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View Full Version : Who was MJ's chief rival?



Chronz
04-10-2014, 06:16 PM
Wilt had Russell, Magic had Bird, Shaq had Duncan, Bron has Durant, who was MJ's chief rival? A guy who could outplay him or push him to the limit. Though preferable, it doesn't have to be the same position, just someone in similar situations as a star. Is there even a right answer?

Does MJ's lack of a true identifiable rival/roadblock enhance or diminish how you look back on his career?

abe_froman
04-10-2014, 06:27 PM
kwame brown lol

...but seriously,it has to be isiah thomas,no question.they hated each other ,it was personal with them(in the history of the league there probably hasnt been two players who hated each other more than they hated each other).being right there with the pistons/bulls rivalry(how they would beat him up),being on top one after the other,thomas being a chicago kid having to see the city fawn over mj,the freeze out at the asg,mj keeping thomas off the dream team,ect.

ugottabjoshinme
04-10-2014, 06:28 PM
Reggie?

P&GRealist
04-10-2014, 06:30 PM
Clyde Drexler ?

tredigs
04-10-2014, 06:42 PM
Well, he didn't really have one. He sort of made sure of that. But his best battles were against Nique, Reggie, Zeke, Clyde, John Starks ... the Pistons and Knicks in general. But yeah, that's why it's called the Jordan era.

flea
04-10-2014, 06:46 PM
Gary Payton. Held MJ to one of his worst series in the Finals, was a guy who matched up with him more often than not, and was on the team that very nearly took down what was probably the greatest team of all time.

BenFrank
04-10-2014, 07:04 PM
Reggie Miller

Shlumpledink
04-10-2014, 07:09 PM
Clyde Drexler is the only one closest to him talentwise

Scottie Pippen probably raised his game to a new level, imagine going up against scottie pippen in practice every day, how would you fear any other defender?

I think Jordan had more battles with Dumars and then later John Starks than with anyone else.

N.Carolina King
04-10-2014, 07:26 PM
IMO Reggie miller and Karl Malone are the first names that come to mind

Kevj77
04-10-2014, 07:38 PM
Isiah Thomas? They hated each other MJ kept him off the dream team. Bad Boys actually stood in the Bulls way for a couple years in the late 80s.

rhd420
04-10-2014, 07:52 PM
Gambling

WatWoudJordanDo
04-10-2014, 08:03 PM
Early career: Isiah Thomas
Late Career: Reggie Miller

Kaner
04-10-2014, 08:05 PM
Dominique Wilkins...

He didn't have a basketball rival I guess Isiah and Dumars were in terms of attitude and competition but neither of them could hold a candle to Jordan on the court but they were the closest thing to an 'identifiable roadblock'. After he got past them the rest of the league became his punching bag.

I think it enhances his legacy though that no one could compete with him. It makes him and his career look even more unparalleled.

GunFactor187
04-10-2014, 08:12 PM
Jordan's Bulls vs. The Bad Boy Pistons were amongst the more compelling feuds in NBA history, so I'd say MJ's most notable rivals were the whole Bad Boy Era Pistons.

Hulk6
04-10-2014, 08:15 PM
Dominique Wilkins...

He didn't have a basketball rival I guess Isiah and Dumars were in terms of attitude and competition but neither of them could hold a candle to Jordan on the court but they were the closest thing to an 'identifiable roadblock'. After he got past them the rest of the league became his punching bag.

I think it enhances his legacy though that no one could compete with him. It makes him and his career look even more unparalleled.

yea if anything it makes MJ look better considering how many HOFers came out of that era

beyourself
04-10-2014, 08:25 PM
He basically didn't have one. He was hero ball that actually worked. He could go 1-on-5 and you couldn't stop him.

He was as good as his legend.

Shortys4711
04-10-2014, 08:53 PM
He basically didn't have one. He was hero ball that actually worked. He could go 1-on-5 and you couldn't stop him.

He was as good as his legend.

Great way to put it.

It was pretty much Jordan vs teams, not just one player. He was just above the competition

bagwell368
04-10-2014, 08:58 PM
There is no right answer. You can map it out year after year.

Most of the name offered were reasonable except for Karl Malone. Malone and Jordan were not in the same conference, and Malone stunk in the playoffs.

Isiah was no match for him, it was more the team. BTW, lots of people kept Isiah off the dream team starting with he himself.

IKnowHoops
04-10-2014, 10:08 PM
He had no rival. It was him and then everybody else. Drexler was the closest rival at his position. Malone may have been the closest thing to a rival he ever had though. But yeah no rival at all.

Jint.
04-10-2014, 10:28 PM
Starks, Reggie and Dumars are all good answer.. All played in the East.. but I'd say Rik Smits

Master Mind
04-10-2014, 10:36 PM
Could've been Penny :shrug:

MDD
04-10-2014, 10:46 PM
The whole New York Knicks Team!!!! :) lol

Pierzynski4Prez
04-10-2014, 10:49 PM
It was never a single player. More so full teams

Pistons In the late 80s.
Knicks in the early 90s.
Pacers after his 1st comeback

ohreally
04-10-2014, 10:49 PM
The correct answers are Isiah and Ewing. The Knicks and Bulls had a whole string of great playoff meetings and Starks may have been matched up with him it was really Jordan vs. Ewing, even more than it was Isiah vs Jordan.

And I still remember Grant karate chopping Ewing across both forearms and Jordan taking the ball from Ewing as the chop came down. No foul. Jordan went in and scored and was fouled. Knicks (Ewing) were going to win that game, a game 5 in Chicago, and would have won the series.

Damn, you couldn't get within five feet of MJ without a foul being called.

Bruno
04-10-2014, 11:15 PM
Wilt had Russell, Magic had Bird, Shaq had Duncan, Bron has Durant, who was MJ's chief rival? A guy who could outplay him or push him to the limit. Though preferable, it doesn't have to be the same position, just someone in similar situations as a star. Is there even a right answer?

Does MJ's lack of a true identifiable rival/roadblock enhance or diminish how you look back on his career?

magics legacy?

AntiG
04-10-2014, 11:22 PM
baseball

Shlumpledink
04-10-2014, 11:38 PM
The correct answers are Isiah and Ewing. The Knicks and Bulls had a whole string of great playoff meetings and Starks may have been matched up with him it was really Jordan vs. Ewing, even more than it was Isiah vs Jordan.

And I still remember Grant karate chopping Ewing across both forearms and Jordan taking the ball from Ewing as the chop came down. No foul. Jordan went in and scored and was fouled. Knicks (Ewing) were going to win that game, a game 5 in Chicago, and would have won the series.

Damn, you couldn't get within five feet of MJ without a foul being called.

I think of guys that actually guarded Jordan, and guys Jordan guarded. Jordan wasn't guarding isiah, and isiah wasn't guarding Jordan. Jordan was going at dumars, and dumars was going at jordan.

Starks and Jordan were going at each other, and Starks got the better of Jordan a few times, people forget that.

Drexler was a player that was like Jordan in terms of athletic ability, and similar height and length, they played the same position. Jordan was the most athletic, with Drexler being just behind him, next behind them would have to be Scottie Pippen, Scottie was as ahead of his time as Jordan was.

Hawkeye15
04-10-2014, 11:56 PM
he didn't have one. Every single player they tried to sell to us as being his rival, he destroyed.

Sure it helped MJ that he didn't play against another dominant SG, year in, year out. I was hoping Ron Harper, or Reggie Miller pushed him, but one got hurt, the other turned out one dimensional.

JeremiahWing
04-11-2014, 12:19 AM
Didn't have one. In a golden era of basketball talent, there was just no rival to MJ. Rather, he vanquished one star after another, year-after-year: Magic, Clyde, Barkley, Payton, Malone/Stockton, and those were just the Finals matchups.

JeremiahWing
04-11-2014, 12:21 AM
Gonna be a bit of homer and say John Starks gave him fits :)

NBA_Starter
04-11-2014, 01:21 AM
It has to be Bird.

Bruno
04-11-2014, 02:04 AM
Wilt had Russell, Magic had Bird, Shaq had Duncan, Bron has Durant, who was MJ's chief rival? A guy who could outplay him or push him to the limit. Though preferable, it doesn't have to be the same position, just someone in similar situations as a star. Is there even a right answer?

Does MJ's lack of a true identifiable rival/roadblock enhance or diminish how you look back on his career?i'v always thought this but have kept it to myself for the most part. but at the end of the day its not his fault he dominated in an era where no true legitimate dynasty level juggernauts were created by savy GMs or through player collusion. lets just say he was fortunate to peak after the collapse of the 80's giants and retire before the rise of the early 2000's Lakers/Spurs.

hidalgo
04-11-2014, 07:46 AM
early career. Bird, Isiah Thomas, Magic Johnson(he guarded Magic in the 1991 finals 85% of the time, biggest marquee matchup in a finals ever), Drexler, Dominique, charles barkley

later career. Shaquille, Olajuwon, Reggie Miller, karl mailbags, etc

great competition, but really no one could touch MJ, he was just that good

hidalgo
04-11-2014, 08:15 AM
yea if anything it makes MJ look better considering how many HOFers came out of that era
i agree. he was unreal. i wish he could play now in his prime & show these guys now the difference between them & him. he'd make it clear too

Chronz
04-11-2014, 10:01 AM
i'v always thought this but have kept it to myself for the most part. but at the end of the day its not his fault he dominated in an era where no true legitimate dynasty level juggernauts were created by savy GMs or through player collusion. lets just say he was fortunate to peak after the collapse of the 80's giants and retire before the rise of the early 2000's Lakers/Spurs.
Agreed, except collusion is a word for the misinformed, unless its also colluding to prevent your own GM from trading your best sidekick, the way MJ did for Pippen.

D-Leethal
04-11-2014, 10:17 AM
The Bad Boy Piston defense followed by the Rugby Knick defense.

beyourself
04-11-2014, 10:32 AM
i'v always thought this but have kept it to myself for the most part. but at the end of the day its not his fault he dominated in an era where no true legitimate dynasty level juggernauts were created by savy GMs or through player collusion. lets just say he was fortunate to peak after the collapse of the 80's giants and retire before the rise of the early 2000's Lakers/Spurs.

It seems that way because nobody, but the Bulls were winning titles when Jordan was there during the 90s. If some other random team had won 2-3 titles then they would have been viewed as a great team.

Titles can have a blinding effect. If Fisher doesn't make that shot, if Manu doesn't take that foul then all of a sudden the Spurs probably have 5 consecutive titles and they go down as a top 3 dynasty and Duncan probably a top 4 player ever. If Allen misses that shot the Spurs then add a 6th title after many years of coming up short and the Heat lose the Finals for 2 out 3 seasons. What to think then?

So if some other team had actually managed to beat Jordan's Bulls then that era would have looked stronger. The way I look at it is, it's not Jordan's fault that he was the GOAT with a steadily improving supporting cast. They just couldn't be beaten and so they make everybody else look worse than they were.

beyourself
04-11-2014, 10:33 AM
The Bad Boy Piston defense followed by the Rugby Knick defense.

You know why this might be the best answer? It's because they were beating Jordan's teams.

Jordan made the league look weak in the 90s because he was just better and wasn't losing.

eugene
04-11-2014, 10:53 AM
Karl Malone

Pierzynski4Prez
04-11-2014, 10:54 AM
Hawkeye said it best. No person was his true rival, if they were, MJ would've just gone out of his way to embarrass that person. Great defenses like the Pistons and Knicks were MJ's true rival.

Hawkeye15
04-11-2014, 10:55 AM
Gonna be a bit of homer and say John Starks gave him fits :)

how did that turn out for John?

Hawkeye15
04-11-2014, 10:58 AM
You know why this might be the best answer? It's because they were beating Jordan's teams.

Jordan made the league look weak in the 90s because he was just better and wasn't losing.

to be fair, Pippen/Horace were in their young 20's, and had not come into their own yet. The Bulls simply weren't ready to take that next step against the veteran Pistons those 2 years. Come 1991, it was over for everyone else.

waveycrockett
04-11-2014, 11:20 AM
1)Karl Malone
2)Reggie Miller
3)Clyde Drexler

waveycrockett
04-11-2014, 11:22 AM
to be fair, Pippen/Horace were in their young 20's, and had not come into their own yet. The Bulls simply weren't ready to take that next step against the veteran Pistons those 2 years. Come 1991, it was over for everyone else.
I think its going to be the same story for OKC vs the rest of the NBA moving forward.

D-Leethal
04-11-2014, 11:26 AM
1)karl malone
2)reggie miller
3)clyde drexler

lol wut?

waveycrockett
04-11-2014, 11:40 AM
lol wut?

Whats lol about that list

edit- I would actually put Hakeem at #2 forgot about him

D-Leethal
04-11-2014, 11:46 AM
Whats lol about that list

edit- I would actually put Hakeem at #2 forgot about him

Two guys from the West, 1 who played against him in one playoff series, another who played a completely different position on the court and than Reggie Miller who didn't have any epic showdowns with MJ until he was basically a Wizard?

Hawkeye15
04-11-2014, 11:48 AM
I think its going to be the same story for OKC vs the rest of the NBA moving forward.

we shall see

waveycrockett
04-11-2014, 11:49 AM
Two guys from the West, 1 who played against him in one playoff series, another who played a completely different position on the court and than Reggie Miller who didn't have any epic showdowns with MJ until he was basically a Wizard?

You do realize the OP started off comparing Durant to LeBron right? West vs East clearly has nothing to do with it. Malone was the reigning MVP in 97 and came closest to toppling MJ's dynasty and MJ always owned Reggie but if you were alive in those era Pacers were always considered the best matchup to Bulls in the East with Reggie leading the way.

Hawkeye15
04-11-2014, 11:51 AM
You do realize the OP started off comparing Durant to LeBron right? West vs East clearly has nothing to do with it. Malone was the reigning MVP in 97 and came closest to toppling MJ's dynasty and MJ always owned Reggie but if you were alive in those era Pacers were always considered the best matchup to Bulls in the East with Reggie leading the way.

but a rival is someone who you win against, and lose against. MJ had no rival once he started winning, and had no rival previous to winning. Any single individual who was thought to be his rival, by 91', he destroyed.

D-Leethal
04-11-2014, 11:51 AM
MJ didn't really have any rival counterparts where you saw epic 40 point duels from both sides, I would say if were going the individual player route, it would have to be the guys who defended him in the biggest and toughest playoff series he went through (multiple) during his prime. Guys like Dumars, McDaniel, Starks.

D-Leethal
04-11-2014, 11:52 AM
From what I remember, the Glove made his life a living hell in '96 too but my memory might be off a bit there. I can't consider someone from the West your biggest rival unless you meet in the Finals twice or more (and actually play the counterpart position unlike Malone).

Chrisclover
04-11-2014, 11:56 AM
None.

flea
04-11-2014, 11:58 AM
The Bad Boys were a good rival early in his career, but saying they're MJ's main rival is like saying Boston's Big 3 is Lebron's main rival. Not really, he just had to get past them in order to start his legacy as a great. Durant is not in the same conference as Lebron, which unfortunately reduces the likelihood we'll see a playoff series featuring both again but it doesn't make their rivalry any lesser IMO.

D-Leethal
04-11-2014, 12:00 PM
You do realize the OP started off comparing Durant to LeBron right? West vs East clearly has nothing to do with it. Malone was the reigning MVP in 97 and came closest to toppling MJ's dynasty and MJ always owned Reggie but if you were alive in those era Pacers were always considered the best matchup to Bulls in the East with Reggie leading the way.

I didn't read the OP, but thats kind of stupid. Rivals need to go head to head, not just be the two best players in the league. I don't necessarily think both sides NEED to win (although it helps), I just think it needs to be feisty, their needs to be a level of hate (as well as mutual respect), there needs to be some blood and heartbreak. Knicks were always the toughest matchup for the Bulls, Phil Jackson himself has said that, they were the only team to take MJ in his prime to 7 games and the only team to have a 3-2 lead up on them. Not to mention the frequency at which they met up in the playoffs pretty much every single year, the fights, the hype and timeless historical moments that occurred when those two teams met up.

Knicks always whooped on Reggie outside of 1 or 2 years so why would the Pacers be deemed the toughest opponent when they rarely even made it far enough to challenge the Bulls during the bulk of the 6 title years? '98 Pacers were tough but that was when MJ was a 15 year vet on the tailend of his career. '92 Knicks was the toughest series he ever faced in his prime.

waveycrockett
04-11-2014, 12:01 PM
but a rival is someone who you win against, and lose against. MJ had no rival once he started winning, and had no rival previous to winning. Any single individual who was thought to be his rival, by 91', he destroyed.
MJ had no rival at his position but Hakeem and Malone were always debated as being guys who could challenge the bulls and MJ as the best player in the game. I remember there was a ton of debate after the Rockets mini-dynasty that Hakeem was a superior player to MJ. I remember the Rockets beat the Bulls by like 50 the year MJ returned in a regular season game on national TV and it sparked a huge debate then too.

Hawkeye15
04-11-2014, 12:08 PM
MJ had no rival at his position but Hakeem and Malone were always debated as being guys who could challenge the bulls and MJ as the best player in the game. I remember there was a ton of debate after the Rockets mini-dynasty that Hakeem was a superior player to MJ. I remember the Rockets beat the Bulls by like 50 the year MJ returned in a regular season game on national TV and it sparked a huge debate then too.

we will never know though. I will say, it would have been awesome had MJ not been kicked out for a season, to see if the Grant loss to Orlando would have taken out a full season Bulls squad. As is, Jordan didn't have any rivals. The OP started this thread to basically ask, does that fact diminish what we think of Jordan?

Hawkeye15
04-11-2014, 12:09 PM
From what I remember, the Glove made his life a living hell in '96 too but my memory might be off a bit there. I can't consider someone from the West your biggest rival unless you meet in the Finals twice or more (and actually play the counterpart position unlike Malone).

Payton did as good of a job as you can, but that series should have been over quicker. Kemp and Detlef played very well against Rodman/Pippen, better than expected.

slashsnake
04-11-2014, 12:14 PM
to be fair, Pippen/Horace were in their young 20's, and had not come into their own yet. The Bulls simply weren't ready to take that next step against the veteran Pistons those 2 years. Come 1991, it was over for everyone else.

Good point. The team had to rely on Jordan and Detroit knew that, and were able to play him differently and while they didn't truly shut him down, the did make him much more ineffective than other teams could. Great coaching and great defensive play there.

For Jordans rival that was tough. He beat on the East for the defining portion of his career, so guys like Reggie Miller and Starks don't get on the same level. Against the West, it was one series win over a star (outside of Stockton/Malone), so that is tough to call, especially when those guys didn't win over him.

Not having that rival doesn't detract from him I would say.

JordansBulls
04-11-2014, 12:22 PM
Only guy possible would be Hakeem. He was the only one to win during the era besides MJ. They just never met in the finals.

effen5
04-11-2014, 04:15 PM
The correct answer is Craig ehlo

abe_froman
04-11-2014, 04:18 PM
byron russell

Randy West
04-11-2014, 04:22 PM
Jordan said in an interview his toughest cover was Mitch Richmond. I am sure if someone asked Mitch that same question he would probably answer Jordan was his toughest as well.

nickdymez
04-11-2014, 04:22 PM
Chief Jay Strongbow

todu82
04-11-2014, 05:59 PM
Karl Malone

smith&wesson
04-11-2014, 06:17 PM
has to be the guys who he denied rings to year after year in the playoffs.

Stockton/Malone
Charles Barlkley
Hakeem Olajuwan

those names stand out to me most. Maybe Reggie

slashsnake
04-11-2014, 07:00 PM
has to be the guys who he denied rings to year after year in the playoffs.

Stockton/Malone
Charles Barlkley
Hakeem Olajuwan

those names stand out to me most. Maybe Reggie

You can pull Hakeem off that list.

smith&wesson
04-11-2014, 07:14 PM
You can pull Hakeem off that list.

why ? hakeem didnt win anything until MJ left the league for a couple years to play baseball.

abe_froman
04-11-2014, 07:16 PM
why ? hakeem didnt win anything until MJ left the league for a couple years to play baseball.

because a defining characteristic of a rivalry is to play each other with something on the line,usually multiple times.they never played each other other than meaningless regular season games.....and i might take barkley off to,because another characteristic of a rivalry is some types of grudge between each other,and he and mj are close friends

Auseranami
04-11-2014, 07:33 PM
Mj was his own biggest rival. Once he was on top, he was the only player that could knock him off. He made himself walk away from the game twice just to come right back. I don't think there was one player who REALLY pushed him to elevate his game.

dalton749
04-11-2014, 07:40 PM
reggie lewis somewhat?

RandomGaminCrew
04-12-2014, 06:07 PM
Lebron James

Tony_Starks
04-12-2014, 06:44 PM
Nobody really. Magic, Bird, and to a lesser extent Zeek were already on the way down during his prime run. Plus he missed out on having to face Hakeem's Rockets.

I think the Knicks probably gave him the best run for his money.

D-Leethal
04-12-2014, 07:01 PM
Nobody really. Magic, Bird, and to a lesser extent Zeek were already on the way down during his prime run. Plus he missed out on having to face Hakeem's Rockets.

I think the Knicks probably gave him the best run for his money.

If were talking post 1990, when his 6 year title run commenced, Knicks are the only right answer here. They gave him the best run for his money, the two teams despised each other, there were fights and **** talking all over the place, Knicks would give him an *** beating, and a ton of legacy moments and timeless framegrabs occurred during those Knick-Bulls games. Christmas Day Miracle, Double Nickel, Starks dunk on MJ, MJ dunk and staredown on Ewing, MJ and co. series saving block/Charles Smith debacle, fights with Starks, fights with McDaniel. Not to mention the ONLY team that took prime MJ to 7 games (where MJ drops 42 in game 7 in a rout).

Nobody beat MJ, so the "Rival criteria" can't really include anyone who beat him unless were talking pre-90 youngin' MJ and than the Pistons are the easy answer.

TheMightyHumph
04-12-2014, 09:17 PM
Wilt had Russell, Magic had Bird, Shaq had Duncan, Bron has Durant, who was MJ's chief rival? A guy who could outplay him or push him to the limit. Though preferable, it doesn't have to be the same position, just someone in similar situations as a star. Is there even a right answer?

Does MJ's lack of a true identifiable rival/roadblock enhance or diminish how you look back on his career?

Best I can think of is Pippen.

Of course, having no one comparable as a player for over a decade would enhance MJ's greatness.

Sly Guy
04-12-2014, 10:30 PM
IMO Reggie miller and Karl Malone are the first names that come to mind

I second the Karl Malone.....MJ denied the Jazz a ring for many years, Malone was right there in scoring and rebounding with him.

Kaner
04-12-2014, 11:30 PM
I second the Karl Malone.....MJ denied the Jazz a ring for many years, Malone was right there in scoring and rebounding with him.

Malone sucked the 2 times they met in the post season and just generally choked in the playoffs.

Kaner
04-12-2014, 11:44 PM
I think if you ask Jordan theirs only 3 answers he could give

1.) Isiah's Pistons- They were the only roadblock he ever had to overcome afterwards it was relative smooth sailing and success. He hated them but he had to of respected them.

2.) Ewings Knicks- Only team that consistently gave him trouble after Detroit and most of his hardest fought series were against them.

3.) Nobody- he's arrogant and doesn't look at any of these teams or players as equals which is in alot of ways a prerequisite for a rival.

I don't think their could be one player that was his rival since by considering yourself the undisputed GOAT you can't look at other players as your equals which is why I think only a team could be the answer.

JasonJohnHorn
04-12-2014, 11:51 PM
It had to be the Pistons/Thomas.

Bird and Magic were different positions, at least MJ and Zeke were both in the back court.

I'd say Jordan/Thomas, the Jordan/Magic for MJ's first ring, then Jordan/Drexler.


But for the Bulls it was more of a team rivalry with the Pistons... those squads HATED each other. They'd be an ejection EVERY time the played each other. It was intense! And if you were a fan of either team, you made a point to watch those games, even in the regular season after Detroit had dropped off. Even when MJ was retired....

the second three-peat was Utah/Chi, but there was more respect there, not hatred.

In terms of his position, Drexler was the best, but they played in different conferences. Magic/Bird and Russell/Wilt did to for some years, but they met up in the finals a lot.

DODGERS&LAKERS
04-13-2014, 01:55 PM
It seems that way because nobody, but the Bulls were winning titles when Jordan was there during the 90s. If some other random team had won 2-3 titles then they would have been viewed as a great team.

Titles can have a blinding effect. If Fisher doesn't make that shot, if Manu doesn't take that foul then all of a sudden the Spurs probably have 5 consecutive titles and they go down as a top 3 dynasty and Duncan probably a top 4 player ever. If Allen misses that shot the Spurs then add a 6th title after many years of coming up short and the Heat lose the Finals for 2 out 3 seasons. What to think then?

So if some other team had actually managed to beat Jordan's Bulls then that era would have looked stronger. The way I look at it is, it's not Jordan's fault that he was the GOAT with a steadily improving supporting cast. They just couldn't be beaten and so they make everybody else look worse than they were.

The only other team that could at least be considered to be on the Bulls level would be the Jazz since they got to the finals twice. That at least shows they were kind of consistent. If the Lakers, Blazers, Suns, Sonics were great teams they would have made it to the finals more than once that decade.

In the East, the Bulls constantly beat the Knicks. Everyone remembers the Knicks as a great team during the 90's but Im not sure how much of that is the hype machine that is NY. I mean, they somehow turned a below average player into some type of house hold name in John Starks. He was regarded as Ewing's sidekick during the 90's with numbers like this http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/s/starkjo01.html

The years that the Bulls beat the Knicks they were...

90-91- 39-43
91-92- 51-31
92-93- 60-22
95-96- 47-35

By the records you can see that the Knicks were only a very good team one year. But still, Ewing was by himself. Everyone knows that you need at least a one two punch. The Knicks had a strong jab but no counter. If they were a truly great team, they would have won a finals when MJ was gone. Instead they got beat by a team that many consider to have been a one man army in Hakeem. Back in the 90's, you would be considered stacked if you had two all stars on one team. The Knicks did not, neither did the Rockets and they were able to win two rings.

Here are the records of the teams the Bulls beat for their rings.

90-91
Knicks-39-43
Sixers- 44-38
Pistons- 50-32
Lakers- 57-25

For that season they essentially played well below average to mediocre competition to get to the finals. Then played Magic with a hobbled sidekick in Worthy. That was essentially the Lakers last good season after a decade of dominance.

91-92
Heat- 38-44
Knicks- 51-31
Cavs- 57-25
Blazers- 57-25

The good teams they beat this year were the Cavs and Blazers. That Cavs teams best player was Brad Daugherty. Second best player was 32 year old Larry Nance.

92-93
Hawks 43-39
Cavs- 54-28
Knicks- 60-22
Suns- 62-20

For the season above they beat the Cavs lead by Brad Daugherty, the Knicks with Ewing and no one else, and the Suns with Barkley and Cedric Ceballos as the next most productive player. Jordan was obviously better than any of those guys but to top it off Pippen be pissin on those guys sidekicks.

The first time Jordan's Bulls face a team with at least two stars was when they played the Magic in 94-95. The Bulls lost that series but people will say that Jordan just came back. But if you look at his numbers, he was pretty great in that series with the exception of game one. The Bulls may have just lost because they finally played a team with comparable talent.

95-96
Heat 42-40
Knicks- 47-35
Magic- 60-22
Sonics- 64-18

This year the Bulls had two impressive series wins over the Magic and Sonics. Both those teams had two stars and good role players.

96-97
Bullets 44-38
Hawks 56-26
Heat 61-21
Jazz 64-18

With the exception of the Jazz, they played once again a team with a solid big man and no counterpart to offset the affect of Pippen.

97-98
Nets 43-39
Hornets 51-31
Pacers 58-24
Jazz 62-20

Same thing for this year. The Paces best player was Reggie Miller and no one else and the Jazz were a great team with Stockton and Malone.

Morale of the story, if Jordan truly kept any great from winning a deserved title, it would be the Jazz. The rest of the teams would not win a title in any era they would be in. And if they did, they would be considered Cinderella stories due to them being able to win with one star and a bunch of role players around them.

DODGERS&LAKERS
04-13-2014, 01:57 PM
I second the Karl Malone.....MJ denied the Jazz a ring for many years, Malone was right there in scoring and rebounding with him.

Many years or two?

DODGERS&LAKERS
04-13-2014, 02:00 PM
has to be the guys who he denied rings to year after year in the playoffs.

Stockton/Malone
Charles Barlkley
Hakeem Olajuwan

those names stand out to me most. Maybe Reggie

Maybe I am missing something but this happens far too often. Everyone always says that Jordan denied these guys rings year after year. He did twice for Stockton and Malone, once for Barkely, never for Hakeem, and once for Reggie Miller. Those guys seemed to stop themselves from winning a ring.

DetroitBadBoy
04-13-2014, 02:46 PM
Bad Boys, it was early in his career but it was definitely a heated rivalry.

SLY WILLIAMS
04-13-2014, 07:19 PM
Bad Boys, it was early in his career but it was definitely a heated rivalry.

In my opinion Jordan motivated himself at times by playing various individuals based on friendships and disagreements. His rivals changed over various years.

Going back to college he liked Patrick but admitted he loved to beat Patrick. That was a friendly rivalry.

I think he admired the way Bird played (and trash talked) so Bird was not a real "rival"

He hated the Pistons and despised Isiah.

Back to the Knicks while he liked to beat Patrick (and Oak) he seemed to hate John Starks at times.

Later on it became Reggie Miller but a lot of this was just Reggie trying to show he could hang with Jordan more than Jordan himself.

MonroeFAN
04-13-2014, 07:48 PM
Clyde Drexler is the only one closest to him talentwise

Scottie Pippen probably raised his game to a new level, imagine going up against scottie pippen in practice every day, how would you fear any other defender?

I think Jordan had more battles with Dumars and then later John Starks than with anyone else.

Isaiah Thomas?

Chronz
04-14-2014, 12:42 AM
Best I can think of is Pippen.


Back in the day, I always wanted Pippen to leave. Obviously not on MJ's level, but he could have helped neutralize him better than any other perimeter player. Him and Dream would have been sexy/unfair, just like MJ/Pippen.

Maybe Pippen+Ewing to make it fair.

BullySixChicago
04-14-2014, 12:02 PM
Isiah Thomas man please he could not guard Jordan nor was he ever near Jordon on the floor unless he was coming up from the back of MJ. Sure their was some truly dislike for each other but as someone who could be MJ rival please no way not ever.

So what if Isiah is from Chicago does that make a difference the dislike of Thomas for MJ was because MJ was headed to the top of the NBA is every aspect of the game. Endorsements, shoe sales filling stadiums, and finally NBA titles. The city of Chicago fawning over MJ like any other city who could have had MJ would not have fawned over him please all 30 teams would loved to have had such a player. Thomas suffered the worst when his dislike and attempts to hurt MJ when he could not make the USA team MJ stated that he plays I don't.

Their was no player that challenged MJ in his career.

BullySixChicago
04-14-2014, 12:04 PM
Lol you cant be serious

ztilzer31
04-14-2014, 12:47 PM
Gary Payton. Only guy that could guard Jordan.