Numerous NBA analysts, players, and fans consider Michael Jordan to be the greatest player of all-time. Rightfully so, Jordan deserves to be in these conversations, but these debates are based on subjective opinions, which can differ quite a bit. It’s interesting to hear how others view the notion of Jordan being the greatest, especially after the recent documentary series ‘The Last Dance.’ The main goal of the documentary was to solidify the legacy of Jordan and the Bulls as the best to do it; however, former NBA player Robert Parish disagrees with that completely.
Parish made a guest appearance on ‘In the Post’ podcast on SB Nation radio, where he further explained why he doesn’t agree with these claims. Remember, Parish was an instrumental part of the Boston Celtics dynasty led by Larry Bird in the ’80s, which is still to this day considered to be one of the best teams in NBA history. Parish’s main argument against Jordan is the fact he never faced great teams in the NBA finals.
“Now Michael was great in his era, but you think about this: Michael didn’t beat great teams, in my opinion. When Larry, Kevin, and myself were in our heyday, he couldn’t beat us. He couldn’t get past the Pistons until Joe Dumars, and Isiah Thomas got old. He couldn’t beat the Lakers in their prime.”Robert Parish, via In The Post
According to Parish, most of the teams Jordan faced in the NBA finals lacked the firepower to take down the Bulls who had a better all-around team. It’s fair to say the talent in the league was watered down a bit after the league decided to add more teams, which effectively meant the existing franchises lost some of their stars almost overnight. Parish said that during their second three-peat, the Bulls had three HOF players on their squad, which is more than any team Jordan ever faced in the finals.
“When he beat Phoenix, they only had one Hall of Famer- that was Barkley,” Parish said. “When he beat Seattle, they had one Hall of Famer: Payton. When he beat Portland, they had one Hall of Famer: Clyde Drexler. And he played with three Hall of Famers: Scottie, Dennis Rodman and himself; that’s three Hall of Famers on that team. Now don’t get me wrong, Michael was great in his era. But the greatest of all time?”Robert Parish, via In The Post
When it comes to the GOAT debate, Parish is clear in this debate and has three candidates, which are all equally great, and they are all centers.
“That’s a three-headed question for me. Because three guys come to mind right off the top, they are my Mount Rushmore of centers: that’s Chamberlain, Russell, and Kareem- and put them in any order you want. They are the three best ever, in my opinion.”Robert Parish, via In The Post
The notion that the lack of talent in the opposing teams that Jordan faced in the finals is the reason he won six championships is up for further debate. Parish made a valid point, and it’s true Jordan had a lot of help, especially in his second three-peat; however, nobody should forget that basketball is a team sport and great individuals can’t win championships by themselves.