Michael Jordan, in 2003, claimed that he is not the greatest player in the history of the league because he couldn’t play against past legends.
It’s common knowledge that Michael Jordan is widely regarded as the greatest basketball player to have stepped foot on NBA hardwood. The simple combination of talent and accomplishments is enough to have MJ in the uppermost echelon of legends throughout the course of league history.
There have been a few names over the 75 years of the league that have rivaled Michael Jordan in terms of being considered the ‘GOAT’. Guys like Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, and Larry Bird have all had their names surround the title. As for present day, LeBron James is currently in the running for ‘greatest of all time’, getting closer than any superstar has ever before.
However, with all the noise being concentrated on Jordan for being the ‘GOAT’, it’s important to note that he shares a different sentiment.
Michael Jordan claims that he is not the greatest of all time.
In an interview with John Thompson in 2003, Michael Jordan was asked to answer a couple questions with either of two words: true or false. Thompson asked him what everybody had on their minds and that’s if he believed that he himself was the greatest player of all time. Jordan’s answer: False.
“False; because I didn’t play against all the great players prior to me and I had those other players to influence my game. It’s a great honor, don’t get me wrong, but I would’ve loved to play against Jerry West to determine if I was a better guard than him, or Oscar Robertson. But we’ll never know.”
This may come as quite the surprise for NBA fans today as their used to guys like LeBron James openly admitting that they believe themselves to be the ‘GOAT’. This wasn’t the last time Michael Jordan would claim that he wasn’t the greatest as six years later he would say the exact same thing.
It’s safe to say that the 6x champ has a boatload of humility and respect when it comes to crediting himself and past NBA legends for the work they’ve put in to accomplish their goals during their time in the league.