Chicago Bulls: Michael Jordan is ‘godfather’ to the modern NBA

Michael Jordan (Photo by Xavier Laine/Getty Images)
Michael Jordan (Photo by Xavier Laine/Getty Images) /

For nearly two decades, the Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan dominated the NBA and leaves a lasting legacy that definitely impacts the modern game.

Something that got a lot of basketball fans through the novel coronavirus pandemic-induced NBA season hiatus was the early premier of the 10-part documentary series “The Last Dance”. This hit ABC/ESPN/Netflix docuseries highlighted all-time great shooting guard Michael Jordan and the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls title-winning team. While it did focus in on notable Jordan teammates like forwards Dennis Rodman and Scottie Pippen, it was mostly about the journey and story of MJ in the NBA.

And a recent piece that in lengthy fashion detailed the journey that was depicted for MJ in The Last Dance, by ESPN Senior Writer Howard Bryant, the unique legacy of his unravels. The Last Dance did show a bit of a different side of Jordan and dove in on a lot of the flaws that the media and fans tried to dig in on during his lengthy and accomplished NBA career.

The darker side of Jordan is always a distinctive storyline of his career that draws a lot of attention. And the side of Jordan that was involved in gambling, punching a teammate in the face at practice, and alienating a few of his former NBA stars and teammates, is often remembered just as much as his greatness.

Here’s more on what that ESPN piece detailed from the darker side of Jordan.

"The film affirmed that his dominance was as we remember, while also confirming darker suspicions. To teammates, Jordan resembled Darth Vader in “The Empire Strikes Back,” killing anyone who disappointed him. To adversaries, he was Michael Corleone in “The Godfather,” unsatisfied in defeating all rivals, unsatisfied in his net worth exceeding that of Bulls and White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf — the same Reinsdorf who once, in a streak of envy toward Jordan, attempted to reduce him to a mere laborer, saying, “Unlike him, nobody signs my checks.” Unsatisfied even in total victory. Michael Jordan has more bloodlust in him, but his moment has passed, there’s no one left to kill, and time — the rival that motivated him to do the film in the first place — can never be defeated."

The comparison between MJ and Darth Vader shows just how dark some of his teammates thought of him as. But he was all about winning, and it came at any cost that it had to. That earned him some valuable teammates and some that felt better elsewhere.

The all-out capacity that Jordan went to ensure winning throughout his run with the Bulls is also what earned him the most important comparison that this ESPN piece had for him. Bryant compared Jordan also to the “godfather” of the modern game of basketball around the globe. And that comparison holds a lot of truth to it since one of the most common debates that still rages on for NBA fans is MJ compared to LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.

Here’s more on the comparison between Jordan and a sort of godfather of the game of basketball in the ESPN article.

"Like Jordan himself, Jordan protectors remain undeterred, unwilling to concede even a point. The real reason, I suspect, is that Michael Jordan stands as the godfather of the modern, global game, when all of the things came together at once. He was the most exciting aerial player with enormous style influences beyond basketball — from head (the Jordan shaved head was cool, the Slick Watts clean head an oddity) to waist to, most defining, the shoes. Jordan connected to his generation’s sense of identity far beyond the game. And while winning so much, people forgot he ever lost. He is the only A-list, Hall of Fame superstar in NBA history who was never dethroned on the court as defending champion. When the Bulls failed to defend their 1993 title, Jordan was lunging at curveballs in the minor leagues. When he was knocked out of the 1995 playoffs after his return, the Houston Rockets were defending champions."

Jordan is still widely considered the best player in NBA history. He never lost in the NBA Finals and was one of the most proficient two-way players in the history of the league. He still holds the all-time best box plus/minus rating, which tends to be a metric that favors modern players over those from the late 1900’s.

Next. 3 modern scorers that compare closest to Michael Jordan. dark

Winning at all costs is a mentality that is rare to find during any era of the NBA. Kobe had that and others throughout NBA history like Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabaar also had that mentality to win at all costs to some degree and it led to each coming away with at least five rings. Russell holds the most in league history, with 11.