In a video containing deleted footage from the televised version of The Last Dance, Michael Jordan expresses his thoughts on his successor.
The ESPN+ version of The Last Dance was curated in order to make it friendly to television audiences. In doing so, many juicy interviews of the man were cut from the final edit. With the release of the Blu-Ray box set, the juicier bits are starting to make waves on NBA set.
The interview in question is with Stuart Scott. The consensus GOAT at the time (June 1998), Jordan appeared on Scott’s Sunday Conversation. This was around the time the Bulls completed their second three-peat after defeating the Utah Jazz in six games for the second straight Finals.
Michael Jordan’s nuanced, excellent take on the next MJ
Jordan, who was already thinking about a second retirement at that time, was asked about the next generation of talent. In particular, His Airness was pressed to reveal who he thinks would be the next MJ.
“It’s not fair, you know, but it’s a standard of measurement. When I came in, (it was) Dr. J. It’s just a standard of measurement to compare to. But there’s never going to be another Michael Jordan. There’s never going to be another Dr. J, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird.”
“Now, there’s gonna be a Kobe Bryant, there’s gonna be a Grant Hill, Anfernee Hardaway. These guys are going to have similar traits, it’s how they manifest those traits to be the best basketball player.”
Michael Jordan after going down 0-2 vs the Knicks in the 1993 ECF
Bulls went 8-2 in route to the title … pic.twitter.com/yofYp6bpuC
— MJs GOAT (@MjsGoat) November 10, 2020
Why Jordan’s words make this much sense
Jordan’s words turned out to be prophetic as Kobe emulated Jordan’s legacy in his own way. Then came along LeBron James to set the GOAT debate running again. According to Jordan, the accolades will speak for themselves at the end of the day.
“No matter what the league does, in terms of trying to promote, you can’t fool the consumer, you can’t fool the fans. So I mean, the game is going to say, he’s the next, whoever. Your game is going to have to evolve to that label the league is trying to promote you with. It’s a danger to that because the credibility of the game could take a hit.”
Jordan remains the consensus GOAT to this day for this very reason.