The Legacy of Tim Duncan

In a sport filled with machismo and flash, it’s easy to see how Tim Duncan

Silent but Deadly

Silent but Deadly

fades into the background among the high profiled NBA stars. With so much attention focused on players such as Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin, Kevin Durant, and Lebron James, it’s hard to believe that Duncan’s aren’t more celebrated. Everyone talks about James’ quest to win multiple championships and how Kobe Bryan has won his five titles in Los Angeles. With all of the debate about which NBA star needs to cement his legacy but winning an elusive championship ring what the experts and sports fans should be debating is how great Tim Duncan’s legacy is compared to the all-time greats.

When you ask NBA fans to describe the 6’11 power forward and center the reaction is usually a long paused as a sound of “uuummm” protrudes from their lips as they struggle to find the words. Now if you ask most NBA fans if they would consider him an all-time great they would probably say that is blasphemy. Sure Duncan’s a good player, but one of the greatest of all-time? No way?

Consider this. After the Spurs defeated the Miami Heat in 5 games to win the NBA title, Duncan has won five championships. Yes, the same amount as Kobe Bryant and three more than King James. Oh, by the way, two of those title wins were over Lebron James. With a list of accolades such as MVPs, All Star appearances, and countless NBA awards that is longer than a list of all the age jokes about the Spurs, there is no question that Duncan is a surefire Hall of Famer.

Sure, Duncan might not be the flashiest players in the NBA, but he gets the job done. He’s like a Buick while other NBA stars are italian sports cars. Sure he might not be the fastest or prettiest car, but he won’t break down on you and will be there when you really need him.

Even at the age of 38, Duncan may have the opportunity to win another title. Sure he’s not the player he used to be, but being the selfless player that he is and accepting less minutes, the Spurs are still an elite team. A team without stars, but players who all accept their role and do what is best for the team. Add in Gregg Popovich, a hall of gamer in his own right, and the Spurs could win another title or two over the next two seasons. With their well-rounded roster and playoff experience, this team will be dangerous in 2015.

With all the debate about whether James will catch up to Jordan’s six NBA titles, people should be focused if Duncan can surpass his Royal Airness. Wouldn’t it be ironic if the quietest and one of the least flashy NBA players in history won more titles than the electrifying Jordan? Instead of his Airness it might be time to recognize his royal Duncness.

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What Could Have Been? Michael Jordan’s Baseball Career

What would have happened to the sports world if MJ had succeeded?

What would have happened to the sports world if MJ had succeeded?

It’s been twenty years since Michael Jordan shocked the sports world by announcing his retirement from basketball in order to pursue a career in baseball. People were shocked and outraged, but most of all confused. Why would the greatest player in the NBA hang up his sneakers after winning his third championship in a row? We all know what happened next. Jordan rode the bus in the minors with the Chicago White Sox Double A affiliate Barons for one season before returning to the hard wood. After his return to the game, Jordan won three more titles and cemented his legacy as the greatest basketball player of all time. However, one can only wonder what would have happened if Jordan continued playing baseball? What impact would that have had on the sports world?

Many people look at Jordan’s baseball career as a failure but was it really? Despite lackluster stats in his first season, his manager Terry Francona has said that Jordan showed steady improvement throughout the season and raised his batting average by fifty points in the Arizona Fall League. Had there not been a baseball strike at the end of the season

Despite early struggles, had Jordan continued playing he could have maybe made it

Despite early struggles, had Jordan continued playing he could have maybe made it

there was a good chance Jordan would have continued his baseball career. While it is unlikely he would have been the star player he was in the NBA in baseball, with his world-class athleticism and work ethic Jordan could have developed into a solid major league starter. Had he made it to the show, Jordan would have been one of only a few athletes who successfully played two professional sports. His popularity could have helped baseball’s popularity because people wanted to see Jordan. While he might not have been the missing piece to a world series, Jordan’s impact on the game could have been huge in regards to the exposure and attention he would bring to a franchise. If Jordan had continued his baseball career what would have happened to his basketball legacy?

What would the NBA be today if Michael Jordan was successful at baseball? The murder of his father in 1993 played a major role in Jordan’s decision because his father always wanted Michael to be a professional baseball player. Would Jordan’s legacy be remembered as fondly as it is today?

Think about it. Without Jordan the Bulls probably don’t win three more championships, Phil Jackson doesn’t become one of the greatest coaches in league history, and Jordan doesn’t add more stats or moments to his resume. No more game winners, no flu game, not another three peat. Lebron James is viewed as a traitor would walked out of Cleveland. Can you imagine if Jordan never came back? All of those NBA fans would have viewed him as a traitor to the game. Chicago fans surely wouldn’t remember him as fondly, that’s fore sure. The Bulls and Jordan built the NBA’s future in the 90s by making the sport more popular and making basketball one of the most popular sports in the world. Would the NBA be what it is today if Michael Jordan never came back?

Thankfully Jordan would return to NBA and cement the sport’s popularity. But it is hard to fathom a world without Jordan holding a basketball. We will never truly know the ramifications if Jordan had continued to play baseball. The repercussions across the sports world have dramatically changed the landscape of professional sports in America had Jordan been successful in his baseball career. Who knows? For all we know Jordan could have built up baseball or maybe decided to play both at the same time. Either way, its hard to imagine a world where Michael Jordan played baseball. All we can do now is ask ourselves what could have been if Air Jordan became Jordan in the outfield instead.

 

Why Michael Jordan’s legacy is already greater than Lebron James

Throughout these NBA Finals I’ve been getting sick of the constant Lebron James and Michael Jordan debates about who will have the better legacy. While Lebron still has many more chapters to write for his legacy, the Jordan legacy is one of if not the greatest athletic legacy of all time. While these analysts will throw out statistics and try to analytically compare these two icons, Jordan’s legacy goes beyond the basketball court. While this debate will probably never end here are five reasons why Michael Jordan’s legacy is greater than Lebron James will be.

5) College glory

Unlike Lebron, Jordan has a National Championship on his legacy

Unlike Lebron, Jordan has a National Championship on his legacy

This one is a quick and one-sided debate. Since Lebron James never attended college he never had the chance to leave a legacy on college basketball. However, Jordan did. As a freshman, he made the winning shot against Georgetown to win the National Championship in 1982. With Jordan, the Tar Heels helped to build one of the best programs in college basketball which continues today. While Lebron supporters will say that it is more impressive to go from high school to the NBA, Jordan had one of the greatest college basketball careers and has added bonus points to his resume. Only a handful of players have made such an impact in both the NCAA and the NBA, and Jordan is one of them.

4) Hometown Hero

"The Decision" will always be a negative aspect of James' career

“The Decision” will always be a negative aspect of James’ career

Why is Lebron James hated so much? Well when you embarrass your hometown on national television people will tend to think you’re a jerk.  “The Decision”  which aired on June 8, 2o10 on ESPN is one decision that Lebron James wishes he could change. Not necessarily joining the Heat, but how he handled the whole situation. Instead of just having it announced like any other athlete, he decided to torture the Cleveland faithful even more by giving them just a glimmer of hope that he’d return only to take it away in an instant. Also it doesn’t help when you say that you made the decision that morning. Doesn’t look like you put that much effort into it. Personally I don’t think that going to the Heat instead of playing Cleveland should hurt Lebron’s legacy. However, Jordan did stay with one team and did win for the hometown team instead of leaving. For me though I think just how he handled the decision and turn it into a publicity stunt will hurt his legacy more in the long-run then actually leaving Cleveland.

3) Jordan’s impressive 6-0

Jordan's perfect tile record is one thing James will never be able to accomplish

Jordan’s perfect tile record is one thing James will never be able to accomplish

If Michael Jordan was a movie he’d be known as The Lord of the Rings. While he may not have the most rings, there is no question that his perfect NBA title record is unmatched. While you could possibly beat Jordan any other time of the year, when the lights where brightest and it was the final minute of the season, you had no chance. Jordan was clutch, and being able to go to six championships and win six rings in an amazing accomplishment. Heck if Jordan didn’t take off to play baseball he could have probably added another ring or two to his trophy case. Unfortunately for James, his 1 for 3 NBA finals record makes this is an easy win for Jordan. Even if James can pull out a title this season he’ll only would have won 50% of his NBA title shots. Sorry Lebron, Jordan’s got you beat here.

2) His Royal Airness

Jordan is just as big of a winner off the court as on the court.

Jordan is just as big of a winner off the court as on the court.

Jordans. Just saying that jars up the jump man image on the side of a sweet pair of sneakers. The “Air Jordan” brand has become a world-wide icon and cements Micheal Jordan as the most marketable athlete in history. James doesn’t have his own brand and will probably never come close to establishing a brand like Jordan has. Beyond the Jordan brand, while James will probably make more money off of endorsements then Jordan, his airness did create the market for modern-day stars. Jordan was a trailblazer for sports marketing and has allowed for athletes to get the endorsements they do to this day. Jordan’s impact is incredible when you realize how he’s become integrated into modern-day culture. Even today he is still a marketing juggernaut even after stepping off the hardwood more than a decade ago. Think about it Jordans, McDonald’s, Hanes, Gatorade, Coca Cola, Ball Park Franks, Wheaties and Chevrolet. Chances are you still have a favorite MJ commercial you remember and that you’ve seen all of his commercials from these brands. As for James, his only commercials are with Nike and his most memorable one is when he had this pity party commercial because people now looked at him as the villain. Sorry James MJ wins with impact, volume, variety, and doesn’t whine when it comes to his commercials. Also the man played with Bug Bunny in Space Jam! Seriously every kid I know has seen that movie. Have you played basketball with a world-famous cartoon character? Nope didn’t think so Lebron.  Click here for a trip down memory lane.

1 ) Coming through in the clutch

Now one was a better closer then 23

Now one was a better closer then 23

Game 7, clock about to expire, your team needs a basket who do you give the ball to? I’m betting that if you could choose any player to take the winning shot, it would be Jordan. This basket at the end of the 99 Finals is one of those moments when Jordan came through in the clutch. In the face of adversity Jordan always seemed to come up big. Whether it was game winning shots, dunks, or being able to overcome the flu (click here), Jordan’s career was filled with coming through in the biggest moments. James, on the other hand, has come up short in big spots. Sure he had the game winner against the Pacers this year, but other than the game winner in Cleveland a few years ago what has he done? Not only has Jordan created more clutch moments but, but he’s done it on the biggest stage in the finals. Has Lebron made any memorable plays in the finals? Jordan has, heck you could have a highlight show of all his memorable moments in the finals. In the end there is no question that when you want a game winning basket, you’re giving the rock to Jordan.

While I still find it difficult to pick between these two players, they’re both very different players in very different eras, in the end of the Jordan versus James debate it is clear that Jordan is the clear winner. Sure Lebron could break his scoring records and even title wins, but at the end of the day no player had a greater impact on the game of basketball then Michael Jordan. While statistically both these men are very close, and you could argue Lebron is superior, when you combine all of the other factors MJ is the clear victor. No athlete has had such an impact both on and off the court as Jordan has. While Lebron may truly end up being the king, there is no question that Jordan will always be the greatest.