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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. Josh - Jul 20, 2010 at 10:53 AM

    I was gonna tell Ira to shove it and that he probably never watched a lick of Basketball back in the 80s and 90s, but looks like everyone beat me to it.
    Hey Ira, good point, NO ONE AGREES WITH YOU.

  2. Wayne - Jul 20, 2010 at 10:53 AM

    You have to be a moron and NEVER watched the NBA during Jordan’s era. Jordan can say whatever he wants because he is the GOAT. He also didn’t EVER take the easy way out – something LeBron does and has done all throughout his career. YES – I believe Jordan wouldn’t have ever called up Bird and Magic. He wanted to be the man and if he couldn’t do it, he’d die trying.
    The one-star per team rule doesn’t have anything to do with this. Jordan MADE Pippen into a star (even though he was really a marginal player with good defensive skills). This is about the 2-time MVP leaving to go join D. Wade’s team – someone who maximizes his skills but doesn’t have the sheer talent that LBJ does….but he has heart. As Barkley said, if you are the 2-time MVP, you don’t go anywhere. People come to you. Get some heart, LeBron!!!

  3. jorge - Jul 20, 2010 at 10:54 AM

    If you remember the time that MJ left basketball to try Baseball, it was in thte times when his father was murdered and MJ was unable to continue playing the game he loves. He was in pain looking for solace.
    In his time, the animosity for the other players was more than what LB has for his buddies. For MJ they were not “his” buddies. End of story.

  4. Anonymous - Jul 20, 2010 at 10:57 AM

    The point is, MJ’s career is over and it never happened…period!
    IRA=Unathletic DB

  5. Jeff - Jul 20, 2010 at 11:00 AM

    The author proves he knows nothing about Jordan by writing this garbage. Jordan wanted to be better than everyone else. He can’t beat them if he joins them. He wouldn’t be the best if he needed Magic Johnson or Larry Bird on his team in order to win. He’s not talking as an owner, but as a player. Back in Jordan’s day, some of the veteran players used to sometimes play together as a last chance effort to get at least one ring before they retire, but none of them did it like this group, in the prime of their careers.

  6. lexdan - Jul 20, 2010 at 11:05 AM

    Frank…the one critical factor that you fail to mention is that those players were getting old and running out of time. They were all pulling a Karl Malone last chance. What all you people fail to realize is that Michael made Scottie and Horace elevate their game. Jordans competitive juices overflowed on all of his teammates. Jordan lifted his team, unlike Lebron and Wade! The only person left with that kind of power is Kobe. All the trash about him winning because of Shaq……wrong answer huh !!! Miami and Boston taking the short cuts will never be true champions in the eyes of true NBA fans !!!

  7. lexdan - Jul 20, 2010 at 11:11 AM

    Yo Fletch…..nuf said !! Right on point!!!

  8. wowowowow123 - Jul 20, 2010 at 11:13 AM

    Get a clue before you right a piece about the greatest player of all time.

  9. terry - Jul 20, 2010 at 11:37 AM

    LeBron went to Miami for one basic reason – he is not up to the pressure of being THE MAN. At Miami that is Wade, and that is understood right out of the gate.
    MJ was THE MAN, Larry was THE MAN, and Magic was THE MAN. If it could have been arranged would they have teamed up? We’ll never know, but they sure did have some great battles back in them days.

  10. Da Bulls - Jul 20, 2010 at 11:48 AM

    Hello people, this fool covers the Heat. Of course hes gonna make it seem as if Jordan is talking ish. Get a life loser, you’ll have plenty to write about when your HEAT go no where this year!

  11. H25 - Jul 20, 2010 at 11:49 AM

    Dear Mr. Blog Writer,
    That was weak. Unless you are a total idiot (looks like you are) it doesn’t sound like he would oppose to having two great players on his team. He as a player wanted to be the one go to guy and beat the other team’s go to guy head to head.
    You sound like you are ESPN’s target audience so you probably believe that style and bufoonery trumps substance.

  12. OSFDAFAC - Jul 20, 2010 at 12:05 PM


  13. Jay - Jul 20, 2010 at 12:07 PM

    thank you for having a brain..

  14. Jim - Jul 20, 2010 at 12:12 PM

    What a joke this article is.
    No, Jordan would not want to stay with a bad team, definitely not. BUT, is a team that reached the finals in 2007, then lost in 7 games to a team that won it all in 2008, then had the best record in the NBA in 2009 and 2010 only to lose to inferior teams in the playoffs a bad team???? Answer that idiot Winderman. PLEASE. Jordan would not have had a “bizarre” game 5 against Boston (In my opinion, LeBron threw that series) and he would have made his teammates work harder to achieve the ultimate goal. No way that Jordan would have walked away from a team this close. LeBron is no Jordan, period. Defending this quitter is nonsense.

  15. Jimee Johnnson - Jul 20, 2010 at 12:18 PM

    Great article! Jordan cheated on his wife, gambled like a gangster, and marketed himself in a way never seen before or since. His word means absolutely nothing, except to the sore loser haters who take out their frustrations on Lebron and the Heat. Next season, LeBron and the Heat are going to KICK YOUR WEE WEEPER PUNK LOSER ASSES!

  16. antiochcat - Jul 20, 2010 at 12:19 PM

    Call me cynical, but I find a real political undertone to this whole ‘controversy.’ LeBron, Wayde, and Bosh are highly paid professional athletes, but they are still ‘labor’; they are contract players for owners who control all league actions. That they managed to work their contracts to their own satisfaction is damning because it deligitimizes the owners’ ‘ownership’ of the players. When we see how jobs these days are outsourced, and people are being laid off in order to preserve the ‘bottom line’ for shareholders, it’s easy to see how there would be an establishment backlash. I mean, if everyone could do that… jeez what a concept, and wouldn’t that put a major [edited] to Wall Street. But I don’t get the blowback by the sports media. I’d think you’d support the idea that players could actually have some control over their careers, whether or not it panned out.

  17. ol skool - Jul 20, 2010 at 12:21 PM

    Unfortunately, you have no idea of what you are talking about. Almost every point you have attempted to make is demonstrably false.

  18. James - Jul 20, 2010 at 12:25 PM

    Lets be honest…..ALL THIS DOESN’T REALLY MATTER ONE BIT. We will still watch and pad the wallets of the undeserved.

  19. wrjsemperfi - Jul 20, 2010 at 12:43 PM

    This journalist is a damn fool. really? Get off Lebrons dic*! Jordan made a extremely valid point; and he also said several times that it’s a different time, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing, (which was Jordan being political, he does think it’s a bad thing) so why the hell is this dumb ass “writer” taking the time to write this stupid ass article? Maybe he got a kick back I guess. And Pippen??? What was Pippen before Jordan? Jordan MADE him play great and become a name, in addition to the rest of the bulls. same thing Kobe did with the recent Lakers; everyone said he couldn’t do it without Shaq, bs, he did. twice. and I hate Kobe, has a hater; ha! anyway, the real greatest MAKE the players on their team shine and force them to play great in order to win championships. this dumb ass journalist decides to throw out a bunch of hypothetical’s with the bulls and Phil Jackson, etc, please dude, go get some ass, you obviously are not thinking right.
    apparently the standards for being a writer for South Florida Sun-Sentinel is not too difficult, maybe hes the editors son or nephew. pathetic..
    semper fi,
    go rockets! lol

  20. ron - Jul 20, 2010 at 12:51 PM

    what a stupid article. to say sure you would not call. he did not make the call, so how could you say he would if he was in lebrons place.jordan also did not win in his first 7 years and still did not make the call. its like you want to change history,and say he would. the real history is he did not. so what mike said is the complete truth and you cant change it, however you want to put a spin on it. it did not happen!

  21. Jangocat - Jul 20, 2010 at 1:02 PM

    Ya right, your article is bunk. The fact of the matter is James took the easy way out. MJ just called him out on it. Who are you to call MJ a lier? MJ made a bunch of role-players into a team. Kobe does the same thing in this era. James is an over rated choke artist that people like you seem to have unlimited excuses for.

  22. Stovenson - Jul 20, 2010 at 1:06 PM

    what a bunch of crap. No way was MJ going to share with another alpa male. couldn’t do that. But, if scottie was not there, how would he have acted? Please don’t tell me that if he had just given Cleveland his best that he would not take the very same opportunity if it existed in his time?

  23. Anonymous - Jul 20, 2010 at 1:07 PM

    this reporter must be 20 years old and have a very different view from a world he should be seeing

  24. steve - Jul 20, 2010 at 1:13 PM

    I think the article is dead wrong. MJ loved to compete, he loved to be pushed and he loved to win. Yes, he had Scottie and he was good, but the team was Jordan and they were great. Jordan knew how to put the dagger in the heart. I’ll never forget one night when he was playing with the flu and he blew away the Lakers (my team) in the 4th quarter. LeBron James doesn’t belong in the same conversation as Michael Jordan. He does not have that winning instinct. He can win when it doesn’t count, but when the big show starts, he folds his tent. I think he knows that about himself and that’s why he tried to recruit some winners.

  25. Jason - Jul 20, 2010 at 1:19 PM

    This article written by Ira Winderman who writes regularly for and covers the HEAT and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Your just trying to make everything look good for Lebron cause you are goiong to be writting about him for years to come. Quit sucking up to James and become a real reporter. NBC wake up and give this guy the boot!!!

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