Did Michael Jordan ruin the NBA?
Christmas Game: Dec. 25th, 1997 (Chicago Bulls 90, Miami Heat 80)
Did Michael Jordan ruin the NBA?
It’s no secret that Michael Jeffrey Jordan is arguably the greatest of all time (Lebron James fans may disagree,) in the NBA, but was he great for the game? There is no debating that MJ had the “killer instinct” needed to raise himself among the greatest of the NBA’s All Time Totem Pole, however his style of play may be the very thing that made the NBA transition into its worst style of play; “Hero Ball.” From MJ to LeBron and many players in between, it seems this style of play is finally coming to an end. The draft class of 2003 was a class for the record books. Lebron, Dwayne Wade, Carmelo, Chris Bosh and Darko Milicic where the top 5 players drafted into the NBA and almost all of them were “ball hogs” in high school or college. This was the era in which so many MJ fans of the game that now became players in the same league in which the GOAT played, were able to showcase their game.
NBA 2003 Draft Class: LeBron James 1st, Darko Milicic 2nd, Carmelo Anthony 3rd, Chris Bosh 4th, Dwayne Wade 5th.
It was not just this class that made the “hero ball” infamous, it was anyone in the league who looked up to MJ, even other greats such as Allen Iverson, Shaq, Kobe, Westbrook, Kemba Walker, Kyrie Irving, Gilbert Arenas and others. The game revolved around one player with the athleticism and scoring ability in which MJ displayed day in and day out in his reign in the NBA. The league was flourishing with ball hogs who can shut other players out and take over the game by themselves and pull out a victory. If an example is needed just remember when Kobe Bryant scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors back on January 22nd, 2006, or any of LeBron’s or Steph’s 60+ games. Ball hogs were searched for in the drafts while analytics were ignored, even though the analytics is about “team playing abilities” and overall game-play. Back then ball hogs equaled MVP Titles, not necessarily Championships, because NBA Finals were won with teamwork. MJ had Pippen and Kerr, LeBron had Kyrie and JR, and Steph had Durant and Klay. Teamwork makes the dream work, ask the San Antonio Spurs.
2018 NBA Finals Champions: Golden Sate Warriors
The league has now started to shy away from hero ball and more towards how the Golden State Warriors built their team, well rounded 2-way players who were not high draft picks and are focused on team comradery and flow of the game. If that doesn’t convince you this is how teams are starting to build, look at Carmelo Anthony, an amazing if not one of the best scorers the NBA has seen in his prime, a prolific scorer who needs the ball in order to move within his flow of the offense or to even begin the offense can no longer find a team to accommodate his style of play due to him not fitting into the league’s current style. LeBron has not fallen victim to this NBA purgatory due him playing more of a passer who can score due to his athleticism and shear physical power. Steph and Kyrie avoid this pitfall due to the point guard position they play, while all the meanwhile they are point guards who are also shooting guards. The way of the hero ball player is diminishing but not completely gone, it’s as if you need a small mixture of this in a team to finalize a complete team needed to win a NBA Finals. MJ got his team through close games and took over games to secure wins, but he did not do it alone for 82 games. Remember MJ had Pippen, and a Batman always needs a Robin.