Michael Jordan is considered by many observers to be the best basketball player in the history of the NBA. Pau Gasol clearly agrees with this sentiment. The Los Angeles Lakers star tweeted his thoughts on the subject while wishing Jordan a happy birthday.
Happy birthday to the one and only #MichaelJordan, to me the best player in the history and an inspiration to every athlete!
— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) February 17, 2014
Jordan celebrated his 51st birthday on Monday, and legions of fans and players paid their respects to the former Chicago Bull and six-time NBA champion. Jordan and his legacy in the NBA is always a popular topic of discussion, and comparing former and current players in regard to their greatness and value is an amusing pastime.
Recently, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James were both asked what players would be placed on their hypothetical Mount Rushmore of NBA greats. Both stars put Jordan in their top four without hesitation. However, it is almost impossible to rank great players, particularly those from different eras, as this is largely a matter of opinion and personal preference. Bryant acknowledged this difficulty in his answer:
“I would say Magic, Bird, Michael, and Russell,” Bryant said at the NBA All-Star Weekend. “That’s impossible to do four, though, man. Come on. That’s crazy. That’s tough. Absolutely tough.”
While Bryant did not mention his own place in the top four, James was more direct, suggesting he expects to be considered at this level in the future:
“I’m going to be one of the top four that’s ever played this game, for sure,” James told NBA TV. “And if they don’t want me to have one of those top four spots, they’d better find another spot on that mountain. Somebody’s gotta get bumped, but that’s not for me to decide. That’s for the architects.”
While many former players in a variety of different sports are remembered years after their playing careers end, there does seem to a special place for Jordan in the collective memories of both fans and players. The Pau Gasol message is but one example of how random players are compelled to acknowledge his contribution to the game and continued legacy of greatness. In addition to being a great basketball player, Air Jordan became a global icon and cultural landmark, and his status is still one of almost mythical proportions.
It is certainly good to be Michael Jordan. In addition to celebrating his birthday and being revered in general, Jordan and his wife Yvette welcomed identical twin daughters into the world last Sunday.
[Image Via noemidecine.com]