- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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Michael Jordan didn't three-peat; the Chicago Bulls did. So why was your article all about Jordan? I know he is the best and the Bulls could not have done it without him, but they also couldn't have done it without Scottie Pippen, B.J. Armstrong, Horace Grant, Bill Cartwright, John Paxson and the rest of the team. Isn't it time to acknowledge these players as being the great athletes they have proved to be?
Granted, Michael Jordan is a great player who has led the Bulls to three straight NBA championships, but you guys overdid it in putting him on the cover three times throughout the playoffs. Please, give us a TO from MJ.
I was disgusted by Michael Jordan after the Bulls won the title. Only he would charge to get the game ball instead of celebrating with his teammates. Without doubt, John Paxson should have been the one holding that ball. Jordan might be the best ever, but I'll take Larry Bird or Magic Johnson over him any day. They were unselfish team players.
Jack McCallum's primary reason for anointing Michael Jordan the best player in history is that he "guided an average team to three titles." Unlike Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, Jordan did not have an imposing array of teammates to help him. However, couldn't it just as easily be argued that Jordan's Bulls won their titles against subpar opposition? Look at Chicago's opponents in its three championship series: a battered, aging Los Angeles team that had had its nine-year streak as Pacific Division champion snapped; a Trail Blazer outfit that could charitably be called short on smarts; and a Sun team whose best center, Oliver Miller, was way overweight for most of the season.
McCallum's reason for placing Michael Jordan ahead of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird is that they had great players around them while Jordan docs not. However, Jordan's teammates are much better than they arc given credit for. Jordan has hindered their improvement by consistently insisting on being the offensive focus of the Bulls. What made Magic and Larry the best was the way they made their teammates better. Jordan is the greatest scorer of all time, but basketball is a team game, which he needs to learn.
?Besides McCray and Johnson, who won titles with Lansing [ Mich.] High (1977), Michigan State (1979) and the Lakers (1980, '82, '85, '87 and '88), six players have done it: Jerry Lucas ( Middletown [ Ohio] High, 1958; Ohio State, 1960; Knicks, 1973); Lucius Allen ( Wyandotte High in Kansas City, Kans., 1965; UCLA, 1967-69; Bucks, 1971); Quinn Buckner (Thornridge High in Phoenix, Ill., 1971 and '72; Indiana, 1976; Celtics, 1984); Rick Robey (Brother Martin High in New Orleans, 1974; Kentucky, 1978; Celtics, 1981); Milt Wagner ( Camden [ N.J.] High, 1979; Louisville, 1986; Lakers, 1988); Billy Thompson ( Camden [ N.J.] High, 1982; Louisville, 1986; Lakers, 1987 and '88).—ED.