Michael Jordan is widely regarded as the best player in NBA history, but Celtics legend Robert Parish doesn’t believe that notion is true.
Jordan and Parish crossed paths many times over their careers as they both played in the same era of basketball. The Celtics once defeated a very young Jordan in the playoffs early in MJ’s career, a series in which Larry Bird claimed to see God in Michael Jordan.
“Our whole thing was just do what we can do to hold Michael down, but you don’t hold the great ones down.”
— NBA (@NBA) April 20, 2020
However, Bird’s teammate Parish definitely doesn’t seem to agree with that sentiment.
Michael Jordan Isn’t The GOAT According To Robert Parish
So, why exactly does Parish think that Jordan doesn’t deserve the ‘Greatest of all time’ crown. Well, it has to do with one of the biggest factors that makes debating the best player ever so hard in the first place.
Typically, when we consider who the greatest NBA player is, two names immediately come to mind. LeBron James and Michael Jordan. However, people generally have incredible difficulty with comparing the two because of the different eras they played in.
That’s why Parish doesn’t believe that Jordan can take home the title of the GOAT since he only dominated his era. Was he great in that era? For sure. However, that doesn’t put him above anyone else as according to Parish:
“Now, don’t get me wrong now. Michael was great in his era. But the greatest of all time?”
However, Parish also took issue with something else. He doesn’t really believe that Jordan played the greatest of teams during his title run. The weak competition that Parish is referring to is another factor that holds the Celtics Hall of Famer back from crowning Jordan as he said:
“Michael didn’t beat great teams, in my opinion. Now think about this: When Larry [Bird], Kevin [McHale], 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. When he beat Phoenix, they only had one Hall of Famer”
Parish definitely has respect for Jordan but he seems to have some bias towards his teammates and the competition he faced when it comes to ranking Jordan all time.
So, who is the greatest player ever according to Parish? Well, it’s three of the most dominant centers across NBA history as in Parish’s words:
“That’s a three-headed question for me. Three guys come to mind right off the top, and they are my Mount Rushmore of centers. That’s [Wilt] Chamberlain, [Bill] Russell, and Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar].”