Penny Hardaway, Grant Hill, Vince Carter, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James have one thing in common… they’ve all been dubbed the “Next Michael Jordan” at one point in their lives. And there will be more young phenoms with that label thrust upon them.
It’s safe to say that none of the above have lived up to that tag, not because they weren’t skilled or were busts in the NBA. It’s simply because there will never be another Michael Jordan.
“By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time.”—Introductory line of Jordan’s NBA Encyclopedia biography
As if the above quote is not enough to summarize Jordan’s excellency in the pantheons of NBA greats, I guess I will share some statistics:
Led the NBA in scoring in 10 seasons (NBA record)
Holds the top career and playoff scoring averages of 30.1 and 33.4 points per game
Jordan’s total of 5,987 points in the playoffs is the highest in NBA history
With five regular-season MVP’s (tied for second all-time)
Six Finals MVP’s (NBA record)
Three All-Star MVP’s
Michael was known for his fierce competitiveness, and intense desire to win. It was made most apparent the day he punched a teammate in practice, because he demands the best not only from himself, but out of everyone on his team.
His unwillingness to lose has made many memorable moments, from his game-winning jumper as a Freshman at UNC in the NCAA Championship game, to his buzzer-beater jump shot in 1989 to beat Cleveland in the Eastern Conference Semis, to his 1997 performance in the NBA finals when he was stricken with the flu and still managed to score 38 points including the game-deciding three-pointer with under a minute remaining, to his final shot as a Chicago Bull in Game 6 of the 1998 Finals where he drained a shot that gave the Bulls the lead and their 6th NBA Championship.
There were also countless Jordan moments that are too long to list here. His dazzling skills on the court were unmatched by anyone in the history of the NBA. Sure, LeBron might have better jumps, Kobe might have a better scoring touch, or whoever else… but none of them had the ENTIRE package of skills Jordan had.
Which leads to my request, err… rather more of an order, please STOP saying there will be a next Jordan, because there never will be. PERIOD.
From North Carolina… at 6’6″, Guard… Number 23… MICHAEL JORDAN!