Jordan: NBA super squads will create 28 garbage ones
NEW YORK—Retired NBA legend Michael Jordan has warned that the “superteam” era will create a league with 28 “garbage” clubs that will struggle.
Jordan, who sparked the Chicago Bulls to six NBA titles in the 1990s, addressed the topic in an interview with Cigar Aficionado magazine unveiled Thursday on its website.
He also talked about his pal Tiger Woods, a 14-time major champion golfer struggling to return after multiple back operations, and said he himself might not have “survived in this Twitter time.”
Jordan’s toughest talk was on the state of the NBA, where several teams have stockpiled talent to try and dethrone the reigning champion Golden State Warriors, who last season united stars Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry to forma dominant squad that claimed a second title in three seasons.
In the past few months, the Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder have added star talent to their rosters.
“I think it’s going to hurt the overall aspect of the league from a competitive standpoint,” Jordan told the magazine. “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 are going to have a tough time surviving in the business environment.”
Jordan, 54, also said he lacks the patience to be a coach, saying his biggest problem is the focus level of today’s players.
“For me to ask an individual to focus on the game the way I played would, in some ways, be unfair and if he didn’t do it, there’s no telling where my emotions would be,” Jordan told the magazine.
Regarding Woods, whose major total ranks second to the 18 won by Jack Nicklaus, Jordan said the injured star is in a transitional phase perhaps made more difficult by today’s social media.
“I don’t know if I could have survived in this Twitter time where you don’t have the privacy that you would want.”
Tiger, Jack both great
Jordan would not be drawn into a comparison of Woods and Nicklaus in the Greatest of All Time debate.
“That’s more for stories and hype,” Jordan told the magazine. “Jack and Tiger never played against each other. They never played with the same equipment.
“I never played against Wilt Chamberlain. I never played against Jerry West. To now say that one is greater than the other is being a little bit unfair.
“How much did each one impact, change or evolve the game? Obviously Jack won more during the time he played. Tiger evolved it to where it crossed a lot of different boundaries, where it’s not just a white guy’s sport—black guys, African-Americans, all minorities play the game.
“He played it at a level to where it generated so much interest financially that it grew the game from a financial standpoint. Now does that constitute him being the greatest? To say he’s any less than Jack, I think, is unfair.”
Jordan moved the Nicklaus-Woods win argument to the NBA level, comparing his title total to the record 11 won by former Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell.
“Yeah, Jack has got 18 majors and Tiger has got 14. And that’s how people are judging certain things,” Jordan said. “I won 6 championships. Bill Russell won 11. Does that make Bill Russell better than me? Make me better than him? No because when you try to compare different eras and equate who is better than the other, it’s an unfair parallel, an unfair choice.”
Jordan also praised Northern Ireland star Rory McIlroy, saying he admires him but has yet to play a round with him.
“Very talented. Never played golf with him yet,” Jordan said. “Seen him on the range. We’ve talked. I’m a big fan. For someone that small to generate that much power is truly amazing.”