Michael Jordan Named 1988 Defensive Player of the Year
Michael Jordan is remembered for many of his achievements. NBA Championships, team ownership, and scoring titles are the “sexy” categories of what he’s managed to pull off, but for tonight’s Sneaker News: Was It The Shoes?, we’ll focus on one the true unsung hero of Michael’s unparalleled game – Defense. The phrase “defense wins championships” is a resounding truth across all professional sports (even you, SlamBall), and the lack thereof is unquestionably the primary criticism of the NBA stars of the current generation. Let’s take a look back at Jordan’s Defensive legacy!
The landscape of NBA Defense has undergone some significant changes. The most notable, of course, was the implementation of Zone Defense which was primarily aimed at containing Shaquille O’neal during an era when serviceable and sizable NBA Centers were few and far in-between. Zone Defense eventually led to an overall lax approach to man-to-man defense, so while guys like Vince Carter, Carmelo Anthony, Tracy McGrady, Allen Iverson, and even LeBron James were creating legends of themselves with their offensive output, they were mediocre-at-best on the opposite end of the floor. So while the Pistons won an improbable Championship in 2004 with team D, man-to-man defense was a lost art, and quite frankly, that explains why the aforementioned Carter/Anthony/McGrady/Iverson cluster has zero championships. Some NBA analysts will postulate that LeBron didn’t get his first Championship until his defense stepped up.
So what about Michael? Where does Defense fit in with his 6 NBA Titles? The flat out truth is that Michael Jordan was one of the best defensive players in the game. He was an intimidator on both ends of the floor, and his tenacity and relentless pursuit of the basketball led him to be one of the most prolific thieves in NBA history. Not to say his efforts on D went unrecognized – he was named to nine consecutive NBA All-Defensive First Teams from 1988 to 1998 (a three-year hiatus due to retirement and that shortened ’95 season).
MJ played against and dominated the best players the NBA had to offer. A lot of those top players went on to be hall of famers. MJ was just that much better. MJ met up with Magic(arguably the best guard in the game, at that time) in '91 and proved to the world that hewas the best player in the game by crushing Magic and his Lakers in 4 games to 1 Championship victory. At the same time, continuing to dominate the shoe game after changing it in the mid eighties. Sneakers were never looked at in the same way after the first Jordans were released.
Jordan was locking up players that had no chance in dominating him. He had no Kevin Durant or Kobe just a bunch of legedndary bigs asnd people act like hed was down on the block guarding them. If only Masgic and Larry were younger whwen The Jordan Era actually started it would've been a better indicator of of Jordan was truly that great or just the shooting gaurd version of Wilt Chamberlin(no one to gaurd him(ahead of his time)). I mean you saw what A.I. did to him. (indicatoerr of things to come. Lebron>/=Jordan
u guys should cover more players from back in the day, im sure MJ wasn't the ONLY player dominating the court
@QUINNMOON That's true he crushed a Magic Johnson 1yr b4 having to retire from AIDS magic was nowhere near Magic form look at the numbers of magics career then that season then that series. The best competitor mj went agasinst that was near his level was Dominique but he'd already had Scottie to do a lot of that lifting by the time of Niques emergence. Mj def dominated HOFs but when you look at the other guys body of work I can't help but think they had a watered down guard pool. Great bigs few great offensive guards like we have in the league. Partly mjs fault because everyone coming up as a kid from 5'8-7-2 wants to be like mike which has led to the evolution of the Game today and he should be thanked for that but would you say the first Computer ever invented is better than the laptops we have available today? It's called evolution and it seems like Jordan fans are afraid of it because theyre so stuck on his shoes lol. Lebron and Durant are better than Jordan and in the future there will be a 7'2 280lbs guy thast moves like a 2 guard and jumps like Blake it's evolution and he'll be better than Jordan.
@TrelsDope i'm going to take a wild guess but you were born in the 90s?
@TrelsDope A.I. crossed him up when he was 36 years old come on now. and he did have other top players going against him Dominique Wilkins, Ron Harper, Joe Dumars (who guarded MJ the Best) made him play to the level that he played at. i feel what you saying if Bird and Magic where younger it would indicate where he standes but if it wasnt for the G.O.A.T. (MJ) we wouldnt have big contracts players in commercials and shoe deals so those rings them shoes he selling ang the way the players play today is a great indicator on who he is and what he has done for basketball (how soon we forget.
@ac2slater No He wasn't but def the most Prolific my dude. Seriously though, Let them finish these Was is the Shoes segments cause its very informative for dudes like me who were around in Jordan second three - peat era and didnt really get a chance to understand the greatness that was going on. And besides that. Jordan is the Greatest Athlete known around the world. It's only right that SneakerNews, pays homage.
@ac2slater The site ain't called Basketballnews.com. It's called Sneakernews.com. Which player has influenced the sneaker game more than MJ?
@TrelsDope Jordan... theirs no player other then wilt Chamberlain dat got double team throughout their entire career, still put up 35 to 40 & play superb defense & be a defensive 1st team yr in & yr out... as good as lebron & Kobe are, they will never b better then mike. Mike not only was a great player but he was a ground breaker. Not too many athletes, let alone basketball players can say that... plus everybody dat studies & watches bball on a consistent basis knows da formula fa a championship is a top 10 big man & a great perimeter player. Mike had scottie, who's another perimeter player & rarely got doubled.. win 3 titles, retire, come back to get embarrassed in da playoffs vs da Orlando magic & then come back da next season to dominant da league wit 72 wins... to me, theirs not even a discussion. MJ has & will alwayz b da best. Kobe & lebron & Durant can only fight fa top 10 players ever spot.. and even dat will b hard to do cuz magic, bird, Kareem, wilt, bill russell, shaq & olajuwon to contend wit in dat category in my opinion
@TrelsDope MJ has set the bar extremely high. There will always be very good or even great players, but none will have the impact that MJ had on the game (remember Detroit's "Jordan rules of the late eighties?). MJ dominated on every level and multiple positions were adversely affected by him being on the court. He created havoc at both ends of the court as evidence of the video clip above. Many of those plays ended in points the other end of the court. It's kinda funny to watch how all those highlight films of MJ scoring, started with him playing defense. Think about this - Kobe had to copy MJ's game before he was able to elevate to level he achieved (irritates me to no end. Smh). The thing another player could do to one up MJ, would be to eclipse his record of consecutive 'chips - which is no small feat. The game and players became watered down AFTER MJ's era, not during. Since then, athletes have jumped into the league as unrefined and unpolished players. Once illegal moves are now the norm. These players of today woul've been eaten Alive during Mj's era. Oh, and for the record, Dominique Wilkins was collecting scoring titles at the same time MJ was playing. Nique's Atlanta Hawks were big rivals for MJ's Chicago Bulls. They had epic battles. The had to surpass the Hawks before moving on to teams like Detroit. ;)
@TrelsDope Wow! I'm really starting to think you really were born in the nineties. Smh. You couldn't have been watching the NBA during MJ's era. You're talking about Pippen like he was a HOF his whole career. The other guys are right. You need to do your homework. No one is afraid to say someone is better than MJ. The problem is that we can't legitimately say it, yet. We can't go off of what these current players MIGHT do. Either they're doing what MJ was or not. LeBron just got his 1st title. It could very well be his last with the way OKC is playing. He's moving further into the back side of his career. By the 10 year mark, Jordan already had THREE straight titles! Not to mention scoring titles, MVPs -both league and championships, defensive player of the year, etc. You can't be serious. People haven't just started making comparisons with this current crop of players. It's been going on since Jordan was moving into the tail-end of his career. Some of the best guards were playing during Jordan's era, like: Magic, Isaiah, Stockton, KJ, GP, Doc Rivers, Clyde Drexler, Rolando Blackman, Mark Jackson, Reggie theus, Reggie Miller, Grant Hill, Vince Carter, John Starks, Dumars, etc. Have you ever heard of the guys??? I'm mean, the greats before and during his time called MJ the best that ever played the game. What else do you need???
@TrelsDope I hear wat u sayin bro. Cuz I'm a huge LBJ fan. I think he has da POTENTIAL to b better then mike. He's probably 1 of the most unique athletes to ever come into da league. But I don't think any1 can b better then mike. As good as LBJ is he had an already established d wade. And as good as pippen is, it was mike dat kinda made him into da player he became. Cuz in practice Scottie had to guard Jordan to make his defense fierce. And I agree wit u on KD. He also has da potential to b even better then LBJ cuz of his very unique skill set... but no will ever be better then mike. I didn't think a dude could be better then magic til mike came around... and only person mike has really given a lot of credit to his game is Kobe Bryant & Kobe immulatez him so fuckin much I can't even consider him to b better then magic.... does bron have da potential, hell yea. But he won't be better then Mike. Let's at least wait til he gets 5, dats if he gets dat many when u have Durant & d rose hungry fa championship s
@Da_Real_Big_Infinite I really shldnt of mentioned the ASG but with second in MVP voting thast shows you how great pippen was and wehen you add Jordan to the mix they're impossible to beat in a 7 game series not sure I can say that abt Jordan when he dsnt have pippen asnd had Jordan made it to the finals w no pippen like Lbj did with no wade Jordan wouldnt be undftd. I'm not sure abt w Kobe but all those HOFers are starting to say Lbj is better or are startiong to lean that way one more year like last year capped with a ring they'll all be sure Lbj is better. And there's nothing wrong with it he's just bigger stronger faster and in 10-15 yrs they'll be another player ahead of his time that'll be better it's all in evolution. You can think Jordan is the best of all time I kinda still think it to but I dnt ride Jordan's sac like some of the ppl here so I can see a clear picture and not be blinded by Jordan's shoes. When KD starts playing d and becomes more of a play maker if ever he'll be better than jordan. He has all the tools. It's like you older ppl are scasred of someone surpassing Jordan like he did magic and bird like they did the greats before them just accept evolution it's only making the game better. Think abt it theres 6-11 guys like perry jones a rookie who've perfected the euro step when in jordans day they couldn't dribbled and run at the same time.
@TrelsDope those were Jordan's 4 thru 6 titles... wat about da 1st 3... I never said Jordan won them by himself cuz no guy can do that. But unlike most great players, he dominated da game frum outside da paint in when da league was all bout big man play... and I never said pippen was a scrub. I mean he's 1 of da 50 greatest players ever to play but if Jordan wasn't their pippen wouldn't even be mentioned as 1 of da 50... and kukoc was not da best international player at da time, it was easily vlade divas or even sabonis dat are old enough to remember how great of player he was. And Dennis was a beast but it was mikes determination & competitive spirit dat made him up his level even more (Dennis's own words)... and ur other argument is pippen came 2nd in MVP voting. No1 remembers 2nd place. And u can't measure a player thru an all star game. Dats jus a gloried pick up game... us when mike makes it to da finals, he wins. Only person I kno dat can say they are undefeated in da finals is da great bill Russell.... and if u really wanna talk about pippen, didn't he have a bit of an attitude when Phil Jackson asked him to go in da game as a decoy & he pouted about it. He even mentioned in his autobiography dat he wasn't mentally ready to have da entire team on his shoulders cuz mike took dat on without even thinkin about it.... So when player like magic, bird, Barkley & Reggie miller say he's da best, and they played against him... and Kobe has dam near immulated his whole game & lebron took off da number 23 to pay homepage to da best player to ever play.... case closed
@TrelsDope Noone is saying MJ did it by himself. No, one person can win championships, all on their own. MJ made the players around him better. The '91 Bulls team that won, was a team that grew up with MJ as their inspirational leader. The chip teams that followed were carefully modified (with additions to the core team) to keep the Bulls at the top of the NBA. MJ was not only a supernatural offensive threat, but also a defensive nightmare. He would drop 40 pts. on you at will, and would shutdown the guy guarding him at the other end. In addition, he played some the best "help" defense in the business. He had an uncanny ability to "cheat off" of the guy he was guarding to get a steal, strip the ball or block the shot of the person with the ball. For at least the first four or five seasons, Jordan WAS the team. Check the stats. But like all great teams, you have to have other players step up and become a force in order to win it all. Pippen became "Pippen" because of MJ. Earlier in Pippen's career, he would struggle with MJ out of the game. After finally coming into his own, MJ and Pippen became the "dynamic duo" (along with Horace Grant) and proceeded to dominate the NBA for years to come. You definitely had to fully experience the Jordan era to truly see the impact that MJ had on the game and how his shoes gave off an aura of total invincibility. You couldn't touch Jordan- period!
@Da_Real_Big_Infinite Well said I've never seen them all live but when Jordan was out did the bulls not make the conf finals w no Jordan replacement? (Lbj left cle terrible record) did pippen not win ASG MVP and second in MVP voting? Did Kerr not knock down tht three when mj found him? Waas Dennis Rodman not a tremendous force? Was kukoc not the best international player at that time? Did pippen not help Jordan cause havoc on defense? STOP ACTING LIKE JORDAN WON 6 RINGS BY HIMSELF LOL HE WAS ON THERr BEST TEAM OF THE 90s IT'S LIKE PUTTING LBJ ON SPURS OR BULLS ROSTER SHIT WOULD GET CRAZY
@TrelsDope u must of not seen da entire NBA finals in 97 & 98... cuz mj was gettin doubled by Byron Russell, Jeff hornacek & john stockton dam near every time he touched da ball when ur talkin about 1 play in 98... game 6 of da 97 finals showed dat when mike was DOUBLED teamed & found Steve Kerr fa da lead bucket... I've seen Michael & magic & bird & Barkley & Kobe & lebron & Durant play live & I've been watchin bball fa over 25 yrs. Mike is da best flat out. And dis is comin frum a die hard knick fan dat got crushed every time mike knocked da Knicks out of da playoffs.. Kobe can't say dat cuz he had Shaq dat was a constant doubl team... lebron has d wade dat has to b doubled or he will go off fa 40... Durant is a great scorer but not necessarily a great player yet. He doesn't play defense as well as other top players... Kobe & Lebron both had to go to Hakeem olaujwon to get a better post game.. mike already had a dominant post game... only thing lebron has is he bigger, stronger then mike was. And da rules of today NBA is much softer then it was back in da 80s & 90s. U didn't have zone defenses. Therefore it was much more difficult scoring points then it is today... and mike cut throat & never let up attitude was 2nd to none... no1 dominated da game on both ends of da floor like mike. Lebron, Kobe nor Durant has ever won league MVP, defensive poy & scorin title in da same season like mike did... has Kobe ever done a 3 pt shootout durin all star wkend like mike.. has lebron ever entered da dunk contest like mike did... no player has done more fa da game of bball on & off da court like mj... therefore he is da best... lebron & Kobe can fight fa top 10... cuz I don't even think they better then magic & bird... cuz if it wasn't fa magic & bird their probably wouldn't even b an NBA. And mike took wat they saved & took it to another level... plus lebron has only won 1 ring. He need at least 5 rings jus to b compared to Kobe let alone mj... and if Kobe didn't have shaq he would only have 2 rings & dats when shaq was arguably da best player in basketball wit da lakers
@Da_Real_Big_Infinite So why wasn't he getting double teamed on those buzzer beaters for rings against the jazz? Would you Jordan heads stop it with the double teamed night in and night out shit lol if that were true he would've avgd 20 assts or should've hed didn't get double teamed any more than any superrrstar like Lbj Durant or Kobe goodness watch complete games not highlight reels!