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Michael Jordan would call NBA analyst Michael Wilbon to minimize his criticism toward LeBron James

michael wilbon & michael jordan (1)

According to many NBA analysts, ‘The Last Dance‘ documentary came at the right time. To a certain degree, its primary purpose is to certify Michael Jordan as the greatest player of all time. Debates on who is the best have been pretty active in the last couple of years, especially after LeBron James joined the Los Angeles Lakers to pursue another championship with a third team in his career. LeBron and Jordan are often compared, and the never-ending debate on who is the greatest is one of the most talked-about things among NBA fans today.

Long-time NBA reporter Michael Wilbon, one of the commentators in the documentary, said Jordan would call him on the phone and request him to minimize his criticism of LeBron. There was always tremendous respect between Jordan and LeBron, and Jordan understood better than anyone the amount of pressure big names in the NBA had to live with daily.

"This is an off-the-record thing that he would probably frown on me for telling, but I'm going to tell it. There were times earlier in LeBron's career, and sort of sprinkled throughout, where people got critical of LeBron. Whether it was 'The Decision,' whether it was a play, passing off to Donyell Marshall, whatever. People think Michael Jordan resents LeBron. To me, there's evidence to the contrary, in that there'd be a phone call."

Michael Wilbon, via The Rich Eisen Show

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Jordan would describe taking shots at LeBron as ‘garbage,’ and ever since he came into the NBA, Jordan thought he is a great player. Wilbon was hesitant about sharing this information initially, but he believes it’s beneficial, especially for clearing out the air that there is some animosity between the two superstars.

"I'd answer the phone, and this is what I'd hear on the other end. 'Hey, don't take a shot at LeBron, that's just garbage. This kid is great. There's no need to take a shot at him.' That conversation is playing out with him knowing it's not going to be repeated — it's not going to be told on PTI, it's not going to be in The Washington Post, or on ESPN.com."

Michael Wilbon, via The Rich Eisen Show

LeBron is not the only player Jordan appreciates, and according to Wilbon, he would do the same thing for players like Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry. Jordan often said Westbrook reminds of him, especially when you consider his incredible passion for the game and the ability to make everyone around him better. He also took a liking to Curry, who he often described as a game-changing player with his impressive shooting ability. 

"And that happened with young players that Michael liked occasionally, somewhere between occasionally and frequently. Russell Westbrook, Steph Curry. There were certain players that Michael would call and say, 'Hey, stop, this is nonsense.' Or if he knew I knew the person, 'Hey man, tell your boy he's wrong, LeBron James is going to be one of the greatest players of all time.' So the notion that Michael resents LeBron … it goes against everything else we're saying."

Michael Wilbon, via The Rich Eisen Show

These comments by Wilbon show that Jordan never holds any grudge against the NBA superstars today and that he was often on their side, especially when it came to criticism from the media, which are often very judgemental towards players and their decisions. Jordan himself knew what kind of pressure superstars in the NBA had to go through and endure from the media, so he used his power and influence to minimize the effect media has on individual players, especially when it comes to criticism.

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