Michael Jordan: 5 Reasons Why He’s Not The Greatest

For many, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player that has ever played the game. But to some, he’s just a guy who won six NBA Championships. I often find myself in heated debates over Jordan’s legacy. There’s no real hate I have for Jordan but I’m not afraid to ask that question that makes so many others mad. “What has he done that makes everyone label him the G.O.A.T.”?

This is not me knocking Jordan, but it’s more of a can you offer valid reasons why he is viewed the way he is? I’m probably totally off-base here and by the title of this article I’m pretty sure I have received a few cuss words and “he don’t know what he is talking about smirks”. But my opinion is my opinion and I am entitled to it just like you are when Jordan’s name is mentioned.

You can believe he’s the best and I believe otherwise. I have taken argumentative points from fans I’ve spoken with and compiled their top 5 reasons why he’s the greatest. I will list the five then offer my rebuttal on why he isn’t.

The Championships

Six titles are nothing to laugh at. It means that your team was better than the rest of the NBA six times. That’s a huge number when also considering his Chicago Bulls won those six in two separate three-peats. But this is THE main reason people label Michael Jordan as the G.O.A.T. How? Is he the only player to win six championships? There are nine other players in the history of the NBA with more rings. Maybe you heard of a few of them. Bill Russell, Robert Horry, Sam Jones, John Havlicek and a few more.

In all fairness to Jordan, some of the guys above him were role players, not team leaders like he was. When comparing titles, how can Russell and Cousey not be mentioned before Jordan? It doesn’t matter if he won six straight. If you say he is the best due to titles but there are other players who played just as important leading roles as he did. Jordan can’t be labeled the best just because he won six.

His Competitive Drive

This one always gets me when in a discussion. I guess Jordan was the ONLY player ever in the history of the NBA to have a strong drive. I can’t argue get the Flu Game in 1997 against the Utah Jazz. Yes, it was memorable and anyone that’s ever had the flu can recall the weakness that your boy goes through. Michael Jordan managed to score 38 points and led the Bulls to victory but how is that considered G.O.A.T material?

I guess Isiah Thomas playing on a badly sprained ankle in Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers in 1988, scoring 43 points (24 in a quarter) has no substance? What about Willis Reed in the 1970 NBA Finals against the Lakers where he had torn a muscle in his leg in Game 5 but being this was Game 7 he had to play. He took a shot to dull the pain but scored only two points. Still, he played with a torn muscle in his leg. The Flu, torn muscle or badly sprained ankle? Be serious here.

Scoring Ability

Jordan was a scorer, a shooting guard who loved to shoot. The same knock Kobe Bryant receives is the same praise they gave to Jordan. Go figure. Why view Kobe as a ball-hog when in reality, Jordan took more shots per game then he did throughout his career? Jordan was not a great three-point shooter, he did master his low-post moves later in his career but Jordan was more of a pull up from the mid-range guy in his prime.

Here is the one that gets me, “If he didn’t retire he would be the all-time leading scorer”. That might be true, but guess what, he did retire, twice and he is NOT the NBA leading scorer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is. So there goes another one of your reasons down the drain. Doesn’t matter how someone tries to spin it, facts are facts and the stats don’t lie. Jordan took 23 shots per game to average 30 points for his career, plus another 7 free throw attempts. But players like Kobe are the ball-hogs? Don’t say he was the greatest scorer when he left the game 6000+ points away from the record.

His Moves

“Air Jordan” was his nickname for the way he flew when dunking. But was he the first to do that, not dunk but fly? Was Jordan not the one who said he grew up watching Dr. J and George Gervin take flight? Don’t get me wrong, Jordan had some unbelievable dunks in his career but to say he was better than Dr. J or Darryl Dawkins is absurd.

To be honest, Vince Carter is hands down the greatest dunker to play in the NBA. And, that play against the Lakers in the Finals where Jordan drove the lane as if he as going to dunk then switched to his left hand in mid-air for a layup, while spectacular as Marv Albert called it, it wasn’t as great as one may think. Watch it again and see how many defenders were in his way

Now, look at Dr. J going behind the backboard in mid-air for a layup and using the backboard as a shield from the defender. Jordan was not the best dribbler or passer, but you couldn’t tell from numerous people. He did have great moves but his moves were not original. The same way we speak about Kobe or LeBron as they imitated Michael Jordan, Jordan imitated others. How is that seen as the greatest?


This is not me being petty, its me proving a point. A large majority of you reading this I’ve never met in person or through social media so we have never discussed what makes Jordan great. But as I said in the beginning, these are statements that I get when arguing with family members, friends or people I deal with on a daily basis through social media.

What’s one of the biggest knocks we give our current superstars? They cannot win it by themselves. Here is a question? Did Phil Jackson make Jordan a winner or did Jordan make Phil a winner? Could Brett Brown of the Philadelphia 76ers win six titles with those Bulls teams?

Since we like to knock LeBron for his talented teammates when he couldn’t win it on his own let’s take a brief look at Jordan’s help. Jordan didn’t win a thing before Scottie Pippen came along. His second tour with the Bulls, the team was a little different then. Michael Jordan still had Scottie, but he also had one of the best defensive players in NBA history in Dennis Rodman. But it didn’t end there. Many forget how great Toni Kukoc was. Kukoc was the number one player in Europe before coming to the NBA. Those Bulls teams were loaded, but those facts tend to go unnoticed. Jordan was part of a Big 3, hell, he was part of a Big 4.


I’m not taking away what he did for the game of basketball. I’m just giving my argument on why he’s not the greatest to play in the NBA. My father’s generation will say Russell or Chamberlain, while my generation will say Jordan and my kid’s generation will say James. But with Michael Jordan, he became the face of the league. His image soared to unbelievable heights. Stores couldn’t keep his merchandise in stock and his face was everywhere you turned, TV, radio, and billboards. He was a great brand, which in turn made him more watchable, which also I believe has led many to believe he was the greatest. Jordan was shoved in our faces that most had no choice but to like him.

Is he the greatest? Yes, he was, but only in his era.

You have your opinion and I have mine.

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