Gerald Wilkins, Michael Cooper, Orlando Woolridge, Xavier McDaniels, Mitch Richmond, Dennis Rodman, Joe Dumars and Gary Payton. (feel free to add more in 'comments')
Those are a few of the Michael Jordan-era NBA players that served as competition for "His Air-ness". Superb professional basketball defenders, among their other talents.
|Mitch Richmond and other elite players would be excellent in any era.|
There is a movement afoot to claim that the current league is more athletic than Jordan's day. But are today's NBA players that much more advanced than two decades ago?
Let's examine the group of 2014 men who match up with the players listed above. We're looking at a listing of NBA small forwards who can defend on some notable level (among their other talents). The best you can give me is Luol Deng, Paul George, Kevin Durant when he cares, Rudy Gay, and Kahwi Leonard. (feel free to add more in 'comments')
Kobe Bryant? He is more of the bridge from then to now. It's hard to say that he is from an era removed from MJ. Neither
|Maybe it is human nature to downplay what came before. |
Maybe Wilt dominated simply because he was that good.
And LeBron doesn't count, because in this scenario he is the "Jordan"... the acknowledged "best in the game."
Today's basketball players are above average to excellent. But not appreciably better than the 1980s and 1990s counterparts.
To say Jordan didn't play against great athletes is a myth. He did, wrote one fan.
At the end of the day the true measure of superstar basketball players is how they played on the biggest stage. The Finals and in that regard there is no question as to who was better... Jordan.