Jor­dan hits out at NBA’s class di­vide

Bulls leg­end warns ‘su­perteams’ risk cre­at­ing top-heavy league

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By AGENCE FRANCEPRESSE

NEW YORK — Re­tired NBA leg­end Michael Jor­dan has warned that the “su­perteam” era will cre­ate a league with 28 “garbage” clubs that will strug­gle.

Jor­dan, who in­spired the Chicago Bulls to six NBA ti­tles in the 1990s, ad­dressed the topic in an in­ter­view posted on Ci­gar Afi­cionado mag­a­zine’s web­site on Thurs­day.

He also talked about his pal Tiger Woods, the 14-time ma­jor cham­pion golfer who is strug­gling to re­turn to com­pe­ti­tion af­ter mul­ti­ple back surg­eries, and said he him­self might not have “sur­vived in this Twit­ter time”.

Jor­dan’s tough­est talk was on the state of the NBA, where sev­eral teams have stock­piled tal­ent to try and de­throne the reign­ing cham­pion Golden State War­riors, who last sea­son united stars Kevin Du­rant and Stephen Curry to form a dom­i­nant squad that claimed a sec­ond ti­tle in three sea­sons.

In the past few months, the Cleve­land Cava­liers, Hous­ton Rock­ets and Ok­la­homa City Thun­der have added star tal­ent to their ros­ters.

“I think it’s go­ing to hurt the over­all as­pect of the league from a com­pet­i­tive stand­point,” Jor­dan told the mag­a­zine. “You’re go­ing to have one or two teams that are go­ing to be great and another 28 teams that are go­ing to be garbage, or they are go­ing to have a tough time sur­viv­ing in the busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment.”

Jor­dan also said he lacks the pa­tience to be a coach, say­ing his big­gest prob­lem is the fo­cus level of to­day’s play­ers.

“For me to ask an in­di­vid­ual to fo­cus on the game the way I played would, in some ways, be un­fair and if he didn’t do it, there’s no telling where my emo­tions would be,” he said.

Re­gard­ing Woods, whose ma­jor to­tal ranks sec­ond only to the 18 won by Jack Nick­laus, Jor­dan said the in­jured star is in a tran­si­tional phase, per­haps made more dif­fi­cult by so­cial me­dia.

“I don’t know if I could have sur­vived in this Twit­ter time where you don’t have the pri­vacy that you would want,” the 54-year-old said.

Tiger feat

Jor­dan would not be drawn on com­par­ing Woods and Nick­laus in the ‘great­est of all time’ de­bate.

“That’s more for sto­ries and hype,” Jor­dan said. “Jack and Tiger never played against each other. They never played with the same equip­ment.

“I never played against Wilt Cham­ber­lain. I never played against Jerry West. To now say that one is greater than the other is be­ing a lit­tle bit un­fair.

“How much did each one


im­pact, change or evolve the game? Ob­vi­ously Jack won more dur­ing the time he played. Tiger evolved it to where it crossed a lot of dif­fer­ent boundaries, where it’s not just a white guy’s sport — black guys, African-Amer­i­cans, all mi­nori­ties play the game.

“He played it at a level to where it gen­er­ated so much in­ter­est fi­nan­cially that it grew the game from a fi­nan­cial stand­point. Now does that con­sti­tute him be­ing the great­est? To say he’s any less than Jack, I think, is un­fair.”

Jor­dan framed his Nick­lausWoods ar­gu­ment in an NBA con­text, com­par­ing his ti­tle to­tal to the record 11 won by Bos­ton Celtics great Bill Rus­sell.

“Yeah, Jack has got 18 ma­jors and Tiger has got 14. And that’s how peo­ple are judg­ing cer­tain things,” Jor­dan

“I think it (the ‘su­perteam’ era) is go­ing to hurt the league from a com­pet­i­tive stand­point.”

Michael Jor­dan, NBA leg­end

said. “I won six cham­pi­onships. Bill Rus­sell won 11. Does that make Bill Rus­sell bet­ter than me? Make me bet­ter than him? No be­cause when you try to com­pare dif­fer­ent eras and equate who is bet­ter than the other, it’s an un­fair par­al­lel, an un­fair choice.”

McIl­roy fan

Jor­dan also praised North­ern Ire­land golf star Rory McIl­roy, say­ing he ad­mires the 28-year-old for­mer world No 1 but has yet to play a round with him.

“Very tal­ented. Never played golf with him yet,” Jor­dan said. “Seen him on the range. We’ve talked. I’m a big fan. For some­one that small to gen­er­ate that much power is truly amaz­ing.”

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