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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).

Bunk.

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 NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

212 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. deegee - Jul 20, 2010 at 6:37 AM

    No question that James knows he can’t do it as the lead guy. He needs an alpha dog like wade. Jordan doesn’t need to defend himself for his comments on the self proclaimed king of basketball who has never won a championship. In fact not only has he never won a championship, he tanked it this past year as the pressure was to great for him. On the other hand, Jordan more than any player I remember including Russell was a ferocious competitor.

  2. Millineumlaura - Jul 20, 2010 at 6:45 AM

    Michael should just shut up, sit down, and bring down the prices of his tennis shoes. He’s a has been saying I woulda, coulda and shoulda. He needs to stick a sock in that pie hole in his face.

  3. Kevin K - Jul 20, 2010 at 6:50 AM

    Is this column a joke? How can you say that Jordan would have called Magic or Bird? We’re talking about the past; Michael ALREADY DIDN’T call Magic and Bird! if “Jordan would have called Magic or Bird,” he would have called Magic or Bird!!! but he didn’t! you can’t argue that he would have, because he didn’t!!!!!

  4. Kevin K - Jul 20, 2010 at 6:51 AM

    Is this column a joke? How can you say that Jordan would have called Magic or Bird? We’re talking about the past; Michael ALREADY DIDN’T call Magic and Bird! if “Jordan would have called Magic or Bird,” he would have called Magic or Bird!!! but he didn’t! you can’t argue that he would have, because he didn’t!!!!!

  5. Nick - Jul 20, 2010 at 7:03 AM

    I completely agree, this is just an opinion piece to grab attention and just like an a**hole everyone has one.

  6. DK - Jul 20, 2010 at 7:20 AM

    I guess your argument is of no value and you need to give credit to MJ for all that he has achieved. I don’t think there is any harm in Jordan saying as it is. It’s just not what you achieve but how you achieve that matters the most.

  7. Kato - Jul 20, 2010 at 7:32 AM

    Jordan won 6 titles without out super stars on the team except him. Most people cant remember who was even on those teams except maybe Pippen. I lived in IL during MJ’s 6 title yrs there and I watched all 492 games of those title yrs. Jordan was surrounded by mainly roll players who he made look good. When they left the Bulls to play on another team they all disappeared. I have watched all the greats since the mid 50′s and Jordan by far is the best player I ever saw. I am not the only one to say that Jordan was the best. Most coaches, writers, and X superstars say Jordan was the best. Go to any poll on the internet or news papers and you wont find one that dont have Jordan on top as the best. Even his overall total stats are the best.
    What made him great was not only his basket ball skills but he was a very smart person and he was also basketball smart.
    Jordan did not need those other stars on his team to win titles as he won 6 titles with just one super star on the team and that was him.

  8. Jeremy - Jul 20, 2010 at 7:58 AM

    Does this guy actually get paid to write about sports?

  9. Ransome - Jul 20, 2010 at 8:14 AM

    You can’t tell me this dude is getting a check to write this mess. Where are the editors? Sir your basketball acumen is similar to my 3 yr old nephew pointin to the flatscreen and saying: “da da dadada da dada dada dada daaa dada dada da dada . . dada. . .NDA daddy . . .NDA”

  10. D. Stredney - Jul 20, 2010 at 8:38 AM

    Winderman YOU are a TWIT! I just love how after Michael Jordan says what HE would or would not do (after all it is just HIS life), that a Dweeb like you comes up with CRAP like this because, after all, YOU know what MJ would do more than The Man himself! UNFRIKKINBELIEVABLE!

  11. D. Man - Jul 20, 2010 at 8:39 AM

    Winderman YOU are a TWIT! I just love how after Michael Jordan says what HE would or would not do (after all it is just HIS life), that a Dweeb like you comes up with CRAP like this because, after all, YOU know what MJ would do more than The Man himself! UNFRIKKINBELIEVABLE!

  12. SamBrown - Jul 20, 2010 at 8:50 AM

    Well, Ira covers the Heat for the hometown newspaper. How else would he address what Jordan said? The Heat got their free agents and thanks to Lebron’s Ego Hour on ESPN, a public-relations nightmare. Those who liked the Heat before, like them alot more now. Those who didn’t like the Heat, still don’t, and alot of those who didn’t care now don’t like the Heat. I’m sure the Heat and their hometown press will have the wagons circled from here on out.

  13. JI - Jul 20, 2010 at 9:04 AM

    Lebron King. JaJa Mike is the King

  14. DDDJJJIJ - Jul 20, 2010 at 9:10 AM

    Lebron is the Super King!!

  15. Joe - Jul 20, 2010 at 9:19 AM

    This guy is a moron.. the luxury of playing along scottie pippen?? Like jordan would have sucked if pippen was not there.. Maybe jordan would have left for the clippers or another team if he tested free agency waters, but he wouldnt go to a stacked team already..He would go and be “the man” on whatever team he was on… The guy who wrote this article shouldn’t be allowed to talk basketball because he doesn’t know anything.. What a moronic article.. Stupid ass…

  16. LeCrap - Jul 20, 2010 at 9:19 AM

    Sounds like Winderman the homer is making sure his beloved Heat aren’t looked at in a bad light.
    Superstars didn’t have to gang up on one team because back in the day they could carry a team to victory when things weren’t going so well for the team. LeWannabe has proven he is not capable of doing that. He quit against Boston which I think deals more with him making sure he had a good reason to leave Cleveland but also showed he can’t carry the team at will.
    LeQuit not only sacrificed his legacy in the game but he will also have one less ring than Wade, if they stay together. Doesn’t sound like a competitor to me. To be the best you have to beat the best and if rings are the determining factor Wade will always be better than LeCon.
    Give all that money to a kid and he still doesn’t surround himself with people that would have helped him make better “decisions”.

  17. realist - Jul 20, 2010 at 9:26 AM

    Sorry Windy, but we know you write for the Miami Herald. You can try to spin this all you want, but every NBA fan of the past 25 years all realize the same thing. Mr James is a pansy. Afraid to have taken on the challenge of building his own legacy, and riding the coattails of someone else’s team. Mr James choose the easy path as opposed to sticking it out in Cleveland, or signing with Chicago or NY because quite simply, he didnt want the pressure. The city of Miami and its fans are the biggest disgraces in this country. What fan base, who already have a superstar of its own, does not sell out a playoff game? All these front running Heat fans who are out buying fake LeBron jerseys should have dropped their money for playoff tickets. Michael Jordan had that killer instinct James does not possess. Anyone not taking MJ at his word on this is a delusional cHeat fan.

  18. ozworld - Jul 20, 2010 at 9:44 AM

    Ok…here’s the difference between Jordan, Bird, or Magic vs. Lebron. Jordan, Bird, Magic took very good teams and made them great teams. (a great team wins multiple championships with essentially the same core players). They were the top players in their time, BUT there were other individual players who never made their teams great like…Dominque Wilkins, Charles Barkley, Patric Ewing, etc. IMHO this is why Jordan rates Kobe a better player than Lebron.

  19. Stuart - Jul 20, 2010 at 9:52 AM

    I don’t think MJ is saying he wouldn’t have accepted a deal to play with Magic or Bird if he was a free agent and received an offer from the Lakers or Celtics. What he is saying is he would not have called them to setup a plan to get on the same team somewhere. I believe him. Michael has too much ego to do anything that would make it appear that he needed the help of another superstar.

  20. ozworld - Jul 20, 2010 at 9:55 AM

    Ok…here’s the difference between Jordan, Bird, or Magic vs. Lebron. Jordan, Bird, Magic took very good teams and made them great teams. (a great team wins multiple championships with essentially the same core players). They were the top players in their time, BUT there were other individual players who never made their teams great like…Dominque Wilkins, Charles Barkley, Patric Ewing, etc. IMHO this is why Jordan rates Kobe a better player than Lebron.

  21. T-Will - Jul 20, 2010 at 10:09 AM

    Jordan should spend more time time trying to figure out how his bobcat team won’t get blowed-out by 50 pts, when they play the Heat. Instead of giving his opinion on who he thinks is a better player. Kobe is a ball-hogg like he was. I prefer how Magic,Bird and Lebron play, by actually making other players better/ ball-movement etc….You know, BASKETBALL VS BALL-HOGG! Since the old man has so much lip service, when the Heat play the bobcats, he can come down from his box office, put down his cigar, lace up his sneaks and D-UP Lebron!!!!! Otherwise STFU!

  22. Fletch - Jul 20, 2010 at 10:14 AM

    I’ve been a Bulls fan since God knows when…quite a long time, and I am just surprised at either the short term memory loss or perhaps how young these columnists who don’t remember Jordan & Da Bulls struggles. It took Jordan and Da Bulls 7 long years to reach and win their 1st ever NBA Championship. The had to learn the hard lessons from the great Celtic & Laker Teams on what it meant to be a champion, and got beaten up physically & mentally by those Thugs known as the Bad Boys (Pistons).
    Does anyone remember, whether you were a Bull or Jordan fan, when Jordan clutched his 1st NBA Champion Trophy and cried? He made it to the top of the mountain and pushed through/pass all of his tormentors. Do you think the young punks like Lebron (who haven’t won a damn thing and unfortunately have been given all the graces bestowed upon a proved champion) will know what that ever feels like or what it means to really win?
    BTW – For those always bringing up Pippen, I’m happy to hear his name as being one of the greats in so many eye’s now (and well deserved from this biased Bulls fan), but people need to remember the Pippen wasn’t Pippen until the year the Bulls won their 1st title. He came from tiny Central Arkansas and although had great talent, but was no way near the player he became. Does anyone remember the years the Pistons would just taunt and mentally take Pippen out of his game…or the migraine game in game 7 of the 1990 NBA Playoffs? It was through Jordan’s tough love that Pippen came into his own. Why can’t Lebron do that with his teammates….why, because he has NO HEART, NO GUTS, NOT A COMPETITOR, NOT A LEADER!
    Jordan, Magic, Bird would have it no other way then to play & beat each other…that’s what makes this whole Lebron/Miami thing stink to high heaven. Jordan could have went after Barkley, Malone, Robinson etc when they were free agents, but didn’t. The only time I remember him griping about keeping a player was when the Bulls traded Charles Oakley to the Knicks for Bill Cartwright….which turned out to be the right call.
    The NBA has changed since Jordan left and the NBA, ESPN, etc are looking so hard to try to find the ‘next’ one that they will sell their souls to get those ratings. This move by Lebron is just another black eye for the NBA and teaches that if you can’t beat them, then join them.

  23. c3p0 - Jul 20, 2010 at 10:15 AM

    basketball is the number 3 sport in this country. so chris, who cares about the Heat and the 3 flamingos. Enjoy the futility of your marlins and dolphins as they will NEVER win another championship while the 2009 world champion Yankees win another this year and the Giants just won 2 years ago. I find it funny that you think NY still cares about you tards.

  24. Mark - Jul 20, 2010 at 10:24 AM

    Why would Lebron, Wade, and Bosh be compared to MJ, Bird, and Magic? These 3, Bosh in particular, do not deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence. MJ, Bird, and Magic are 3 of the best to ever play the game – Bosh? Be real.

  25. Frank - Jul 20, 2010 at 10:36 AM

    Well, one question that comes to mind for me is whether MJ’s comments should be taken just for himself or is he alluding to his era?
    Let me preface this with I am a huge MJ fan, I followed is entire career passionately.
    Lately I think there has been some selective memories though……who remembers Clyde Drexler getting himself to Houston with Hakeem for the two titles they won…….and then Barkley and Scottie Pippen trying to jump on that bandwagon after the fact???? Barkley is particularly being a selective memory/selective competitor values hypocrite on this topic.
    Having said that, in general team hopping in hopes of titles does tend to lessen someone’s cache……as does hanging around well past your prime (see: Barkley, Shaq)

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