John Starks called Michael Jordan “one of the only guys in the league who had no weaknesses in his game” and, yet, called him easier to defend than Reggie Miller and Clyde Drexler.
For over 15 years Jordan gave his millions of fans a treat to watch night in and night out. His incredible passion and drive to be the best version of himself are what set him apart from his fellow competitors.
Today, almost two decades after Jordan’s retirement, he is still one of the most worldly celebrated athletes, showing the impact and influence the 58-year-old has. His insanely talented game, competitive spirit and overly-stacked resume are some of the main reasons why enthusiasts call him the GOAT.
There is virtually nothing that Mike hasn’t achieved in his prosperous career. And there was no defender on whom His Airness hadn’t dropped multiple 40-pieces on. Among many legends, John Starks was one of the stars to whom MJ dropped buckets at will.
Back in 2017, the former Knicks guard sat down with “The Players’ Tribune” and named the five toughest he ever had to defend. The 1996-97 Sixth Man of the Year named Clyde Drexler, Reggie Miller, Steve Smith, Mitch Richmond and Michael Jordan.
“Michael Jordan wanted to score a lot of points and wanted to crush your soul”: John Starks
Shockingly, the former All-Defensive player mentioned how MJ was a relatively easier player to defend than the other players on his list. John explained:
“This might sound crazy — and every time I explain it to someone, they’re shocked — but Michael was the easiest to guard on this list. I know, I know. I’m not saying I stopped him or anything. But let me explain.
Reggie moved a lot. You had to chase his a** all over the floor and get pounded into picks. The thing about Michael is that he wasn’t going to run you around a bunch of picks. He was just gonna get the ball and line you up. He was probably one of the only guys in the league who had no weaknesses in his game. You’d get the scouting report and it would basically say, “Good luck.” The only weakness I observed was that he wasn’t a great three-point shooter. He could make them when he needed, though, and over the years he got even better at it.
I’m not exaggerating that much when I say that MJ could jump out the gym. And he had those big hands that could palm the ball. He could create space for himself. He was special in that way. When Mike was out there, he was trying to kill your spirit. He took everything personally and when he stepped out on the court he felt that he had something to prove every single time. That was just him, whether it was me or whoever else guarding him. His mentality wasn’t just to score a lot of points. He wanted to crush your soul.
As a player you fear that mentality, but you appreciate it because you’ve got a little bit of that in you, too, knowing that you’re going against the best night in and night out. After guarding Jordan, I can say that I played against the greatest. Even if I failed a lot of the time, I can live with that.”