Michael Jordan blasts current state of NBA in rare interview

By K.C. Johnson | Chicago Tribune

Michael Jordan doesn’t grant many interviews.

When he does, the Bulls’ Hall of Famer and Hornets Chairman rarely disappoints.

Speaking with Cigar Aficionado magazine, Jordan weighed in on a wide variety of topics, including whether he’s the greatest player of all time and the state of today’s NBA.

“I never played against Wilt Chamberlain,” Jordan told the magazine. “I never played against Jerry West. To now say that one’s greater than the other is being a little bit unfair. I won six championships. Bill Russell won 11. Does that make Russell better than me or make me better than him? No, because we played in different eras.”

Jordan’s Bulls once had to go through the Bad Boy-era Detroit Pistons, who had to go through the Larry Bird-led Celtics. Not surprisingly, Jordan doesn’t sound like a fan of super teams.

“I think it’s going to hurt the overall aspect of the league from a competitive standpoint. You’re going to have one or two teams that are going to be great and another 28 teams that are going to be garbage. Or they’re going to have a tough time surviving in the business environment.”

Jordan said he smokes six cigars a day, hangs out with former Yankees great Derek Jeter, whom he calls “my little brother,” often and defends his stint playing minor league baseball in the White Sox farm system.

“Everybody says it was a failed opportunity to play baseball,” Jordan said. “For me, it was the best thing to happen because it allowed me to go back to the game (of basketball) with a stronger passion.

“When we won those championships (in 1996, 1997 and 1998), those things mattered to me far more than what I did in ’91, ’92 and ’93. People don’t see that. All they think about is he batted .200 and he struck out a certain number of times. Yeah, OK.”

Jordan said bringing a championship to Charlotte is on his bucket list and said he wouldn’t have the patience for coaching because his “biggest problem from a competitive standpoint is the focus of today’s athlete.”

He also addressed his late father, James.

“What would my father do right now? First of all, he’d probably be sitting here smoking a cigar.

“The thing I remember the most about my father — and I had him for 32 years — I never look at it from a negative sense. Obviously, he was murdered and rarely do I get the chance to talk about him. I think about him practically every day.”

NBA

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