Michael Jordan Hall of Fame Day Links

» September 11, 2009 3:24 PM | By Brandon Hoffman

Sam Smith of Bulls.com:  “I asked Barkley if he’s staying with the big Jordan group at the Mohegan Sun complex, which the Hall of Fame is using for some events this weekend. Nah, Barkley said. He can’t keep up with Jordan. On the court or off. So Barkley proceeds to tell about this time during the Dream Team games in the 1992 Olympics when he was out late one night with Jordan. ‘The guy is amazing,’ Barkley says, shaking his head (I’m omitting the questionable modifiers because this is not cable TV). ‘We go out at night and do something and he takes this power nap for like an hour and he’s ready to play golf in the morning. We play 18 and then everyone wants to leave to get a nap. We’re, like, ‘It’s a game that night.’ But he stays and plays another 18. Then we’re playing Puerto Rico or someone (it was Puerto Rico in the quarter finals) and there was something in the paper their point guard said about Michael,’ Barkley goes on. ‘So Michael says to Chuck (Daly), ‘I got the point guard.’ And Chuck says, ‘Uh, OK.’ So Michael goes out and he won’t let this guy get the ball. He’s all over him, knocking the ball away and the guy can’t even get to the ball. It was like that with him. He’s guarding this guy all over the court and he doesn’t want to come out of the game and he’s dunking and pushing everyone to play harder. I’ve never seen anything like that with anyone. The guy is unbelievable.’”

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:  “The Pistons ended the Bulls’ season twice in the Eastern Conference playoffs late in the decade, and did it with a physicality and tenacity that began an era of brutish basketball born out of a belief that it was the way to stop Jordan. ‘Wherever he caught the ball, I knew where the help [defense] was going to be,’ Dumars said. ‘I wouldn’t have to look around, or call for it, or force him one way or another. When you were defending him, it was a big deal that you didn’t have to look around and call for help. When you have to turn around and start pointing to spots for guys to go, you had no chance. For me, you had to put yourself out there against Michael. You couldn’t play conservatively. You had to take some chances if you were going to have any success. He’s still going to make spectacular plays on you, and yet you have to be willing to not just sit back and play it safe and think, ‘Well, I’m going to play off him and just give up shots.’ That’s not going to work. If Michael was ever frustrated against us, he never showed it. He would never let anyone see it.’”

Lacy J. Banks of the Chicago Sun-Times:  “Reggie Miller’s duels with Jordan were a treat to watch because they were both premier shooting guards, and Miller consistently got the best of the other guards he played against. ‘I did well against my opponents because I studied games films carefully and trained to always be in the best of shape so that I could run and wear them out trying to keep up with me,’ Miller said. ‘But as much as I worked hard to prepare to play Michael, he was the one player in the league who didn’t have a weakness. Every other shooting guard I played against — Kobe Bryant, Mitch Richmond, Ron Harper, Clyde Drexler and all the other great ones — they had a weakness that I could exploit or some part of their game that I could take away. But Michael Jordan had no faults. He could go left. He could go right. He could post up. He could score off the dunk and shoot threes, shoot from midrange and from the line. And he could defend. He could rebound. If there was one little thing that I had in my favor, I was able to run a lot and maybe get him tired. But that’s so minute.’”

Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald:  “You take some of the greatest athleticism that’s graced the court and combine it with an aggressive obsession to command every moment, and you have a guy who blew out the windows on the Hall of Fame entry exam as he roared on by. Doc Rivers was both impressed and skeptical when he initially saw Michael. ‘I remember seeing him for the first time and being really kind of amazed that he was playing at such a high level of energy and power,’ the Celtics coach said. ‘That’s what stood out to me. It was early in the year, and I remember telling Dominique (Wilkins) and the guys on the Hawks that by mid-year he was going to be done. I was saying the same thing 12 years later,’ Doc added with a laugh. ‘But he just never stopped. It was remarkable. You have great players now who tell you they can only give it to you on one end of the court because they have to conserve their energy. But Michael played hard on defense, too. I think people miss that because of how great he was with the ball. But he just played hard all the time.’”

Alan Hahn of Newsday:  “Jeff Van Gundy and the Knicks faced Jordan six times in the playoffs between 1989-96. He was an assistant for most of those experiences but was the final meeting, a five-game defeat in 1996. The only time the Knicks beat the Bulls in that span was, of course, in 1994, when Jordan was on his short-lived minor league baseball hiatus. Jordan’s presence makes tomorrow’s ceremony here more than just an annual Hall of Fame enshrinement. It is an induction of not just a star-studded class of the game’s greats — which also include David Robinson, John Stockton, Jerry Sloan and C. Vivian Stringer — but also the coronation of perhaps the best to ever play it. ‘[He was a] ruthless competitor with exceptional basketball IQ, with an unmatched skill set and an ability to play his best when his best was needed,’ Van Gundy said. Jordan also seemed to love to punish the Knicks more than any other team. ‘He kicked our butt every time it was all on the line,’ Van Gundy said, ‘and then talked crap about us.’”

Roland Lazenby of HoopsHype.com:  “‘Between games, Jordan can bounce back from injuries that would sideline other players for weeks,’ Bulls trainer Chip Schaefer pointed out. ‘He has a remarkable body.’ And a remarkable will. Nobody worked harder at the fundamentals of the game; nobody worked harder at conditioning. Not only the greatest player, he was the greatest practice player. The stories of his intensity in Bulls scrimmages were legendary. ‘At my age, I have to work harder,’ Jordan explained. ‘I can’t afford to cut corners.’ He never did. And so, now, as he prepares to enter the Hall of Fame in the grandest introduction ever, I feel mostly sadness. This is it, the final reality is settling in. I interviewed him last year during the pre-draft camp in Orlando as he watched a crop of college players try to impress NBA executives, and I remember feeling sad after that talk too and thinking he was born to compete, not to sit around bored, studying lesser beings. In the end, I’m just like that 12-year-old kid with the bad marker. I don’t want to see him writing on air. It’s very hard for me to think of Michael Jordan as a relic. I just wish he could play forever.”


One Response to “Michael Jordan Hall of Fame Day Links”

  1. Ryan Biddulph Says:

    Bradon,

    MJ was the best of the best.

    The word that sums him up is ‘Drive.’

    There were some with comparable athletic ability. Others who could shoot and had serious talent too.

    But Jordan took everything he had and maximized it. Nobody could touch him. He became the best defender in the league. He was perhaps the best mid-range shooter when he came back after his baseball hiatus. He constantly added new elements to his game.

    I’ve never seen anybody with his tools who worked so hard. If Lebron continues to work at it, if he has the same hunger, he can enter that stratosphere. He’s still a baby and is a more advanced player than MJ at the same stage, but will he continue to improve and become more dominating each year? It’ll be fun to watch. For now, it’s Jordan and everyone else.

    RB

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