Michael Jordan often said he modeled his game after Julius Erving — so it was only right for Dr. J to interview him during the All-Star game back in 1996. It is widely known that The Doctor considers himself the one to pass to torch onto Micheal, therefore, he prepared several intriguing questions for his 'student'.
A hot topic during the time was the Olympics. Dr. J confronted Jordan and asked why he doesn't want to participate in the '96 Olympics, to which MJ simply replied he wanted to give the younger guys some of the limelight and the ability to win the gold medal in front of a worldwide audience while representing the USA.
When asked by Dr. J, if this was the best Chicago team played on, MJ responded how it is tough to compare; however, there are several distinctions between the two.
It's tough the say. This team has been together. The three championship team was together for six years before we started to win, and everything was systematically working and clicking.
After losing from the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Semifinals a year earlier, Jordan was as eager as ever to get back to the finals and restore his legacy.
This team is not quite the same type of system. We've got a great all-around player here, a player who can score 30 points a game and then another guy who can get 20 rebounds a game. And then you chip in different pieces to make this team successful. Is it the great team, or the greatest team? I think we're stretching until we'Ve accomplished something. Right now, we haven't accomplished anything.
Jordan was in the best physical shape of his life when he decided to retire, think of the unfathomable hang-time, filthy reverse layups, and free-throw dunks. He was unquestionably in his prime, in the peak physical form of his life. One could argue MJ was still in his prime upon his return to the NBA, but there was a slight difference — and Jordan was first to admit this when Erving asked him to rate his game.
I think that mentally and the knowledge of basketball I am better. Physically I may not have the same speed or quickness, but I think the mental aspect can override some of the physical disadvantages that I may have. This game on this level turns to be more mental preparations than the physical.
The time away from the game had undoubtedly allowed MJ to reflect, visualize, rest mentally, and prepare for a historic comeback.