The NBA's love affair with Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan is easily the greatest shooting guard to ever play in the NBA.  No one has been able to match both Jordan's point production and strong defensive skills from the shooting guard spot.  On top of that Jordan is a spectacular player who is very entertaining.  NBA Commissioner & Marketing Genius David Stern has bent over backwards to promote his current superstars & sell his product.  Jordan is easily David Stern's biggest prodigy.  The NBA is now in the entertainment business more than being a pure competitive sport.

    Modern NBA officiating has become a joke.  Big market superstars are given special treatment, they are allowed to travel and get away with fouls that the average player gets whistled for.  Michael Jordan has been the most prominent beneficiary of this special treatment.  Many sports writers insist that Jordan pushed off of Bryon Russel to get room for his last shot against the Utah Jazz in the 1998 NBA Finals.  That game had 2 major incidents of blown calls meant to help the Bulls (bogus shot clock violation on a Howard Eisley 3 in second quarter: replays showed the shot ball was 8 feet from the end of Eisley's hand when the shot clock expired.  No call on Ron Harper shot clock violation in 3rd quarter, total: 5 point swing to Bulls).  Most people did not realize that Scottie Pippen's back was in such bad shape that he was doubtful for a possible game 7 if the Jazz won game 6, and since the Jordan led Bulls had a 1-11 record in playoff games without Scottie Pippen it was imperative that the Bulls end the series in 6.  There are other less prominent incidents but I have made my point here.

    For years when a small market team produces a title contender they are given no respect by the officials or by NBC. Just look at how the refs treated the Milwaukee Bucks in game 5 of the 2001 Eastern Finals after they took a 16 point lead.  Not to mention how David Stern was seen hugging Dikembe Motumbo after the Sixers won game 4 in Milwaukee.  Stern was quoted as saying "The Bucks will get respect next year" what is that supposed to mean?  The Bucks get the shaft this year (2001)?  And what does Stern's hug signify?  Further Scott Williams of the Bucks took a flagrant foul on Allen Iverson in Game 6, after which the officials did not feel it warranted ejection from the game.  After the Bucks won game 6 David Stern suspended Williams  from game 7 in Philadelphia.  Why did Stern suspend Williams from game 7?  The Game 6 refs felt he did not need to be tossed out when the foul occurred.  The answer is simple: Stern wanted Philadelphia and not Milwaukee in the 2001 NBA Finals.  Williams was the emotional leader of the Bucks and taking him out of game 7 would ensure a 76ers victory.  To top it off, some of the loudest cries of this foul play against the Bucks were coming from Laker fans in Los Angeles!

    Fans are told to use this logic: Michael Jordan is the best player ever, so obviously one of his teams must be the best team ever.  And since the 1995-96 Bulls happened right before the NBA's 50th anniversary celebration: What a great promotion! crown a recent team as "the best ever" to attract more people's attention to the current game!  

"They are trying to sell today's game, not the game from the 1960's, 70's or 80's."

-Wilt Chamberlain on the NBA at 50 celebration in 1996

    No other major sport propagandizes that one particular player is the best ever.  Why is Basketball so different?  Because David Stern is trying to sell his current game by calling Jordan "unquestionably the best ever".  The late Wilt Chamberlain said it best: "If Michael was here right now, I would say to him: When you are so great that the league tries to change the rules in an attempt to stop you then you can claim you are the best ever.  Every rule change I have seen during your career has been meant to enhance your game (such as shortened 3 point line, hand checking rules & well defined rules regarding illegal defenses)."  Wilt also went on further to discuss how players of his day did not have the luxury of regular National T.V. broadcasts to promote their talents to the public.  Modern players have the luxuries of chartered jets, first class hotels, modern sports medicine, fewer games on back-to-back nights, illegal defenses, looser rules governing assists, the 3 point line and superstars getting preferential treatment from referees.  1960's refs freely admit that they let players foul Wilt Chamberlain when he did not have the ball "to help them"defend him. Contrast this with today when superstars are coddled by officials. In spite of all these luxuries afforded to modern players Wilt Chamberlain (who retired 28 years ago) still holds 50 regular season records, many of which are in the untouchable realm.  Contrast this with Michael Jordan who in spite of getting more preferential treatment from officials than any other player in history holds a whopping 4 regular season records.

Air Judden covers this topic in much more depth: click here.
Article: Are NBA Refs incompetent or corrupt?

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