Hubie Brown is one of the most respected HOF coaches in the NBA community who also worked as an NBA broadcaster for multiple years, where we’ve had the chance to hear his voice while he analyzes games and players. In his 60 year-long basketball career, Brown accumulated incredible basketball knowledge and had the opportunity to witness multiple all-time great players. For him, Michael Jordan was always the one that stood out from everyone else because of his dominance on both ends of the floor.
In one of his books, Brown talks about Jordan’s evolution as a player and the conscious decision to become one of the greatest defenders in the NBA on top of being the best offensive player in the league. Brown respected players who were able to be equally dominant and efficient on both ends of the floor, which is rare in the NBA, especially now.
When Michael decided to make himself into a great defensive player, you were talking about a guy for years people said he was only a scorer, but there he was, All Defense every single year. That’s what I loved about watching him as he got more and more mature. When you look at the greatest players of all time, when I was a coach and over the years, doing television, I really respect the guys who can defend, who make themselves into elite-level defensive players.Hubie Brown
Brown said that the only other player that reminded him of Jordan in that way was John Stockton, who was able to use his quickness to get steals and disrupt the offense. On the other hand, he orchestrated his team offense like no other. Jordan used his long arms and speed to intercept passes and therefore initiated a pretty much unstoppable fast-break for the opposing teams.
There are only two players you can classify as double teamers on defense: Michael Jordan and John Stockton. By that, I mean, no matter where the play was, if there was a guy who went into the post or even on the other side of the floor, Jordan would leave his man-even if it was a scorer- he would leave and double team the post because he had such incredibly quick hands and quick reactions, he knew he could create turnovers and get into the fast break going the other way. It was a big part of his game; he was always top five in steals.Hubie Brown
Even though many coaches don’t like when their players gamble on defense because that puts other players in a tough spot, Jordan always had a green light to do it. His ability to recover back to the player he covered was outstanding, so when he double-teamed, you could be sure he was still aware where exactly his player was at all times.
That is the ultimate affirmation of your ability as a defensive player. Jordan’s coaches had so much faith in him that they would let him double team at that angle and still get back to the guy he was guarding, and Jordan was guarding one of the top scorers in the league just about every night. Never mind what he was doing for the team offensively, he was still doing it defensively as well.”Hubie Brown
Jordan is still to this day, third on the all-time steals list, right behind John Stockton and Jason Kidd. On top of that, he was an above-average shot blocker when you consider he was only 6’6,” but when it comes to defense, there were multiple things that he did that cannot be seen in the stat sheet.
As Hubie Brown said, he made a personal decision to be a great defender and was able to challenge himself every single game to successfully guard the best guards on the opposing team while at the same time dropping 30 or 40 points like it’s nothing. That is something rarely seen in the NBA, especially today, so that is why many fans will never change their mind when describing him as the GOAT.