Michael Jordan is one of only three players in NBA history to play a full 82-game schedule at the age of 38+ -- the other two being John Stockton and Johnny Green. According to Tyronn Lue, that's something MJ took great pride in.
"That was a badge of honor"
The current Clippers' head coach was Jordan's teammate during his farewell run with the Washington Wizards. But unlike most of the guys 40-year-old MJ shared a locker room with, Lue loved being around His Airness.
Mike was equally demanding but not as transcendent as a player. He also enforced championship standards on a group that wasn't ready for it, and most of his teammates hated him for it. But Lue didn't.
Ty loved having Jordan as a teammate, despite all the baggage he brought to the team. He loved being around No.23 and seeing how he approaches the game day in and day out despite being 40.
“He wanted to practice every day and play 82 games at 40. Like we came into the league that was a badge of honor to play 82 games and this man doing it at 40 years old with one leg. Come on man! Talk about dedication to the game? It don’t get better than that.”
Tyronn Lue, Knuckleheads Podcast
“Being 40 years old, playing back-to-backs, he played 82 games," Lue said. "But the crazy part about it? He would never stay out of practice like Doug Collins would like, ‘Mike, go! Man, no!’ Like he wanted to play in practice every single day. Me like, ‘He 40 years old!’ Still everyday first one there.”
One of the last of its kind
Jordan playing all 82 games wasn't just exclusive for his final year in the league -- he played in all 82 games nine times and had two other seasons with at least 80 games played.
Guys used to take pride in playing all 82 games. But they don't do it anymore. Long-term wise, is that good for their health? Probably. Will it prolong their careers? Probably, although given the number of injuries today's players deal with, that might not be the case. But is it disrespectful to former players, as well as the fans? For sure.
If you bought a ticket to see Jordan, you would see Jordan. Unfortunately, the same can't be said about most of today's NBA superstars.