Michael Jordan Would Be Despised in Today’s NBA
“He won’t get in my way the rest of the series, what’s $20,000 to me? Charles thinks we’re great friends. I hate that fat f — .”
“Shoot it, you f***ing midget.”
October 6, 1993, Jordan announced his retirement, citing a loss of desire to play the game
Two quotes and one fact. Three instances in which the media today, with social media misconstruing context regularly, in addition to immediacy and reactionary value to the news networks, would eviscerate Michael Jordan.
If Michael Jordan played today, he would be a cartoon villain and the generation that called him GOAT would find ways to diminish his on court actions. Hands down the greatest athlete of my childhood, Jordan is the reason I love basketball, and easily one of the five most important athletes in American history.
If Jordan played today, the conversation after he punched Steve Kerr in the face would be centered around how many games the Bulls would have to suspend Jordan for. Then the video would be released, and whatever internal handling of the situation went down would never be enough. Some extremists would call for Jordan to be banned from the league.
Here’s a fun a what if: What if Russell Westbrook called Isaiah Thomas a “fucking midget”? What if Kevin Durant told Zach Randolph that he “hates that fat fuck”? And most importantly, what if LeBron James retired from basketball because he lost the desire to play the game?
All three of those instances would result in a complete derailment of anything they did on the court. The media would not just have a field day, they would have a field year. I know this for two reasons: one is common sense, the other is I am very much a part of the hype train.
I am in no way trying to delegitimize № 23 and what he meant to an entire generation of basketball fans. The actual purpose of this piece is to highlight the fact that the NBA superstars nowadays live in a less physical era, but also are being watched closer than Michael Jordan would ever have been comfortable with. This is all just food for thought and a way to rightfully annoy the masses.
The media clings on to superstar athletes either because of greatness or because of human interest. It’s precisely why LeBron James and Nick Young can both dominate headlines. There is no denying that Jordan was poised with the media and rarely got annoyed by questions. After the first 3-peat, when asked about the greatest team of all time, Jordan threw out the Celtics first.
He was humble in victory and it added to his legacy, but the headlines would be too easy and there would be no way to escape the black hole of media attention in 2017.
Granted, I wouldn’t put it past Jordan to never have a social media account if he played now, I don’t think Jordan even knows what a Crying Jordan is.
I’m just going to reiterate a line from earlier to close:
What if LeBron James retired from basketball because he had little desire to play the game?