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Discussion Starter #1
i m not old enough to watch jordan during the mid-late 80's, i know jordan was considered the undisputed best player in the game during 90's, but what about 80's? when bird/magic were dueling out. where did mJ stand? was he considered the clear-cut best player too in the game? i have always been curious of who actually was considered the best player back then by the media and fans.
 

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Many thought to was the best athlete but not as good a team player as Bird, Magic and others. Jordan's outside shooting improved as he got older too.

It wasn't until he started winning championships that he was generally seen as the best overall player.
 

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MJ was even more than the best athete.

He was considered very highly skilled as well.

But Magid and Bird were thought of as 'Winners" and MJ has tagged with a selfish rap. Until he started winning.
 

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MJ

Most of the Bird/Magic crew did not recognize Jordan as the best until he won a title.

"Making the players around you better" came up a lot.
 

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MJ was the upstart punk. Clearly better then any player in the league, but too young to deserve accolades -- especially in a league that had been just brought back from the brink by Larry Legend and Magic. It wasn't till after MJ retired for baseball that they started counting him among the greats.

Actually... the lack of love from Bird and Magic and their chronies made that first championship so sweet. It was like -- how are they going to explain this away. I remember some commentators saying after the first that Bird and Magic were still better because they had more then one. MJ remedied that in a hurry.

As far as I'm concerned, it was the 72-10 season that places Jordan as the greatest American sportsman. Thats such an imposing record. Its a neat mixture of Ripken's consecutive games streak and Dimaggio's consecutive hit streak. It combines the shear will and competitiveness of the consecutive games with the talent of the hit streak.
 

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Everyone seems to be forgetting Dr. J. He was known as basketball's ambassador, and it was generally stipulated that the "torch" was passed from Erving to Jordan.

And in spite of Jordan's great physical talents, he probably wasn't considered "better" than Erving, Magic, Bird, or Thomas until the Bulls won their first championship. In fact, one might argue that one certain "human highlight reel" (Domonique Wilkins) may have been considered Jordan's equal.

There's another fellow, who played for the Bulls, named Rodman that many people overlook. When he came into the league, he could score (he led the nation in scoring in college), yet he sacrificed that part of his game to contribute in other ways. And in those other ways, he did contribute as well as anyone could. He was defensive player of the year at least once, and one season he had the highest rebounding average in over 20 years, since Wilt. For a "big" man, he was a terrific ball handler. Though he was certainly a head case.

Ditto what others have written about there being a "knock" against Jordan being a flashy loser until he did win.

But then once he did win, he demonstrated a complete all-around game and an ability to evolve his game as he got older.
 

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Originally posted by <b>DaBullz</b>!
Everyone seems to be forgetting Dr. J. He was known as basketball's ambassador, and it was generally stipulated that the "torch" was passed from Erving to Jordan.

And in spite of Jordan's great physical talents, he probably wasn't considered "better" than Erving, Magic, Bird, or Thomas until the Bulls won their first championship. In fact, one might argue that one certain "human highlight reel" (Domonique Wilkins) may have been considered Jordan's equal.
Just my 2 cents...

Dr. J didn't "pass the torch" to Jordan... Dr.J was, indeed, considered the ambassador of the NBA when he left the ABA and joined the "major" league... He was the "face" of the league due to his amazing style of play and his "clean-cut" image...
But, in fact, by the time Philly won it, Moses Malone was hands down the best player in the club...
If Dr. J had "the torch", he gave it away to Magic and Larry, who proppelled (sp?) the electrifying brand of basketball Dr. J "introduced" to new heights...

Jordan wasn't considered the better player, even after winning his first ring... People (and the NBA) were watching what would happen next: would Magic reach the finals again? Would Larry's back become healthy? Would the Pistons fight back?

I'd say it was after the Bulls back-to-back that Jordan was vastly considered the best player in the league...
 

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By the time Erving retired, Bird was considered an aging vet, particularly due to his injured back.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/sports/nba/longterm/jordan/articles/rookclass84.htm
(From 1985)

Move Over, Doctor J, Here Comes New Wave; Ewing, Making Debut Today, Among Young Players Redefining NBA's Upper Echelon

Suddenly, the folk in Kansas City could marvel at the acrobatics of Doctor J, Julius Erving; the hippest of the hip in Los Angeles were wiped out by the exploits of the coolest of the cool, the Iceman, George Gervin. Four of the 10 starters in that season's NBA all-star game and 10 of the 24 total players were refugees from the ABA.

Nine years later, those stars are on the verge of being eclipsed by a set of exciting new talents, the likes of which haven't been seen since 1976. This new guard is typified by Jordan, Ralph Sampson of the Houston Rockets, Charles Barkley of the Philadelphia 76ers and Patrick Ewing of the New York Knicks, who makes his debut in the league today against the 76ers (WDVM-TV-9, 1 p.m.).

Bird, a two-time MVP, is fast becoming middle-aged himself, as an aching back and sore elbows are starting to get more attention than his rainbow jump shot. Perhaps that's also why he isn't as willing as some to concede the dawning of a new era.

"People like Kareem and Doc are still the men and after they leave they'll become even greater. It'll be like they were Babe Ruth or something," Bird says. "The thing today is that there's so much hype. The league is doing so well now that a guy is almost a superstar before he comes out on the court. Ten years ago that didn't happen."

Erving believes that day may never come.

"Who's to say that someone will be able to have a 15-year career, a 17-year career?" he asks. "They may not be able to handle the constant strains and pressures. People like Magic and Bird have been in the league six, seven years and they're already saying they can see the end of the road.

"When they came into the NBA, they were the new breed. Then it was people like Isiah Thomas and Dominique Wilkins. Now it's Jordan and Ewing. I don't know if there's some torch being passed or if it's just phases that people go through."
 

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Originally posted by <b>DaBullz</b>!
By the time Erving retired, Bird was considered an aging vet, particularly due to his injured back.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/sports/nba/longterm/jordan/articles/rookclass84.htm
(From 1985)

Move Over, Doctor J, Here Comes New Wave; Ewing, Making Debut Today, Among Young Players Redefining NBA's Upper Echelon

Suddenly, the folk in Kansas City could marvel at the acrobatics of Doctor J, Julius Erving; the hippest of the hip in Los Angeles were wiped out by the exploits of the coolest of the cool, the Iceman, George Gervin. Four of the 10 starters in that season's NBA all-star game and 10 of the 24 total players were refugees from the ABA.

Nine years later, those stars are on the verge of being eclipsed by a set of exciting new talents, the likes of which haven't been seen since 1976. This new guard is typified by Jordan, Ralph Sampson of the Houston Rockets, Charles Barkley of the Philadelphia 76ers and Patrick Ewing of the New York Knicks, who makes his debut in the league today against the 76ers (WDVM-TV-9, 1 p.m.).

Bird, a two-time MVP, is fast becoming middle-aged himself, as an aching back and sore elbows are starting to get more attention than his rainbow jump shot. Perhaps that's also why he isn't as willing as some to concede the dawning of a new era.

"People like Kareem and Doc are still the men and after they leave they'll become even greater. It'll be like they were Babe Ruth or something," Bird says. "The thing today is that there's so much hype. The league is doing so well now that a guy is almost a superstar before he comes out on the court. Ten years ago that didn't happen."

Erving believes that day may never come.

"Who's to say that someone will be able to have a 15-year career, a 17-year career?" he asks. "They may not be able to handle the constant strains and pressures. People like Magic and Bird have been in the league six, seven years and they're already saying they can see the end of the road.

"When they came into the NBA, they were the new breed. Then it was people like Isiah Thomas and Dominique Wilkins. Now it's Jordan and Ewing. I don't know if there's some torch being passed or if it's just phases that people go through."
Quoting an 1985 article, DaBullz?
Well, guess who was the MVP in 86?

We all know NBA brass had severe problems in late 70's/start of the 80's era... low attendance, drug problems, lack of marquee names... then came Larry and Magic... Off course, they weren't enough... The now upstarting NBA needed fresh blood as to keep the excitment going...

If i remember correctly, Pat Ewing was considered a great defender in College, and critics were saying he would have to improve his offensive game a lot... Still, he was "one of the new batch" in his rookie season? I think not...

Larry's back gave up on him, but Magic kept carrying the Lakers to the finals till 91 (6 years after that article)...

Tough breakm harbringers of bad news... Magic kept winning MVPS and titles long after that article was posted...

Which makes it wrong...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
what im saying is, u know from 91-98, jordan was the BEST player in the NBA. there was no one at the same level as him. same goes for shaq during 99-00. he was clearly the best player.
but what about the 80's? was there someone like that?
 

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Sith, the broadest based concensus around the NBA at that time was that Magic was the #1 Superstar.

Although for a significant minorityof fans, Larry held that position. It made for great debate, and cycled depending on the most recent accomplishments of the Lakers and Celtics.

Dr J was considered a league-wide superstar and ambassador, but frankly the 76 ers managed to disappoint their local and national fans far to often to trancend into the debate. It was assumed, that Dr J left his most electrifing moments back in Virginia with the Squires, and had lost a step. In my opinion however, I have never seen ANYONE better on a basketball floor. The man scored 45 pts in his last game, despite having no knees at all, simply amazing. In the years they were together Moses was never considered Doc's equal, but a Very good all-star center.

Dabullz, your comment on Dominique, was spot on. He was simply other-worldly on team that never could figure out how to build around him. From a pure physical ability level, there is no one in the league today that would compare at attacking the rim on a constant basis. He was amazing to watch, the games with him and MJ, became can you top this contests. The other players would feed them the ball and get out of the way.

Mike was considered the greatest individual, with a somewhat weak cast. The big question was if he ever got a team around him, would he agree to share the responsibility to score the ball? He had a selfish reputation in some circles back then. It began to change when he was forced (due to injuries?) to play point guard for a 40+ game strech, when all he did was AVERAGE A TRIPLE DOUBLE for that period. The perception began to change quickly after that.

Thanks for the memories.

PS...
The single greatest individual player memory from 70's had to be Tiny Archibald. A 5'9" 160 lb point that led the league in scoring for like 5 straight years, amazing! They would set up entire defenses to stop him, and he would just tear through them like the were not there
 

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Originally posted by <b>SPIN DOCTOR</b>!

In the years they were together Moses was never considered Doc's equal, but a Very good all-star center.
I don't fully agree, but i take back my "hands down" comment...
Mo joined the sixers in 82-83. Dr. J was League MVP in 80-81, and Mo clinched the award back to back in the following seasons (one with Houston, one with Philly). Off course, Mo had won that award previously (78-79).
He was regarded as a great player.

As an example, After the heralded rookie Larry Bird play his first game in the league, a player (can't recall who) was asked by a reporter what he though about Bird, and the guy answered something like "He wasn't extraordinaru. Only Moses is extraordinary".

But given this matter more thought, i'd say Doc and Mo were at the same level.

PS...
The single greatest individual player memory from 70's had to be Tiny Archibald. A 5'9" 160 lb point that led the league in scoring for like 5 straight years, amazing! They would set up entire defenses to stop him, and he would just tear through them like the were not there
Although he led the league in scoring only once, i believe, Tiny was great...
And talking about the 70's one can't forget Jabbar!
 

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For stat fans...

Nate Archibald had back to back seasons where he:

1971-72 28.2 PPG/9.2 APG
<B>1972-73 34.0 PPG/11.4 APG</B>

Let that last line sink in a bit. Scored like Jordan, dished assists like Magic.

Too bad the little fella was a sieve on defense.

While I'm at it, compare the stat lines of Jerry West's best seasons (many of them) with Jordan's. QUITE similar.
 

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SD,

Great post. I have some minor disagreements.

Originally posted by <b>SPIN DOCTOR</b>!
Dr J was considered a league-wide superstar and ambassador, but frankly the 76 ers managed to disappoint their local and national fans far to often to trancend into the debate. It was assumed, that Dr J left his most electrifing moments back in Virginia with the Squires, and had lost a step.
Dr. J had all his steps when he was with his second team in the ABA, the New York Nets.

Originally posted by <b>SPIN DOCTOR</b>!
In my opinion however, I have never seen ANYONE better on a basketball floor. The man scored 45 pts in his last game, despite having no knees at all, simply amazing. In the years they were together Moses was never considered Doc's equal, but a Very good all-star center.
I was a huge fan and lived in the Philly area. After watching Bird and the Celtics beat up on Dr. J, I finally had to agree with my dad that Bird and Magic were better than Dr. J.

None of the three of them could hold a candle to MJ at the defensive end.

Originally posted by <b>SPIN DOCTOR</b>!
Dabullz, your comment on Dominique, was spot on. He was simply other-worldly on team that never could figure out how to build around him. From a pure physical ability level, there is no one in the league today that would compare at attacking the rim on a constant basis.
I think both you and DaBullz have Wilkins ranked too high. He did not have the PG skills or the defense that MJ did. Pretty comparable to Dr. J, however.

Originally posted by <b>SPIN DOCTOR</b>!
Mike had a selfish reputation in some circles back then. It began to change when he was forced (due to injuries?) to play point guard for a 40+ game strech, when all he did was AVERAGE A TRIPLE DOUBLE for that period. The perception began to change quickly after that.
I don't think the perception changed from the vocal haters until he won it all.
 
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