Saturday, April 24, 2010

Vince Carter: Savior or Zero?


Vince Carter is no longer part of the elite group of NBA players. He is not a great scorer, not a great defender and no longer the finisher he was once. Vince Carter is basically no longer a franchise player. And yet, the Magic will count on him in the next few weeks to help them win the NBA title. Kanye West has a song in which the chorus goes: "Everything I'm not made me everything I am." Vince Carter has had an intriguing NBA career to say the least. For the past few years, we have all openly wondered: "how comes he doesn't get it?" No one can grasp why such a talented  player does so little. As a result, he has had several shots taken at him over the course of his career. Earlier this week, Orlando Pinstriped did a feature on him giving some insights on his playoff performances with the New Jersey Nets. The feature was prompted by an article that ESPN's Bill Simmons wrote about Vince's inability to be counted on in big moments. As a result, naysayers will tell you that the Magic cannot win an NBA championship with Vince Carter as the main perimeter scoring threat. Is that statement entirely accurate? Not quite.

Before we tackle that, let's look back at Vince Carter's career in the NBA. Back in 1998, I recall seeing VC play in his first NBA game with the Toronto Raptors (during the lockout year) and I knew then and there that he would be a star. He had all the gifts: good scorer, good ball handler, decent passing game, could not be guarded one on one, outrageous athletic ability, fearless when attacking the basket, finished with authority and understood when to defer to his teammates. With that said though, Carter's biggest accomplishment in his rookie season was that he made Canadians care. As a Canadian resident, believe me when I say this: Canada revolves around hockey. If you're trying to broker a deal with someone and they are being stubborn about it and keep low balling you, just talk about hockey and your odds automatically improve. In other words, hockey is the Canadian currency.

And yet, things changed after 1998. You see, general NBA fans thank Vince Carter because he brought back the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest (admit it, some of you forgot that the NBA had decided to no longer have the dunk contest and then changed their mind after seeing Vince dunk on people in NBA games). What most fans fail to realize is that Carter made NBA basketball cool in Canada. Once Carter made a big splash in the league, people were now being envied for having Raptors tickets and all of a sudden hockey wasn't the only sport that Canadians paid attention to. In fact, Carter's ascension in the NBA led to sports channels in Canada finally displaying actual basketball highlights on their sports recap shows (in case you were wondering, they used to just show the scores of the previous night's NBA games). As far as illustrations go, Carter was like the first ever cocaine dealer to hit the streets of Miami; so in other words, he completely changed the culture all by himself. Truth be told, some Raptors fans might not want to hear it, but Carter essentially made the NBA a viable product in Canada.

Keep in mind though, Carter's success wasn't limited to gravity defying dunks. Vince Carter was actually an elite NBA player. He led his team to the playoffs a few times and was part of an epic second round seven game series with the Philadelphia 76ers. After getting eliminated by the Sixers, the general consensus at the time was that the team wasn't ready for primetime but that with a few additions they would be able to compete for the Eastern Conference crown.  

Unfortunately for Raptors fans, that would be the farthest that the former Tar Heel would bring them. His following seasons are barely remembered because of all the games missed due to injuries and the team's inability to be successful in the absence of their star player. By 2005, things had reached the point of no return.  Carter was no longer known as "Half Man, Half Amazing"; instead fans and sports journalists playfully began calling him "Half Man, Half a Season" because of his inability to suit up for games.  Carter in turn became unhappy during the offseason because the franchise failed to grant an interview to Julius Erving for the vacant general manager's position (Carter wanted the Raps to at least consider Dr. J. and they failed to do so); and he requested to be traded. By the time the season started, Carter was still Raptor and he seemed completely disinterested with the team. He failed to attack the basket, drifted on the perimeter (seriously, Carter stood at the three point line like a homeless person waiting for change) and refused to take games over in the fourth quarter. For about a month and half with the Raptors, Carter averaged 30.4 minutes per game; here's what he produced:

15.9 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 3.1 APG, 41.1 FG%, 3.6 FTAG (free throw attempts per game).

By December 2005, Carter finally got his wish and was traded away to New Jersey where he got the opportunity to play alongside Jason Kidd. All of a sudden, Vince Carter cared again. Look at his averages after the trade (his playing time went up to 38.9 minutes per game):

27.5 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 4.7 APG, 46.2 FG%, 6.8 FTAG

So the numbers increased in Jersey but so did the playing time, so is it really fair to say that he cared more? Look at the free throw attempts, they nearly doubled. Carter was no longer floating around the perimeter and firing away jump shots; instead Carter became the highflyer that everyone had fallen in love with in the years before. He was attacking the basket and once again accepted the burden of being the team's go to scorer. At this point, Vince Carter became the most hated man in Canada. Fans clearly saw that Vince tried harder in New Jersey and that he wanted to be there. To add insult to injury, that same season Carter had an interview with TNT's John Thompson in which he basically said that he had stopped trying in Toronto. The most forgiving of fans could no longer root for Carter and that's when he became our very own basketball version of Tony Montana; everybody's favorite bad guy (well, he was probably second to some random NBA player that was accused of rape in Eagle, Colorado).

Some NBA fans still rooted for VC and cheered him on every time he made an amazing play; however they weren't sure how long this Carter version would last. They kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. Indeed, after a career full of injuries, we all waited for Carter to get that one injury that would cripple him. But here's the odd thing, it never happened. Look at the amount of games he appeared in while playing for the Nets (the 2004-05 season, Carter played 20 games with the Raptors and 57 with the Nets):

Season
Games played
2004-05
77
2005-06
79
2006-07
82
2007-08
76
2008-09
80

Although we view the 2000 dunk champ as a frail player with less street credibility than Spongebob Squarepants (seriously, if you had to pick the winner of a fight involving Vince Carter and Chris Brown, you'd pick the young dancing R&B singer that was viewed by some to be the next Michael Jackson right?), Carter has been able to play in most of his team's games in the past few seasons. The problem is no longer his availability to play, it's rather his level commitment to his teams.

Indeed, in his last two seasons in the swamp, Carter's scoring, field goal and free throw attempts gradually decreased. Mind you, we do not really need a CSI to analyze the evidence: the dip in Vince's stats coincides with the departure of Jason Kidd from the Nets. And keep in mind, the word around town was that Kidd could no longer play with Carter because he routinely gave less than 100%. Once the former Nets point guard moved on to Dallas, Carter's production took a hit. Carter had no one to push him, so he seemingly stopped giving his maximum effort.

 Knowing all this, why did a team that made the NBA Finals last year take a chance by trading for Vince Carter? They figured they could probably motivate him to play at an elite level for at least one postseason, and that it would help them win a title. But what can Carter do to help the Magic win a title? The obvious answer is score. But we might need to dig a bit deeper. Have a look at Vince Carter's points per game and free throws attempted per game in wins versus the top three seeds in both conferences:

Season
PPG in Wins
FTAG in Wins
2009-10
16.4
5.6

Nothing that jumps out. Let's now have a look at the same statistics in losses versus the top three seeds in each conference:

Season
PPG in Losses
FTAG in Lossess
2009-10
15.3
2.8

The scoring is just about the same, however there is a difference in the free throw shooting. Carter shot twice as many free throws in wins as he did in losses. What that tells me is that when Carter comes out aggressive, his team tends to follow suit. But if he comes out bombing three pointers, the rest of the squad follows. Keep in mind, I'm well aware that 5.6 free throws per game is not a big amount of free throws, but it's matter of team mindset. Don't believe me? The Magic have defeated the Charlotte Bobcats three times in the playoffs so far and Vince Carter is averaging six free throw attempts per game.

With that said, can the player formerly known as Air Canada do it for four straight playoff rounds? Recent history seems to point towards the negative. In his last playoff series back in the 2006-2007 season; Carter seemingly wore down as the postseason went along.  Look at what Carter did in the first eight Nets playoff games that season:

G
MPG
PPG
FG%
FGA
FTA
8
40.5
24.6
40.9
21.4
6.9


Good production from the former UNC player, but look at what he did in his last four games:

G
MPG
PPG
FG%
FGA
FTA
4
40.8
17.8
35.9
16.0
8.3

Carter was able to get to the line more but his scoring as well as field goal percentage went down as the games wore on him. Considering that Orlando needs to win 16 games (and could potentially play 28 playoff games if every round were to go to seven games) to get the title, why did they bring Carter aboard?

That's the dirty little secret that Otis Smith does not want you to know. He wants you to take his team lightly and underestimate them. But the truth is this: Vince Carter does not have to carry the Magic. The Magic have to carry him. Orlando already has a franchise center (last I checked, those are the guys that win titles and they are pretty rare) to carry the team; and they have tons of firepower on offense. Between Mickel Pietrus, Jameer Nelson and Rashard Lewis, there's plenty of shots to go around. All Orlando needs from Vince is 16 & 5. Not 30, 25 or even 20 points; just 16 points and five free throw attempts. Before you completely dismiss that notion, just remember it worked for Boston two years ago when Pierce and Ray Allen actually shared the scoring burden in crunch time on their way to a title. If the Magic can make Carter care just enough, they're may be a parade in Orlando come June.

Photo by: Streeter Lecka/ Getty Images
From: ESPN
You can follow my tweets at Twitter.com/ShyneIV.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Simply The Greatest


Here's a shocker for you all: Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time. And yet, every year some new guy comes up with some form of statistical analysis that measures the production of a current player and then cross references it with Jordan and tells the masses that this said player is having a Jordan type season. Perhaps it's time that someone brought us back to reality; perhaps someone needs to give us all a Jay-Z type Reminder. One day, someone might come close to touching MJ's legacy or even possibly surpassing it; but make no mistake, if you look at his team and individual success, it hasn't come close to happening yet.  

TEAM SUCCESS
Throughout the course of NBA history, we have some seen some truly great teams with some amazing stories. If you watch NBA TV often enough, you have heard some of these stories. Let's quickly peek at some of these greatest teams ever:

-The 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers won an NBA record 33 games in a row with Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain leading the way. The  '72 Lakers finished with the second best ever record in NBA history as they went 69-13 and won the NBA championship at the end of the season.

-The 1979-80 Los Angeles Lakers will always have a place in the heart of basketball fans because it was the world's introduction to Magic Johnson. Most of you already know the story; as a rookie, Magic Johnson started at center in Game 6 of the NBA Finals for an injured Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and went on to fill up the stat sheet with 42 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists as the Lakers clinched the NBA title.

-The 1986 Boston Celtics is arguably the best NBA basketball team ever known to man. A team that featured Hall of Fame players Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, Dennis Johnson (already elected, just not inducted yet) and Bill Walton took the league by storm on their way to an NBA championship. In addition, that Celtic team could not be beaten at home. Allow me to illustrate: when a man is attracted to a woman and hopes to take things to the physical level, he typically invites her to his place. He knows that once she makes it to his turf, he is unbeatable. He is going to have all the advantages and necessary tools required to seal the deal. That was the 1986 Boston Celtics. Their 40-1 record at the Boston Garden still stands as the best home record in NBA history.

Where does Michael Jordan fit into all of this? Well when remembering his Airness, people tend to focus on his individual exploits (which kind of makes sense, I mean the dude was awesome), but do not always mention his team success. Michael Jordan's Bulls won six NBA championships (count them, 1,2,3,4,5,6; if you've seen Eddie Murphy's Raw stand up, you get the joke). However, not everyone realizes the historic significance of those titles. In the league's 63 year history, only four teams have been able to win at least three championships in a row. Look at the list:

-Minneapolis Lakers (won titles in 1952,1953, 1954).
-Boston Celtics (won titles in 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966).
-Chicago Bulls (won titles in 1991, 1992, 1993 & 1996, 1997, 1998).
Los Angeles Lakers (won titles in 2000, 2001, 2002).

Jordan's Bulls accomplished the feat twice. Seems pretty significant right? It gets better. Not only did the Bulls win titles in succession, but they dominated the regular season. Look at the five best regular season records in NBA history:

Rank
Season
Team
Record
1
1995-96
Chicago Bulls
72-10
T-2
1996-97
Chicago Bulls
69-13
T-2
1971-72
Los Angeles Lakers
69-13
3
1966-67
Philadelphia 76ers
68-13
4
1972-73
Boston Celtics
68-14
T-5
1985-86
Boston Celtics
67-15
T-5
1991-92
Chicago Bulls
67-15
T-5
1999-00
Los Angeles Lakers
67-15

Once again, Michael Jordan and his Bulls are the middle of every discussion. The Bulls have managed to claim the best ever record of all time as well as the second and fifth best records in league history. When MJ was in his prime, his teams didn't just win, they dominated the opposition as they picked up championships along the way.

INDIVIDUAL SUCCESS

Longevity
Michael Jordan might have been a one man show early in his career but by his third season, it was obvious to all that #23 was the best player in the league. His reign of terror as the NBA's top dog lasted from 1986 to 1998 (obviously you would have to subtract the 1993-94 and 1994-95 season due to his retirement). No one could touch Michael by 1986. Michael was the league's mortgage while the rest of the players were paying rent to him rent. Indeed, MJ was the league's hottest commodity for over a decade and he refused to relinquish his spot as the king of the NBA. In fact, look at all the things that happened during the time frame that Jordan literally owned the NBA:

-The A-Team television series airs its last episode (March 1987).
-Madonna releases the hit single Who's That Girl (June 1987).
-The Transformers (original television series) airs its last episode (November 1987).
-Kevin Durant is born (September 1988).
-Michael Jackson releases the hit movie Moonwalker (October 1988).
-Dennis Rodman creams Pippen into the basket support and gets called for a regular foul. No flagrant foul or ejection from the game (May 1990).
-The New Kids On The Block release their hit album Step by Step (June 1990).
-Future Kentucky super freshman John Wall is born (September 1990).
-The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air airs its first episode (September 1990).
-Tupac Shakur releases his first album 2Pacolypse Now (November 1991).
-The Cosby Show airs its last episode (April 1992).
-Shaquille O'Neal is drafted into the NBA (June 1992).
-The greatest collection of basketball talent ever participates in the Olympics: the Dream Team (Summer 1992).
- Hit TV show Friends airs its first episode (September 1994).
-Notorious B.I.G. releases his first album Ready To Die (September 1994).
-My first girlfriend ever (November 1994).
-The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air airs its last episode (May 1996).
-Jay-Z releases his first album Reasonable Doubt (June 1996).
-Allen Iverson is drafted into the NBA (June 1996).
-Kobe Bryant is drafted into the NBA (June 1996).
-Death of rapper Tupac Shakur (September 1996).
-Death of rapper Notorious B.I.G. (March 1997).
-Tim Duncan is drafted into the NBA (June 1997).
-Google Inc. is founded (September 1998).

Quick tangent: Doesn't it feel like Brett Favre was playing in the NFL during all those events? Technically he kind of was; he was drafted in April 1991.

That's a pretty decent list of pop culture landmarks if you will, but I can already see you coming with a specific question in mind: Yes Michael was good for a very long time, but how can you unequivocally say he was the best in the league from 1986 to 1998?  Thought you'd never ask….

Body Of Work
Look at what Michael Jordan accomplished from 1986 to 1998 (brace yourself, it's a fairly lengthy list).

Statistics
Regular season             
Season
PPG
RPG
APG
SPG
FG%
1986-87
37.1
5.2
4.6
2.9
0.48
1987-88
35.0
5.5
5.9
3.2
0.54
1988-89
32.5
8.0
8.0
2.9
0.54
1989-90
33.6
6.9
6.3
2.8
0.53
1990-91
31.5
6.0
5.5
2.7
0.54
1991-92
30.1
6.4
6.1
2.3
0.52
1992-93
32.6
6.7
5.5
2.8
0.50
1994-95
26.9
6.9
5.3
1.8
0.41
1995-96
30.4
6.6
4.3
2.2
0.50
1996-97
29.6
5.9
4.3
1.7
0.49
1997-98
28.7
5.8
3.5
1.7
0.47
1986 to 1998
32.0
6.3
5.4
2.5
0.51

Playoffs
Season
PPG
RPG
APG
SPG
FG%
1986-87
35.7
7.0
6.0
2.0
0.42
1987-88
36.3
7.1
4.7
2.4
0.53
1988-89
34.8
7.0
7.6
2.5
0.51
1989-90
36.7
7.2
6.8
2.8
0.51
1990-91
31.1
6.4
8.4
2.4
0.52
1991-92
34.5
6.2
5.8
2.0
0.50
1992-93
35.1
6.7
6.0
2.1
0.48
1994-95
31.5
6.5
4.5
2.3
0.48
1995-96
30.7
4.9
4.1
1.8
0.46
1996-97
31.1
7.9
4.8
1.6
0.46
1997-98
32.4
5.1
3.5
1.5
0.46
1986 to 1998
33.4
6.5
5.6
2.1
0.49

Jordan was incredibly consistent throughout his career but always saved his best for the postseason. As ridiculous as his regular season numbers were, his postseason numbers were off the charts. Let's put this in perspective; look at the amount of times that some of the most prolific NBA scorers were able to average at least 30 points per game for a whole regular season:

-Allen Iverson: 4 (for some reason I expected AI to have done it more than four times)
-Kobe Bryant: 3
-LeBron James: 2
-Tracy McGrady: 1
-Shaquille O'Neal: 0

Now look at those same NBA scorers and view the amount of times that they were able to average at least 30 points per game for a whole postseason:

-Tracy McGrady: 4
-Allen Iverson: 4
-Kobe Bryant: 4
-Shaquille O'Neal: 3
-LeBron James: 2

From 1986 to 1998, MJ did it eight times during the regular season and averaged 32.0 points per game. As it pertains to the playoffs during that same timeframe, Jordan averaged at least 30 points per game in every postseason appearance (so he averaged at least 30 points per game on 11 separate playoff seasons). No current NBA player has been able to do it more than four times.

Make no mistake though, Michael Jordan has always been the primary offensive player for the Bulls and every opponents game plan was geared towards stopping him. It doesn't seem as though they were very successful in their attempts mind you. On with the rest of his accolades….

All-Star Games
Selected to participate to 11 straight All-Star Games as a starter.

Awards
1987-88 NBA All-Star MVP
1987-88 Defensive Player of the Year
1987-88 League MVP
1990-91 League MVP
1990-91 NBA Finals MVP
1991-92 League MVP
1991-92 NBA Finals MVP
1992-93 NBA Finals MVP
1995-96 All-Star Game MVP
1995-96 League MVP
1995-96 NBA Finals MVP
1996-97 Finals MVP
1997-98 All-Star Game MVP
1997-98 League MVP
1997-98 NBA Finals MVP

Is there a more decorated player than Michael Jordan? Kareem Abdul-Jabbar collected six NBA League MVP trophies and two NBA Finals MVP trophies. Jordan on the other hand managed five MVP trophies and six NBA Finals MVP trophies. (in case you're wondering, no one else has won more than three NBA Finals MVP trophies; the names of the guys with three trophies are: Magic, Shaq and Duncan).

Honors
1986-87 All-NBA (1st Team)
1987-88 All-Defensive (1st Team)
1987-88 All-NBA (1st Team)
1988-89 All-Defensive (1st Team)
1988-89 All-NBA (1st Team)
1990-91 All-Defensive (1st Team)
1991-92 All-NBA (1st Team)
1992-93 All-Defensive (1st Team)
1992-93 All-NBA (1st Team)
1995-96 All-Defensive (1st Team)
1995-96 All-NBA (1st Team)
1996-97 All-Defensive (1st Team)
1996-97 All-NBA (1st Team)
1997-98 All-Defensive (1st Team)
1997-98 All-NBA (1st Team)

The All-NBA honors reinforce what most of us have always known: Michael Jordan was the most feared perimeter player the league has ever seen.  During an 11 year stretch, the former UNC player was the best offensive player in the league as well as one of its best defensive. Unlike nowadays, none of his opponents ever got a free pass. If you had to guard Jordan or he had to guard you, he would literally eat you up alive and let you know about it (word is his Airness is a better trash talker than NBA player, and let me reiterate that he is the greatest basketball player of all time; do the math) as the game went along. MJ has the titles as well as the individual accomplishments, is there anything left to add?

RINGS FIT DEPENDING ON THE SIZE
The NBA is league full of rich history and great players. Look at some of the NBA's greatest players and some of their accomplishments:

-Bill Russell was part of a staggering 11 NBA championships.
-Wilt Chamberlain once scored 100 points in a game and also averaged 50 points per game in one season.
-Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the NBA's all time leading scorer and he has won six NBA titles.
-Magic Johnson won five NBA championships, often played all five positions on the court and did everything with a smile.

After seeing that list, how is it that I can proclaim his Airness to be the greatest of all time? Before I answer that question, I would like for you to look at the list of NBA champions since 1980 and the elite big men that played on those teams (by elite big men, I am talking about power forwards or centers that were considered to be some of the best at their respective positions in the NBA).

Year
Champion
Elite Big Men
2009
Los Angeles Lakers
Pau Gasol
2008
Boston Celtics
Kevin Garnett
2007
San Antonio Spurs
Tim Duncan
2006
Miami Heat
Shaquille O'Neal
2005
San Antonio Spurs
Tim Duncan
2004
Detroit Pistons
Ben Wallace & Rasheed Wallace
2003
San Antonio Spurs
Tim Duncan
2002
Los Angeles Lakers
Shaquille O'Neal
2001
Los Angeles Lakers
Shaquille O'Neal
2000
Los Angeles Lakers
Shaquille O'Neal
1999
San Antonio Spurs
Tim Duncan & David Robinson
1998
Chicago Bulls
?
1997
Chicago Bulls
?
1996
Chicago Bulls
?
1995
Houston Rockets
Hakeem Olajuwon
1994
Houston Rockets
Hakeem Olajuwon
1993
Chicago Bulls
?
1992
Chicago Bulls
?
1991
Chicago Bulls
?
1990
Detroit Pistons
?
1989
Detroit Pistons
?
1988
Los Angeles Lakers
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
1987
Los Angeles Lakers
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
1986
Boston Celtics
Larry Bird, Kevin McHale & Robert Parish
1985
Los Angeles Lakers
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
1984
Boston Celtics
Larry Bird, Kevin McHale & Robert Parish
1983
Philadelphia 76ers
Moses Malone
1982
Los Angeles Lakers
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
1981
Boston Celtics
Larry Bird, Kevin McHale & Robert Parish
1980
Los Angeles Lakers
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Anything stand out to you? Since 1980, the NBA has crowned exactly 30 NBA champions. Out of those 30 title teams, it has only happened eight times that a team has been able to win an NBA title without an elite big man. That's the NBA's most prized piece of information: big men win championships. In order to compete for an NBA title, it is practically mandatory to have great big man.

It's like in the movie He's Just Not That Into You, at times we focus so much on the exceptions that we forget the rules. And as I previously stated, the biggest NBA rule revolves around the requirement of a big man to win the title. And yet, Michael Jordan ignored those rules and made the league his as he won six NBA titles without an elite big man on his team. His greatness allowed him to dominate the league and reach the mountain top several times at the expense of Hall of Fame big men such as Patrick Ewing, Shaquille O'Neal, Charles Barkley and Karl Malone to name a few. After Michael won multiple championships, everyone thought that he was the exception that would become the rule.

Indeed, teams tried to find the next perimeter player that they could just fit in with some scrubs and hope to watch him win a title. Here's a quick list of players that were Rated Next (as in rated as the next Jordan):
-Penny Hardaway
-Grant Hill
-Allen Iverson
-Jerry Stackhouse
-Vince Carter
-Tracy McGrady
-Kobe Bryant
-Dwyane Wade
-LeBron James

And yet, none of them have been able to walk in MJ's footsteps.  Penny Hardaway and LeBron James have never won an NBA Finals game; while Grant Hill and Tracy McGrady have yet to get out of the first round. Allen Iverson's career is close to coming to an end and he still has no rings. Jerry Stackhouse's biggest career achievement was a flagrant 2 foul in the 2006 NBA Finals on Shaquille O'Neal while Vince Carter has yet to play in a Conference Finals game. Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant both won titles with elite big men but both failed to make it out of the first round when they played without one. Many have attempted to duplicate Jordan's path (whether by choice or bad management), but they have all failed. His Airness was such a gifted a player that he was able to transcend the rule. He is the exception and always will be. I don't think we will ever see a guard win multiple titles in a row without the help of a dominant big man.

In conclusion, Michael Jordan has done it all. He has the rings, the records, the individual accomplishments and the respect of all. As time passes by, we tend to forget certain players and what they did for the game; but let's make sure we never forget MJ. One of my favorite rappers Joe Budden has a line in his song Dumb Out: "Don't deserve to breath the air that I farted in". Joe might as well have been talking for Michael Jordan. No player can come close right now to touching his Airness' legacy. So the next time someone compares some current or new player to Michael Jordan, give them a reality check and remind them that MJ's body of work is practically bulletproof. Until someone can replicate or surpass everything that #23 has done in his career, his throne is off limits…. 

Photo by: Scott Winterton/NBAE/Getty Image
From: ESPN

You can follow my tweets at Twitter.com/ShyneIV.