When we think of baseball, names such as Mickey Mantle and Ty Cobb often come to mind. Hockey is defined by such greats as Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier are frequently mentioned. In the world of professional basketball, there is no doubt that Michael Jordan is the greater player to ever stroll onto the court. However, can we actually define what traits made this man a legend? Was it skill, motivation, personality or a synergy of all three factors? Let’s take a look what the experts have to say in order to fully appreciate why Jordan forever changed the face of this internationally popular sport.
The Trademark “Air Jordan” Dunks
In terms of “hang time”, Jordan is at or near the top of the list. His gravity-defying skills seemed to put all other players to shame. He appeared to be able to hang in the air for interminably long periods of time. Thus, the notion of “Air Jordan” came into existence during the early 1990s. This also led to a massive merchandising campaign that served to further popularize the sport as a whole. However, we need to keep in mind that Jordan brought much more to the game than a handful of flashy dunks.
An Aggressive Playing Style
One of the aspects of Jordan which some fans may overlook involves his hands-on playing
strategy. His offensive dominance was virtually unrivaled and as a result, Jordan was often the spearhead of the Bulls when pushed to the brink. This also served to intimidate opponents. Not only were they well aware of his shooting skills, but they knew that standing toe to toe with the man was a dangerous prospect. This is also the reason why Jordan still maintains the all-time record for the highest scoring average.
A Sharp Intellect
Basketball is a game of finesse and strategy. Jordan possessed both in absolutely staggering quantities. He appreciated the finer aspects of the sport and he also knew that success was the ultimate result of a team effort as opposed to individualism. These are some of the reasons why online sports enthusiasts would tend to favor the Bulls during fast-paced competitions with close rivals. Michael Jordan seemed to be able to use this instinct in order to capitalize upon even the smallest flaws of his competitors. Not only did this approach prove to be advantageous when the going got tough, but it also helped to create a cohesive team.
The Ambassador of Basketball
The actions of Jordan away from the court are just as important to mention. Not only did this man become an international celebrity during the latter half of the 1990s, but he used this very same exposure to introduce basketball to an entirely new generation of fans. He also served to inspire some modern personalities such as Kobe Bryant, Lebron James and Kevin Garnett.
Thus, modern basketball is indeed in debt to Michael Jordan. While he is no longer on the court, there is no doubt that his influence continues to permeate the entire sport.