Michael Jordan, The Egomaniac

98649653 e1279566493929 Michael Jordan, The EgomaniacLet me get this out of the way up front, so there’s no confusion.

Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player I’ve ever seen, and it’s not even close. In fact, Michael Jordan is the greatest athlete I’ve ever seen. Never has the combination of skill and will to win ever been so high in one person.

When you were cheering against Jordan, no matter who you were cheering for, you just knew you were going to lose. Not only did you as a fan know it, but it seemed like everyone playing against him knew it too.

So when the greatest player in NBA history decides to talk about current NBA players, you listen.  Most notably, his recent comments about Lebron James vs. Kobe Bryant, and the recent Wade, James, Bosh union in Miami.

Before you take what Jordan says as gospel, there’s one thing you must remember.

Click MORE to find out what that is, and what it means.

Michael Jordan is a selfish egomaniac. It’s true. He’s a winner, he was dominant, and he was unforgettable. All of those things happened to coincide with the fact that he is also a selfish egomaniac.

Michael Jordan was asked yesterday what he thought of Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all deciding to play together in Miami.

Jordan said, “there’s no way, with hindsight, I would have ever called up Larry, called up Magic, and said ‘Hey look, let’s get together and play on one team.” Jordan continued, “in all honesty, I was trying to beat those guys.”

Michael Jordan is giving a genuine answer. He wouldn’t have decided to join a team with Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. That doesn’t mean it’s the right answer.

It’s an answer from a guy who didn’t want to, and still will not share the spotlight. Who was more interested in being “the man” and winning, than winning in and of itself. From a guy who was so legendarily hard on his teammates, that they wrote a book about it.

It’s also a response coming from a guy who played with one of the 50 greatest NBA players of all time, Scottie Pippen. If Pippen never came along, and the option to play with Magic Johnson did, it seems like the logical choice to make.

It’s a comment from a guy whose ego was so big and out of touch with reality, that he decided that he was left without a challenge in professional basketball, so he would go and play baseball. It’s often been speculated that he was told by David Stern to take a break from the NBA because of an out of control gambling problem.  Either way, he chose to feed his ego and fill the void with baseball. It’s often said the hardest thing to do in professional sports is hit a baseball, Jordan figured for him, it would be no big deal. It turned out, he was wrong.

Sure, Jordan was a guy who wouldn’t want want to call up Magic and Larry to play on the same team, but was so ignorant of his own eroding skills, that he chose to suit up for the Washington Wizards when he was failing as a GM.

The most recent comments from Jordan were the second ones to make headlines. The first being Jordan’s comment that Kobe Bryant is a better player than Lebron James.

A valid opinion, for sure. True because Michael Jordan says it’s so, not so much.

He picked the guy whose game is not only modeled by, but invented by Michael Jordan. Bryant’s moves, most notably the recently developed fade-away jumper, came from Jordan, even down to the post big shot fist pump.

Jordan chose the guy whose relationship with his teammates has always been described as stormy, at best. Much in the same way Jordan’s was, many times for the very same reasons.

Jordan chose the guy who so desperately wanted to be the most important player on a winning team, that he made Lakers choose between himself and Shaquille O’Neal, at the time the league’s most dominant player.

The very traits that defined Jordan as a great player skews his view of today’s players and how they should act. The belief that one man can bring a team to a championship may be true for Michael Jordan, but it doesn’t mean it’s true for everyone. These are the same traits that have plagued, and may continue to plague Jordan in the front-office.

Jordan doesn’t see Scottie Pippen for what he was, one of the greatest players of all time, but something that he created. In his mind, if it wasn’t Pippen, it would have been someone else. Perhaps James is just self-aware enough to know that he needs his own Pippen in Dwyane Wade.

When Jordan sees greatness, he sees it embodied in himself. This is why he thinks Lebron James shouldn’t have left Cleveland, and why he thinks Kobe Bryant is a better player than James.

Michael Jordan was the greatest basketball player I’ve ever seen. It doesn’t mean that everything Michael Jordan thinks about basketball should be taken as gospel. It should be taken for what it is, the opinion of a great basketball player.

  • Chris

    It is true that winning is important and that it is too early to judge Lebron’s legacy. The thing is though, what it all comes down too is how you won. Despite Kobe doing many incredible basketball feats by himself, he was not a legitimate Jordan/Magic level player until he won these 2 championships on his terms. That is why that even if Lebron does win championships, they won’t hold the same weight as if he did them on his own. Unless he can string together an incredible amount of championships ( Bill Russel 1960’s ), he will never be considered a Jordan level player.

    • Spike

      Kobe Bryant’s “terms” were “get me more good players or trade me.”

      Doing alone is a myth.

      Kobe didn’t win a championship “by himself” until he had arguably the best power forward in the Western Conference starting with him. Remember, Kobe Bryant’s terms were not much different than James or Wade. He wanted to play with an outstanding talent so he can win. Those were his terms.

      The only difference is that James had to change cities to play with that player.

  • Jay Johnson

    None of the NBA greats won anything until they got some help.
    The Big O got with who,J.West got with who,D. Robinson got with who,Dr. Jay got with who,Kobe played with who for 3 rings, and who for 2 rings.Bird and Magic were on championship teams,Jordan would have had to join up with them. All the greats had to get help or they were on a team that could show up in the playoffs. Lebron had no one to show up in the playoffs each year he was there. Lebron played out his contract and put Cleveland on the NBA map.He is a free agent and has the right to make a choice that is best for him and his family. He owes Cleveland nothing.We all would leave our jobs for one that is a much better opportunity for you. If you judge players by championships then you make a move to win them. THAT IS WHAT ALL THE GREATS HAVE DONE. HOVEVER, THERE WAS LITTLE MEDIA,E-MAILS,ESPN,SPORTS TALK SHOWS,TO HEAR ALL THE CRIES FROM FANS AROUND THE COUNTRY. Jordan was the greatest, but he is talking about the past. Now what would he do today. Keep loosing, I DON’T THINK SO.

  • Doug

    Why is everyone so upset about LeBron legacy? So what Jordan wouldn’t have done it, we’ve been beat over the head since Jordan retired that there would never be another Jordan anyway, but now everyone’s upset that LBJ didn’t do what Jordan would’ve done! Then guys like Barkely who says its ok at the end of your career to get on someone’s back and score 7 points a game to win a meaningless title, but not ok to go somewhere in your prime to actually try and help earn a title or create a Dynasty!

    • Spike

      Agreed Doug. Good point.

      Furthermore, how is everyone ready to define the legacy of a player at 25 years old? Jordan was still 3 years from a championship at 25 years old. Something tells me if he’s as spectacular in Miami as he was in Cleveland, and wins a few titles, his legacy will be just fine right?

      I also don’t see the difference between deciding to change teams to play with a great player, and recruiting a great player to come play with you. The desire from both Wade and James seemed pretty mutual.

      Thanks for reading!

  • mark

    of course jordan would have never made a move to like that in his life,,,, hes a selfish prick,,,just like phil jackson all the glory and the credit but for jordan ,,right? kiss my ass””” if it wasnt for pippen, paxson,kerr, and ofcourse rodman the best rebounder of the game… jordan had hes share,,he was supposedly the best player then he had the send best player on scotie pippen and third he had for the most part the best rebounder EVERRRRRR on rodman.

    • Travis

      I think the fact that Jordan is an egomaniac or not does not necessarily have any bearing on why he made the comments. I presume the writer does not know Jordan and better than I do, which admittedly is not well, however judging from his comments I believe these comments are made because of his competitive nature rather than his egomaniacal personality. Egomania and competitiveness are mutually exlusive personality traits, he may be both, he may be one and not ther other, however his making these comments does not mean it was because he may be a bit more confident than the next. It means, in my opinion, that he is competitive. I was a division I NCAA athlete, and I know there is no way I would ever team up with a rival, not because of my ego, but because of the drive to win, not surrender and join teams. I think that is what Jordan was getting at, and that is what Lebron lacks and Kobe exhibits.

      • Spike

        How does it make you more competitive to want to win in Cleveland than wanting to win in Miami?

        How does it make you less competitive to want to play with great players?

        To compete doesn’t necessarily mean to do it yourself. That’s why I chose to focus on his ego rather than competitive nature. Which, although one can exist without the other, for him are often times tied together. It wasn’t just about winning, it was about winning BECAUSE of him. Make sense?

        How is Lebron James surrendering by playing in Miami, any more than Wade is surrendering by asking him to play there? He’s not.

  • dwight

    I love MJ. But I think your both right. Probably more so the writer because LBJ23 I mean LBJ6 LOL is not MJ and shouldnt be compared to MJ. But he is a very good player but MJ was right about Kobe being better, its the the killer instinct LBJ dont have and thats why he shouldnt be compared with MJ and its why he left the Cavs.

  • Larry

    Fans forget how good Scottie Pippin was, and the Bulls also had, among other good players, Horest Grant, John Paxson, Toni Kukic, and Dennis Rodman, and Hall of fame coach Phil Jackson.

    Look at the Cav’s and tell us that they have anyone close to that type of talent. It took Mike 8 years to win a championship with good players, Lebron wants similar talent…Something Cleveland was unable, or unwilling to provide.

    Good article Spike!

    • Spike

      I think probably unable, when you’re talking about Cleveland. They certainly tried to get James the right pieces, but nothing ever seemed to work out. They certainly weren’t able to get him another start to play with.

      It’s easy for Jordan to say what he would or wouldn’t have done, knowing how his career ended. If he was presented the same situation, it’s hard to know what he would have actually done.

      Thanks for reading, Larry!

  • Phil from G-ville

    Jordan’s comments do not ‘add up’ to the charge of egomania. Of course, he is narcissistic and egomaniacal, and those traits have some influence on his answer, but his response has more to do with the changes in the NBA landscape than with Jordan’s character traits or lack thereof.

    Larry Bird and Magic Johnson would likely answer similarly, since the prevailing system during their era would have prevented the move that Wade, James, and Bosch have made. In short, the reporter here has reached a knee-jerk conclusion predicated on a predisposition to focus on Jordan’s egomania.

    Professional writers should provide expert analysis and insightful opinion. This is neither.

    • Spike

      First, I didn’t say his comments made him an egomaniac. I said he made the comments because he is an egomaniac. There’s a difference.

      Michael Jordan’s ego has been documented regularly. You should read “The Jordan Rules,” if you missed it.

      Next, it’s easy for Jordan to say he wouldn’t have taken the opportunity, because he was never given that particular opportunity.

      Thanks for the comment, Phil.

      • Phil from G-ville

        Spike, I read the book, and agree that he is an egomaniac. I think his comments here are simply accurate, so there is no story. Magic and Larry would likely answer the same. Are they egomaniacs? Would that predisposition in them ‘make’ them answer as self-righteously as Jordan? I just don’t see the connection.

      • Spike


        First of all, it’s your opinion that his comments are accurate. You both have your reasons for believing so.

        Just because his comments are accurate (or even if they’re not), doesn’t mean there’s not a story. There is more than one way to come to a conclusion.

        See if this makes sense, make pretend my answer to everything was “red.” Just because you asked me what color a rose was, and I was right, doesn’t mean I was right for the right reasons.

        My point is that his perspective is skewed just like anyone else’s. My point is that his perspective is skewed because of his personality, and because of the skills he had. My point is that his perspective is skewed because one certain way worked for him, and that doesn’t necessarily mean it works for others.

        Not everyone answers a question the same way for the same reason. If I say Kobe is better than Lebron (which I don’t beleieve, and is neither here nor there), it’s probably not because I’m an egomaniac. For Michael Jordan, I think his answers are a direct result of his personality.

        As for Magic and Bird, who knows? They didn’t answer the question, and I won’t assume they’d answer it the same way.

        You can ask 5 different people the same subjective question. You can get 5 of the same answers, and they can all be for different reasons.

        Thanks again for the comments.

  • Wayne

    If Lebron wanted to be “King”, he would have went to NY, with Stoudamire, a potent no. 2 for him. But, instead he got in somebody elses line, instead of leading his own. Yeah he is a great talent, but has no Alpha Dog in him, I’m very disappointed in him, and I feel sorry for the future of the NBA. There is no more conversation who is better Kobe or lebron, 1st Kobe proved who’s better, and Lebron has taken himself off the 1st tier of NBA players.

    • Spike

      The mistake here is saying that he went to Wade’s team. Not really true.

      It’s true that it’s the same franchise Wade has played for, but this is essentially an entirely new team. It’s no more Wade’s team than it is James’ team.

      And as I wrote before, I don’t know how you could have watched Lebron James over the last several years and not seen an “alpha-dog” at least occasionally.

      Finally, Amare is garbage. How can you be 6’10” and not be able to rebound or even try to play defense.

      Thanks for reading Wayne!

      • john

        Not true this is D Wades team . I”m old school got picture of Dr. J slamming in 77 series against Portland Hangiing in gold frame in my living room so the fact that the King gave reason for changing his number sickens me. Never big fan do respect his skills. Pippen soft ask Detroit.

      • Spike

        It’s a completely new team John. When James signed, the only guys they had under contract were Wade, Bosh, and Mario Chalmers I believe. How does it make it Wade’s team?

        And Doc was a great player, but Michael Jordan means a lot more to a 25 year old than Dr J does.

        Thanks for the comment John!

  • Wayne

    Michael is right, Lebron ruined, in my eyes, his legacy, he put himself back down into a “roll” player. Yeah, Lebron probably will win championships now, but he will do it as D-wades wingman. Lebron James has just become a “Scottie Pippen”, he will never be a “Micheal Jordan”. I don’t want to hear about a different era, you are a leader or not, Lebron on national TV made himself a follower.

    • Spike

      How can you judge Lebron’s legacy at 25 years old? Jordan didn’t win a championship until 28. What would Jordan’s legacy have been if you judged it at 26? Probably a selfish guy who hogged the ball too much and never had enough help to get it done.

      I think all this talk of it destroying his legacy is kind of silly and definitely pre-mature.

      And if it hurts James’ legacy to want to leave and go play with Wade, what does it do for Wade’s, who did everything he could to have James come join him. If one is guilty of needing the other, they both are.

      Trust me, if you’ve ever watched Lebron James play basketball, you know he’ll never be just a “role player.”

      THanks for reading brother.

  • Tyler Elliott

    I’m not a Jordan fan but really, is it necessary to slam Jordan’s character with comments like his alleged gambling problem and his desire to try baseball when playing basketball rightfully bored him. LeBron was wrong to work a cabal with Wade and Bosh to play all on the same team. LeBron was wrong to have this planned out a couple years in advance by making sure all three were free agents at the same time. LeBron was wrong to not tell Cleveland’s owner Dan Gilbert ahead of time to spare the city embarrassment. LeBron was wrong to give himself an hour on ESPN to announce this. Wrong..Wrong.. Wrong.. And no amount of Jordan bashing (when you even admit he’s correct) will alter it

    • Spike

      Lebron James has every right to play where he wants to play if he’s a free agent. He also has every right to plan his future whenever he wants to, just like you or me.

      I’m not slamming Jordan’s character. What I am doing is that when you read quotes about his opinion on what current players should do, you should consider the source.

      It’s got nothing to do with what he did or did not tell Dan Gilbert. That’s not what Jordan was talking about, and it’s not what I wrote about.

      I appreciate you reading and your comment though Tyler. Thanks!

  • Anthony Crupi

    eh, maybe all so, but I loved his quote and would have loved for Lebron and D-Wade to have a little more of that competitive spirit themselves. Non of these clowns are like Mike!

    • Spike

      Just because you don’t do it all yourself, doesn’t make you any less competitive.

      At least that’s what I think.

      Isn’t it all about winning?

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