What would happen if Michael Jordan played in the NBA today? We all know what would happen; MJ would dominate. The only question is, to what extent?
Debating this, we enter the sphere of hypotheticals. As such, there are no right or wrong answers. But every once in a while, an NBA-related individual comes out with an argument so extreme that it’s hard to take it seriously. It’s one thing to say MJ would still be the best player in today’s NBA — most of us would agree with that — but it’s another thing to hyperbolize his greatness to the point it becomes absurd.
David Falk, Jordan’s longtime agent, did it when he said Michael would average 60 on 75% shooting in today’s NBA. And just recently, the Hall of Famer Vlade Divac said something along the lines of Falk’s comments.
Jordan in today’s NBA would’ve averaged 80 points per game. The rules have changed; the game is no longer physical. The game is played for the fans, which is nice, but it seems the league lost its competitiveness. That makes it hard to compare generations because the circumstances are entirely different.Vlade Divac, BUKA Magazin
Every “Michael Jordan would’ve dominate today’s NBA” argument is a testament to his greatness, but even more so, a knock on what the league has become. And the elaboration is always the same — rule changes make it easier on today’s players, the league is less physical and less competitive, and the overall climate around the NBA is softer than before.
Now, a lot of that is true. But it’s inevitable. It’s part of the evolution process the game has gone through, and players have done their best to adjust to it. It seems people generally don’t have a problem with that until someone brings up an all-time great from the past and puts him in today’s context. That’s when all the animosity comes to the surface.
Would MJ still be amazing if he played today? Of course. But does that diminish the level of greatness modern NBA superstars have been able to reach? It shouldn’t. But comments like Divac’s make it seem so. I get the bias having played through the 90s. But romanticizing the past at the expense of today’s players has to stop.
Even Michael himself has said it; cross-era comparisons and projections are pointless and disrespectful towards the game. So let’s appreciate the greatness instead.
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