Thanks to NBA 2K11 we have a little resurgence of Michael Jordan. He may be virtual, you may have to unlock the good ones, but any chance to see vintage Jordan, even virtual vintage Jordan, works for me.
This also has meant more MJ in the media. Like the interview he did with the USA Today’s Game Hunter magazine, where Jordan was asked how today’s game has changed (meaning the no hand-checking rule on the perimeter) :
It’s less physical and the rules have changed, obviously. Based on these rules, if I had to play with my style of play, I’m pretty sure I would have fouled out or I would have been at the free throw line pretty often and I could have scored 100 points.
Really Michael? You needed to go there? Well, I guess after watching your Hall of Fame speech this shouldn’t shock me.
I’m not going to go into a detailed shredding of this because Kelly Dwyer already did a great job at Ball Don’t Lie, but here are the highlights.
First, Wilt Chamberlain’s game was basically a mockery of the sport — he played against a second string, much smaller center and by the end of the game the other Philadelphia players were fouling New York players just to stop the clock and get the ball back so Wilt could score more. He took 63 shots and got to the line 32 times.
Second, you’d be hard pressed to do it today without hitting the three (and Jordan was a career 29 percent three point shooter from the current distance). Jordan would hit shots and get to the line, he’d get his points, but not 100. There’s a reason it hasn’t been done. Dwyer sums up the issue with MJ’s ego well.
It’s OK to “just” be the best ever, MJ. It’s OK to be the all-around player you were. And it’s OK to wonder if you could top Kobe’s 81. But 100 points? Who cares? Wilt’s night was impressive, but it was an aberration. A freak show. A gimmick, and not entirely the proudest moment in this league’s history (again, the Warriors fouled the Knicks to get the ball back!).
It’s OK, MJ. They’re still making video games about you. Nobody’s forgotten anything.