stuff magic, isaih and larry never did, and listen to what lebron said, there is a difference. a huge difference. but these two men have a different opinion of what fun is. for michael, beating the crap out of larry,magic, isaih, charles,Malone, Drexler etc.etc. was fun. for lebron, jumping into poses while pantomining photographer’s is fun. and here’s the other thing. Lebron has repackaged himself. Michael was a premier athlete who was famous beyond belief. Lebron is now a famous person who just happens to be a premier athlelte. guys who look at t his site and other sports stuff may goff, but lebron will now be fodder for ET and accesshollywood and us magazine and people and expand his brand beyond basketball. being in miami fosters his celebrity uprising and don’t think for a second that that had nothing to do with it.

  25. JIm - Jul 19, 2010 at 3:03 PM

    We have all become more stupid for both having read and for feeling the need to discuss Ira Winderman’s column.

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