The “Air” Up There Is Thin

There will NEVER be another Michael Jordan. Period.

Obviously, this statement isn’t meant in the literal sense of those words, but in the skill-set, personality, determination, and drive that made him the quintessential athlete of the 90’s, the NBA, and a generation.

“His Airness” thrived on being told that he couldn’t, he thrived on adversity in a way unseen before, and highly likely NEVER to be duplicated. We know some of the famous slights, like being cut from his High School basketball team. In the 80’s he was told he couldn’t and wouldn’t get past the Celtics and Pistons. He was told he was only a scorer. These “criticisms” drove Jordan to become what the media and opponents said he couldn’t be.

Jordan has become the model for the high-flying, super-athletic, swingman. This is dangerous.

We can’t keep looking for the “next Jordan” like we have in the past with among others, Harold Minor, Penny Hardaway, Grant Hill, Vince Carter, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose. Such a lofty expectation is unhealthy for these players.

Although many, if not all players want to “be like Mike” to hold anyone who flashes a resemblance to Jordan is unreasonable.

No player can live up to the “Jordan template”.

Jordan himself didn’t have a template to live up to, and if he did, it was NO where near the shadow that Jordan has left on his position and the league he reigned in. If Jordan played straight thru the 90’s, (we can safely assume) that he would have held eight of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players without a title during his run of dominance. Jordan broke the hearts of opponents with his last second shots and sheer dominance, through sickness, like the ‘97 NBA Finals, through tough emotions like the ’96 Finals, through pressure, like his first championship run, and he was the best player on the floor EVERY night. Six NBA Finals, six NBA Finals MVP awards. That is a tall order for anyone to live up to.

I propose: That since Jordan had no guide or template to live up to, we hold no one to his standards UNTIL they approach that level of accomplishment, until these and other players prove themselves to dominate despite adversity, please, no mentions in the stratosphere of “His Airness”.


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