To this day, Michael Jordan is considered the best player to play the game of basketball. Some would argue he is most definitely the best guard in NBA history because of other all-time greats that should be considered in these types of debates. During and especially after Jordan’s career, many looked for another player who would fill out his shoes. The only one that came close to that stature and success is Kobe Bryant, even though many other players were classified as the ‘next Michael Jordan’ throughout the years.
During his playing days, several players were in the conversation for the best shooting guards in the league, and one of them was Clyde Drexler for an extended period. However, Jordan proved he was a far superior player to Drexler, similar to Jordan in multiple ways. Still, you could always see that Jordan was different and at least one step above everybody, including Drexler, the franchise player for the Portland Trailblazers.
In an interview for VladTV, former Chicago Bulls player Craig Hodges talked about the impact players like Jordan have. Hodges played for several years with Jordan, winning two NBA championships before his career fell apart. At that time, he got to know Jordan better and saw a different perspective on what made him better than his competition. Apart from basketball, Jordan knew the business side pretty well, which helped him market himself better than anyone ever expected.
Hodges remembers a conversation with Jordan in which he said Drexler is almost as good as he is, but the main thing he lacks is knowledge about the game. The narrative that Hodges is trying to emphasize is that Jordan was marketed so that any kid can be like him, which is not true, and a player like him comes once in a lifetime. The combination of talent, skill set, passion, and a product that people would be willing to buy is not common. That is the main thing that differentiated Jordan from Drexler, according to Hodges.
Not every great athlete is marketable like that, and they have just as much talent.Craig Hodges, via VladTV
Hodges said that Jordan knew NBA is business like every other and that apart from his superiority in basketball, he knew there are other things in place that he needs to take care of if he wants to stay on top. Jordan always made sure that the brand associated with his name is marketable and ready to make a profit.
The conversation came up with Clyde Drexler, and MJ said, and I quote, ‘Clyde Drexler is just as good as me, he just doesn’t know how to play the game. Do you follow me? And we are not talking about basketball, and that was the question. What do you mean? You know what the fuck I mean. That lets you know there is a bigger picture.Craig Hodges, via VladTV
This narrative makes sense to a certain degree because Jordan is one of the few athletes that made a smooth transition from being an NBA player to becoming a successful businessman. Apart from all the great things he did on the basketball court, Jordan was equally successful outside of it and knew the business side of the entire equation when it came to the NBA. At that time, he realized it’s an excellent platform for him to promote himself and his brand, which paid out for him big time.