Michael Jordan’s supporting cast compared to that of other GOAT candidates?
6-0 in the NBA finals
Michael Jordan played with one all-star, that was Scottie Pippen. Jordan played with one HOF level player (Pippen). The best teammates he had other than Pippen were probably Horace Grant, Dennis Rodman, BJ Armstrong, Orlando Woolridge, Charles Oakley, Toni Kukoc, and Luc Longley?
5-4 in the NBA finals
Magic won all five of his championships with Kareem, himself a GOAT candidate. In addition to GOAT candidate Kareem, Magic played with hall of famer James Worthy. In addition to that he played with numerous all-stars: Norm Nixon, Jamal Wilkes, and AC Green. He also played with Byron Scott, an all-star level player. Other teammates of Magic include Bob McAdoo (a HOFer), Vlade Divac, Sam Perkins, and Elden Campell.
3-2 in the NBA finals
Bird played with all-stars Tiny Archibald, Robert Parish, Kevin McHale, Dennis Johnson, Danny Ainge, and Reggie Lewis. Parish, McHale, and Archibald are in the hall of fame. In addition to this Bird played with players such as finals MVP Cedric Maxwell and Bill Walton (a HOFer).
11-0 in the NBA finals
Russell played with numerous all-stars: Bob Cousy, Ed Macauley, Bill Sharman, Tom Heinsohn, Sam Jones, and John Havlicek. A whopping nine of his teammates made the hall of fame!
2-4 in the NBA finals
Wilt played with all-stars Paul Arzin, Tom Gola, Tom Meschery, Guy Rodgers, Nate Thurmond, Hal Greer, Chet Walker, Jerry West, Gail Goodrich, and Elgin Baylor. Wilt played with HOFers Arzin, Gola, Thurmond, Hal Greer, Billy Cunningham, Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, Gail Goodrich.
6-4 in the NBA finals
Basically the same as Magic except for the significant luxury of playing with Oscar Robertson.
For modern context let’s look at Kobe Byrant.
Kobe played with all-stars Shaquille O’Neal, Eddie Jones, Nick Van Exel, and Pau Gasol. In addition to HOFer Shaq he played with sure fire HOFers Karl Malone and Gary Payton.
Hall of famers
Compare his supporting casts to that of the others on this list.
Let’s look at the 1996 Bulls, MJ’s best team. Its best players were:
Scottie Pippen: the best SF in the game and arguably the best perimeter defender in the league
Dennis Rodman: the league’s best rebounder, a great defender, but utterly useless on the offensive end of the court
Toni Kukoc: a guy who a year later would average 7.9 ppg in the playoffs!
Compare that to the 87′ Lakers:
Michael Cooper (DPOY that season)
It is a myth that a player can "win by himself." MJ didn’t win until Pippen became solid players. However, MJ did the most with the least imo compared to the other GOAT candidates. Do you think MJ would go 5-4 in the finals if he had Kareem?
Rodman made only two all-star games in his career and both were when he was in Detroit. That said, it can be argued that Rodman was an all-star level player in Chicago but he probably wasn’t. Think about it. There are only 12 spots on an all-star team. Roughly five would go forwards. Even if you put three PF’s on the team was Rodman a top 3 PF in the East in the late 90′s?
Grant made one all-star team–the year after MJ retired in 1993-94. Grant was a very good player but ultimately he was a role player. When he played in Orlando he was at best the third best player on the team, at worst the fifth best player. Personally I would say it went Shaq, Penny, Anderson (a former franchise player), Grant, and Scott in Orlando.
a few more things before i log off alpha
1) Kukoc was overrated. He was good but not great. In 1997 he was actually the third leading scorer for the team in the playoffs–with 7.9 ppg on 36% shooting!
2) there are varying degrees of all-stars. There are MVP level all-stars, the next tier who are not MVP types but franchise players, and borderline all-stars like Rashard Lewis
3) playing with Horace Grant, a guy who was arguably only the fifth best player on the Orlando Magic a year after leaving Chicago (Shaq and Penny clearly were better, Anderson probably was, and arguably Dennis Scott was too), is not the same as having Kareem or Cousy on your squad!
MyKill: Good points. Like I said, this isn’t a perfect measure but it is an objective one and I thought it would be food for thought.
The fact is that Longley & Harper were among his best teammates–which says something! Compare that to playing with 8 or 9 HOFers.
1994 showed how great Pippen was rather then reflecting anything on Jordan
If Magic won without Kareem in 1991 would that have hurt Kareem’s legacy?
Anyways If not for the entire Cavs’ front line, including two of their top 3 players, being out for the first round, do the Bulls even get past the first round when the Cavs went 4-1 vs. them that season?
Always amuses me when people look at one scenario and not the other.
To debunk the myth that Bill Russell only won championships because of his talented teammates . . . . .
The Celtics NEVER went to the NBA Finals before Russell even with Hall Of Famers like Coach Auerbach and players like Macauley, Cousy, Sharman, and Ramsey.
Back in the ’62 season, Russell took himself out for 4 games and the Celtics lost 4 straight games even with Red Auerbach, Cousy, Sharman, the Joneses, Ramsey and other HoF’s.
Back in ’69, Russell took himself out for 5 games because of an injury and the Celtics lost 5 straight even with HoF’s Sam Jones, Havlicek, Satch Sanders, and Bailey Howell.
The instances that i mentioned are the two worst losing streaks of the Russell-era Celtics. The latter is the worst losing streak of the Celtics since Red Auerbach took over the helm.
When Russell retired after the ’69 season, the Celtics went down from 48 wins to 34 and they MISSED the Playoffs even with HoF’s such as Havlicek, Sanders, Jo Jo White and Howell. A huge 14 game drop.
How come Pippen and the Bulls dropped only 2 games from 57 wins to 55 when the supposed "greatest" player of all time retired in ’94. Hell, if it wasnt for that controversial phantom foul called on Scottie the Bulls wouldve been on the ECF. It wouldve been a huge blow to Jordan’s prestige and importance seeing the team that he left behind reach the conference finals. And no the post-98 Bulls doesnt count since it was a virtual restructuring of the Bulls with Jordan, Pippen, Rodman and Phil Jackson all going out.