Jamal Mashburn played against Michael Jordan in the Dream Team camp of 1992. He came away convinced that this dude was Black Jesus.
Over the years, MJ has become the sort of mythical character you’d talk about only in an awed voice. This is a man who transcended the game of basketball in his brilliance at it.
There was a point, perhaps, when Mike might have been the single most famous person on the globe. He was such an icon that even barbers would name the full bald haircut as ‘the Michael Jordan’ in Africa and Uzbekistan.
We often bring up the GOAT debate these days between MJ and LeBron. And to a certain extent, it’s quite justified. LeBron has withstood the test of Father Time better than any player thus far.
But if we’re looking at peak value for a single basketball player, it’s hard to look past him. There are many players in sports history that people could dismiss as overrated. But I feel that over the passage of time, Jordan has actually become underrated.
“Michael Jordan made Hall of Famers look like high school kids”: Jamal Mashburn
Jamal Mashburn seems to be thinking on pretty much the same lines. In his recent appearance on the Knuckleheads podcast, the former All-NBA forward classified MJ as a different breed of player.
“That’s when I noticed how different Michael Jordan as a player was to all those Hall of Famers. When you watched him play, and they scrimmaged among themselves.”
“If you didn’t know anything about the game, you’d say ‘That bald, black dude? He’s the best player.’ And he made them look like they were high school players and he was in the pros, that was the gap.”
“And that’s when I realized that the second-best player was Charles Barkley. I watched him go at Karl Malone, and I was like ‘Wow!’ Karl Malone was a strong dude, but Charles Barkley was shoving him aside, dunking on him.”
“If you took Michael Jordan out of the conversation, he would be the cream of the crop. Just how physical he was, and he could do it all. Talk s***.”