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I prefer Magic's game over Bird or Jordan, because of his great individual talent and his ability to make his team better.
Yao will clearly be a good NBA player, but the dynasty talk is premature. He needs to get stronger, he doesn't have a good enough team around him for now, and he plays in a tough West that figures to be tough for years to come.
Walton is OK as an announcer, nothing special. I think his routine will wear on people after a while.
I'm a huge Bird fan, but come on. It's not like he didn't have any help. Sure, his first season he took Boston into the playoffs...they had Tiny , Cornbread, Cowens...not a great supporting cast, but could have been much worse. Bird's second year they get Parrish, draft McHale, and won the championship. Getting Parrish was HUGE addition. Didn't reach the finals the next two years, then added Dennis Johnson, and won the title '83-84. For most of his career (actually, all of it) he played with a much better team than Jordan. Sure, he was the consumate team player and made others around him better, but so did Jordan. Bird started out strong, but after his 7th year he never won a championship again. In his 13th year, Jordan finished off a 3-peat and had 6 championships overall. His staying power was much greater than Bird's (yes, Bird's back finally did him in, but that team wasn't going to win anymore titles even with a healthy Bird). Pippen was a very good player for Chicago..but as evidenced by his infamous refusal to go on the court in the playoffs when Phil drew a play for Kukoc instead of him, he was mentally strong enough to be a true leader or superstar on his own, nor did he achieve much once he left Chicago to do his own thing...Grant was also very good, but once he left Chicago he mysteriously never was as good of a player. Besides them, Jordan played with a bunch of misfits and journeyman that seemed to rotate every other year. James Edwards, BJ Armstrong, Stacy King, Scott Williams, John Paxson, Luc Longley, Bill Wennington, Ron Harper (who was a good player until his injuries, then he joined Chicago), Randy Brown, Dave Corzine, Bill Cartwright (at the very tail-end of his career), Bobby Hansen, Craig Hodges, Pete Myers, Dickey Simpkins..the list goes on and on. After Bird's first season, he basically had the same roster year after year and it blew away the Bulls starting five and bench. How people can argue that Jordan didn't make his teammates better is beyond me. Not to mention he was also arguably the greatest defender that didn't play center in league history.
Jordan played on a team that could, and did, contend for the title without him.
Although Bird's teammates are well-known, they didn't win without him.
You give only opinions about who's teammates are better. The fact is Jordan's teammates, in the middle of the dynasty, played about .650 or something. Did any team Bird played for win .650 when he was out? Anyone know? I don't, but I don't remember them as doing too well without him.
And in any case, my point is only this: it isn't "indisputable" that MJ was the best ever.
And yes, it's true, I'm a bit anti-Jordan. I'm even more anti-Shaq.
Every time I play cards with Jerry Buss I'm tempted to tell him what I think, which is that, after Bird and Magic rescued the league, the NBA realized that superstars made the league a success, and thereafter decided to MANUFACTURE stars, first Jordan (who, as you pointed out, basically doesn't get called for fouls, which sure makes defense easier) and now Shaq (who, if offensive fouls were enforced, couldn't score 10 pts a game).
Shaq, and the Lakers generally, are a league PR-manufactured success. I don't believe in mass corruption, but there's no doubt the refs cheated the Kings last year and the Blazers two years before that, to insure that the Lakers made it to the finals. There's no doubt they've been told not to call Shaq for offensive fouls. There's no doubt they were told, years ago, not to call travelling, because the player's often need that third step if they're going to make those crowd-pleasing slam dunks.
Thank you Jdog for realizing why I posted this. Nobody is questioning that Ming is a good player and has a lot of potential but to compare a player who has 20 some odd nba games under his belt to the great Magic Johnson is a complete joke (yes I realize that this is Walton's gig but its downright disrespectful). I hated the Lakers and "Showtime", but Magic was one of the best ever. A point guard who could play centre...unreal.
As far as the Jordan/Bird comparison I dont think its fair to compare the Bulls sans Jordan to the Celtics sans Bird. When Bird left the Celtics, McHale and Parrish were well past their prime. When Jordan left the Bulls, they brought Kukoc over and still had Scottie and Grant who were in their prime at the time.
YOU GUYS CRACK ME UP WHEN YAO MING FIRST PLAYED THIS YEAR EVERYBODY SAID THIS GUY SUCKS HE CANT SCORE HE CANT PASS HE IS JUST A BIG GOON LIKE RALPG SAMPSON.NOW HE IS STARTING TO PLAY GOOD AND EVERYBODY SAYS MAN HE IS GREAT HE REMINDS ME OF MAGIC.
I HAVE NOTICED A BIG CHANGE IN YAO MINGS ATTITUDE FOR THE FIRST COUPLE OF GAMES THE REPORTERS WOULD ASK YAO QUESTIONS TO WHY HE SUCKS AS A BASKETBALL PLAYER (OH SO SORRY DIDNT HEAR DA QUESTION ME NO SPEAK NO ENGLISH)WOW WHAT A CHANGE NOW THE SAME REPORTERS SAY HEY YAO GREAT GAME (WELL THANK YOU BOYS I AM ADJUSTING TO THE N.B.A. GAME I HAVE ENROLLED IN HARVARD FOR THE OFF SEASON I LOVE THE UNITED STATES I HAVE MY OWN TALK SHOW ITS GOING TO BE BIGGER THAN JOHNNY CARSONS SHOW) MAN ITS AMAZING HOW A GUY CAN CHANGE SO MUCH IN 2 MONTHS NOW HE IS RECITING POETRY IN 5 LANGUAGES.BEANTOWNJIM
<< Jordan played on a team that could, and did, contend for the title without him. >>
You mean the 1994-95 team that got outscored 14-0 to end the game on their home court against the Magic in Game 6 of the Conference Finals? The same Magic squad that got SWEPT in the finals? That team was much weaker without Jordan.
Another factor with the Bulls was that they had to deal with the Pistons at the top of their game, and the Knicks at the top of Ewing's game. Those were some great teams that were delaying Jordan's rise to the top.
<< Although Bird's teammates are well-known, they didn't win without him.
You give only opinions about who's teammates are better. The fact is Jordan's teammates, in the middle of the dynasty, played about .650 or something. Did any team Bird played for win .650 when he was out? Anyone know? I don't, but I don't remember them as doing too well without him. >>
Boston wasn't set up to win without Bird.
<< And in any case, my point is only this: it isn't "indisputable" that MJ was the best ever. And yes, it's true, I'm a bit anti-Jordan. I'm even more anti-Shaq. Every time I play cards with Jerry Buss I'm tempted to tell him what I think, which is that, after Bird and Magic rescued the league, the NBA realized that superstars made the league a success, and thereafter decided to MANUFACTURE stars, first Jordan (who, as you pointed out, basically doesn't get called for fouls, which sure makes defense easier) and now Shaq (who, if offensive fouls were enforced, couldn't score 10 pts a game). >>
Shaq is fine, but the Laker supporting cast seems all too mortal right now. Or, more likely, the Lakers are just toying with us and will romp to another title.
<< Shaq, and the Lakers generally, are a league PR-manufactured success. >>
Gee, and I thought it was those step-on-the-gas-pedal, 27-5 runs they made when they decided they wanted to put a game out of reach?
<< I don't believe in mass corruption, but there's no doubt the refs cheated the Kings last year and the Blazers two years before that, to insure that the Lakers made it to the finals. There's no doubt they've been told not to call Shaq for offensive fouls. There's no doubt they were told, years ago, not to call travelling, because the player's often need that third step if they're going to make those crowd-pleasing slam dunks. >>
Actually they only take two steps to the basket, which you are allowed.
As for Yao Ming, he looks like the real deal.
<< You mean the 1994-95 team that got outscored 14-0 to end the game on their home court against the Magic in Game 6 of the Conference Finals? The same Magic squad that got SWEPT in the finals? That team was much weaker without Jordan. >>
Every team, bad and good, gets outscored in streaks many times. It proves nothing. It's the NBA. The MJ-less Bulls lost to the Magic, who got swept: proving what? Every team loses to teams which lose to teams which lose to teams.....if you want, you can figure out that the Bengals this year are the best team because they beat Houston who beat....and Tampa Bay sucks because they lost to....
<< Another factor with the Bulls was that they had to deal with the Pistons at the top of their game, and the Knicks at the top of Ewing's game. Those were some great teams that were delaying Jordan's rise to the top. >>
EVERY team has to contend with the best teams of their era. Every era has stars in their prime. You're basically saying that MJ's Bulls had to beat their top opponents. Wonderful insight, there. MJ's Bulls had to beat their top opponents, whereas Bird's Celtics only had to beat....their top opponents.
<< Boston wasn't set up to win without Bird. >>
Another meaningless, unprovable, statement.
The FACT is the Bulls without Jordan were a semi-finalist team. The FACT is that the Bulls for years with a healthy Jordan couldn't win. The FACT is that the Wizards now, with a Jordan only a step off his prime, can't win. The FACT is the Celtics, INSTANTLY with Bird, won.
<< Shaq is fine, but the Laker supporting cast seems all too mortal right now. Or, more likely, the Lakers are just toying with us and will romp to another title. >>
Shaq is fine? He still can't score without committing an offensive foul. The theory of the game is that even a little old lady has the right to her defensive floor space, and any opponent can go around her or over her, but not through her. Shaq goes through people. He bullies through them. That's what he does. That's cheating. He's "fine" as long as he's allowed to cheat. He's allowed to cheat as long as he puts butts in seats. In that respect, he's "fine."
And by "romp to another title," you mean like last year, where even the die-hard Lakers fans at the Commerce top-section had to roll their eyes over what the refs did to the Kings in the 4th quarter of game 6? The team needs 7 games to win, and needs incredible ref assistance to even do that, and you call that a "romp?"
<< Gee, and I thought it was those step-on-the-gas-pedal, 27-5 runs they made when they decided they wanted to put a game out of reach? >>
Again, EVERY team in the NBA goes on big runs. It's the NBA. Plenty of good-not-great teams do it. It's mere bell curve points distribution. Next you're going to tell us there's such a thing as a shooter having a "hot hand," a misperception well-proven false.
You just keep betting on the Lakers; the books need the money. I'll just keep fading them; I need the money, too.
And you might as well bet the ranch on the Wizards, too. They must win. They've got "Dominique Wilkens with ref protection," a.k.a Michael Jordan, on their team. How can they lose?
MJ was a great player. One of the best. But not, indisputably, THE best.
The last watchable team was the 1990 Detriot Pistons, it was the only Nba team that Bobby Knight would watch, know with Yao Ming the Rockets are watchable, if I were the Chinese national government I would keep Daivd stern and Bob Costas 100 yds away from him at all times, those guys are poison to athletic competion.
Stating that Bird had much less of a supporting cast than Jordan did is absolutely ridiculous. It has already been pointed out that Bird played with two Hall of Famers to Jordan's one-and Bird was once quoted as saying that Dennis Johnson was the smartest player he ever played with. Hell, Walton himself
was on at least one of those teams, admittedly past his prime but a contributor and a Hall of Famer. Jordan had one Hall of Famer with questionable heart and who had no business being the Greatest 50 NBA Players list of some years ago. Furthermore, before Jordan, NBA championships had been dominated
by center for, oh, one third of a century. Who did Jordan have? Bill Cartwright? Will Purdue? Bill Wennington? GET REAL! And, oh, yes, does the fact that Jordan's teams won twice as many championships as Bird's mean anything? I liked Bird a lot, but how many times did he lead the league in scoring and get named the Defensive Player of the Year in the same year? No disgrace that he never did
it, neither did anybody else-except You-Know-Who.
Nostaw, you don't get it: you're still offering mere opinions, some second hand (which is all the Hall of Fame is: opinion, reputation). If you win, you get a good rep. If you're on a team that distributes the ball smartly, every member ends up looking good. Parrish, DJ, McHale, etc, all ended up looking good. So good, that years later, without evidence, people still talk about what a great supporting cast Bird had.
You did mention a few facts, so let me deal with them. If you think leading the league in scoring is proof of greatness, or being named D player of the Year, cool. I was talking about the real test: what a player adds to a team's chance of winning. Jordan won more titles because he had a superior supporting cast (as proven by their excellent record without him), and a longer, healthier career. That's all. You use Bird's comment about DJ as proof of what? Bird said something complimentary about a teammate? Tells you more about Bird than the teammate.
If you want to pretend that MJ's supporting cast didn't make it to the conference semi's without him, fine.
If you want to pretend that Bird's supporting cast DID make it that far, fine.
If you want to pretend that MJ instantly transformed a losing team into a contender, fine.
If you want to pretend that Bird DIDN'T instantly transform losing team into a contender, fine.
If you want to pretend the Wizards are going to challenge for the title this year, fine.
Ignore all the facts you want.
Here's the real test for us sportsbettors: if you had a team---hypothesize it's the exact same team, only one time with Bird, another with MJ---if Bird was out injured, would you drop your power rating on the team less than if MJ was out? And I mean the line you make for your betting purposes, not the line you'd offer the ESPN highlight-watching, Vitale-listening, EA-playing, fave-betting, Sagarin-believing, dunk-worshipping squares.
Because to me, if you'd drop a betting line (not an offer line) more with MJ out than with Bird out, you make J.R. Miller look sharp.
MJ is a great player. But he isn't in-dis-pu-ta-bly the best ever. I'M disputing it. Personally, I only put him in the top five, with Russell, Magic, Bird and Jabbar.
Bird had to beat the Pistons, Sixers and Lakers. The Bulls never beat anybody good, plus the refs gave them all the calls. The leauge office had to manipulate things for Jordan to be successfull, and by doing that they completly ruined the nba.
Pokerjoe, No, YOU don’t get it: virtually ANYTHING can be discarded as an opinion, you could say that Bill Cartwright was a better center than Wilt Chamberlain because he had more championship rings. Wilt’s superiority is not technically a fact, it’s merely an opinion-1 that is shared by 99.9999% of people who know anything about basketball. You stated “Jordan won more titles because he had a superior supporting cast (as proven by their excellent record without him), and a longer, healthier career.” Uhh, what excellent record is that? They made-as in, “lost”-the conference semi-finals, what, once? Well, you were talking about “what a player adds to a team’s chances of winning,” and here we have losing the conference semi-finals on the one hand, and winning 6 titles-out of 6 tries, with never so much as one Game Seven-on the other hand. Lots of teams have gaudy looking records in the regular season and then flame out-you know, “make” the conference semis-in the playoffs. Utah has made a career of it. My point is, if you polled 100 knowledgeable basketball people, I am confident that in excess of 60% would NOT agree that Jordan had a “superior supporting cast.” And by the way, Jordan also won more titles because he had a healthier, longer career? And you’re gonna penalize him for that? Hey, let’s declare Walton the greatest ever, his Blazers kicked serious ass when they won in that one title in ’76, it’s obvious he would’ve been the greatest ever if those pesky injuries hadn’t gotten in the way, let’s just extrapolate that one year into 15 or so. One of the measuring sticks of greatness is longevity and consistency, and 6 titles out of 6 attempts more than nips 3 titles out of 8 attempts at the wire.
Regarding Bird’s comments about DJ, you apparently don’t know your idol all that well:
Bird wasn’t exactly free with praise for players, whether they were opponents or teammates. As for your power rating suggestion, that’s a pointless and irrelevant exercise: obviously the makeup of the team would factor into things, and in any event, it all boils down to…opinion. And if you’d have taken off more points from Bird being out of Boston’s lineup in their prime than you would for Jordan being out of Chicago’s lineup in THEIR “prime,” well, you’re entitled to your opinion, misguided though it may be.
Rail- Didn't the Bulls have to knock-off the Pistons to get to where they wanted to go? Oh, and I also vividly remember the most classless act by a basketball team in NBA history...when they realized it their time was over at Auburn Hills in a series against Chicago..your boy Isiah and a bunch of the other thugs walked off the court while the game was still in progress. Real professional and classy.
Unfortunately we can't, but I wish we could poll NBA GM's or scouts and ask them who would you rather have..Parrish (who was already an established NBA center before he came to Boston), McHale (who if you don't think would still have been an excellent player without Bird is nothing short of idiotic), Dennis Johnson (again, another established player and elite defender before he came to Boston), Cedric Maxwell and Danny Ainge as the sixth man, or Scottie Pippen (very good player but obviously turned out not to be as good as most thought without Jordan..I would take Parrish or McHale over him), Horace Grant (a very solid player, never a great one though), and let's say Luc Longley and BJ Armstrong to round out the starting five, with Kukoc as the sixth man.
Sure, it's subjective, but as nostaw alluded to, people have the right to say Bill Cartwright was a better center than Wilt and it can't be disproven in the way I can say I'm currently typing on a computer, but at the same token, it's just rather obvious.
Well said, Hoops. Pokerjoe, it would help if you would read what is said rather than pompously stating, not once, but twice, that somebody doesn't understand something. Nowhere did I say it was ridiculous to say that Jordan was "indisputably" the greatest player of all time; what I said was that it was ridiculous to say that Jordan's supporting cast was clearly better-or better at all-than Bird's.