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Michael Jordan, Greatest Athlete Ever Turns 50 Today

Michael Jordan, Greatest Athlete Ever Turns 50 Today

by Stephen BrownFebruary 17, 2013

He Gave us So Many Memories, What Michaels Peers Remember About Him.

“He was the greatest player I’ve ever seen, the greatest I ever could have imagined”- Magic Johnson

“He was Immortal on the Basketball Court” – Larry Bird

“The Greatest of All Time — The Greatest Who Ever Engaged in Anything Resembling a Sport.”-Craig Hodges


— NBA commissioner David Stern

“I’ve seen him age, of course, but really, he’s not that different of a person. Michael has always been a very competitive person with an extraordinary drive. It’s been the guiding force of his life both on and off the basketball court. … Being such a huge celebrity and not being able to go places and do things, it truly ignited his competitive fire even more because he was always around the guys and it became a motivation. He’s still a great guy, very successful from a business standpoint in terms of his brand and what he’s been able to do beyond when he played. But to me, I don’t see him any different from when he was a player aside from age.”

— Former teammate Scottie Pippen

‘‘One of my favorite games he played was during the 1997 Eastern Conference finals when we played Miami. We were up 3-0 and had an off day, and he played like [46] holes of golf. We’re down [21] in the [third] quarter, and he started the game [0-14]. It was the worst shooting performance I’d ever seen from him. He had an airball. You could tell his stroke was off. Then, in the fourth quarter, he scored 20 points and we almost pulled it out. It was the greatest display of confidence I have ever seen. Most guys, when you lose your stroke, you might keep shooting, but there’s no way they’re getting it back that night. That’s what Michael did. Nobody is like that. It’s inhuman.”

— Former teammate and current TNT analyst Steve Kerr

‘‘I have a lot of nightmares. I remember [Jordan’s] sister was singing the national anthem and [John] Starks was laughing, and then I had to go guard him. That wasn’t very nice of John Starks. The thing I remember the most about him, though, was a halftime speech at an All-Star Game. I think [Charles] Barkley was laughing and a couple of other guys were joking around, and [Jordan] basically informed us that we were going to win the game, and whoever didn’t feel like playing that way shouldn’t play in the second half, and I actually liked that. I wish all the All-Star Games were like that.’’

— Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers

‘‘I got a chance to see him like a lot of people didn’t, with his guard down, like when we were on the buses and people couldn’t get to him, and it was an amazing experience. At the time, it was easy to be critical of him. I didn’t agree with that. I thought he was really good for [baseball] and respectful of the game. It was easy to be patient with him. He didn’t understand everything about baseball, but he paid attention to detail. It’s not surprising when you think about it. You couldn’t be that good at basketball without paying attention to detail and being coachable. All I know is, I was in charge of a double-A team and what we were doing was really important to us, and he found a way to mix in and be one of the guys, and for him to be able to pull that off was remarkable.’’

— former Birmingham Barons manager Terry Francona

‘‘I saw him for the first time when he was a junior in high school. That was the first time we ever heard of him. There was a coach down there that said Michael Jordan might be a good prospect. Coach [Dean] Smith thought it would be good for me to go down there, so I went down and watched him and came back and told Coach Smith we needed to offer him a scholarship. The more we saw him, the more we liked him. He just got better and better. When he was a freshman,
Buzz Peterson and he were real good friends, and Buzz could beat Michael in a 60-yard race. The next year, Michael won by 15 yards. His sophomore year, he could drive by anybody and he could stop anybody. It was unbelievable to see his development. I’m sure glad that coach called me to come down and see him play.’’

— Former longtime North Carolina assistant Bill Guthridge

‘‘We were coming off a long road trip and were playing the [second-to] last game against Vancouver, which was an expansion team. The entire team was tired. Vancouver was beating us. In the fourth quarter, Darrick Martin starts talking trash to Michael. ‘We’re going to beat you. You’re having a bad game. I’m stopping you.’ Well, in like six minutes, Michael had 18 points and we ended up winning by six. Michael just went off and won the game by himself. Darrick got him going just because he was talking trash. After the game, we all walked by Darrick and said, ‘Thanks, boss.’ ”

— Former Bulls center and current radio analyst Bill Wennington

‘‘I knew Michael personally and played a lot of golf with him. He came on the stage when there were a lot of great athletes. We went through Oscar Robertson, Larry Bird, a lot of other guys, and Michael came in and took professional basketball to another level. He became such a dominant figure. Dominant as a player, but he handled his fame pretty dag-gone well on and off the court. It would have been very easy to ignore the public, but he never ignored the public.’’

Join Digital Afro as We Celebrate the Legend of All Sports Legends:
Michael “Air” Jordan

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About The Author
Stephen Brown
Stephen Brown @SteveBTech is a Technology Entrepreneur, & Int'l CES Judge. Along with being the founder of DigiLyfe, and Nubby.co, he is the founder of DigitalAfro.com, & StemStars.org an organization that teaches K-12 Students Science & Technology.

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