ESPN's Mike Greenberg
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I wrote a big twenty Cuco story last week. A Big Pacers bowl story like I just. I have chosen to exit. Twenty Twenty. Because it's too depressing and go back and relive my late teens and early twenties. It's a great time. Like Hey rik smits. How are you doing Rick Smits? You're still really sad about nineteen ninety eight but it's fun to talk to you. It's been it's been a good time. I've enjoyed it too. I've been working so I think I sometimes jokingly say of all the people that I know from a professional standpoint my schedule and life have been probably impacted less than anyone. I know during this but but I love seeing last dance in any for different reasons. Because it's not often that we get to relive our youth like the biggest difference between Those days and now for me I was there and now I'm here. Is that one that was stuff was going on. I was twenty four twenty five twenty six years old and reminding me of the way I viewed things. Then you know in some ways. It's not that the world was simpler or better or worse but I was younger and everything seems simpler and better when you're younger so I've it has been like a trip back to my youth with whole movies that don't contain me. There's someone else's home movies but I was close enough to them that they matter to me in a personal way so I've really gotten a thrill and I'll tell you one other thing. My son is seventeen and he loves basketball and I think you and I have discussed the fact that he really has never in his lifetime. existed in a world where the Knicks were a really relevant team. That one good year they made up a little bit of a playoff. Push for the most part. He has never seen the Knicks matter. So that kind of breaks my heart a little bit as a kid who grew up going to the garden all of my childhood and he also is one of these people who will tell me that. Lebron James is definitely a better player that so I have gotten extrordinary pleasure out of watching these films with him and showing him all the ways in which. That isn't true. Well so much of how we process. Sports is and how we process. Anything is we tend to like what we saw. I and so it's it's as stupid as like every night at ten o'clock except when the landscape last dances on my wife and I are binging. This silly show called the great British bake off which is a baking competition. It's like our winedown show and I like the first version that I saw better than the most recent version that I've seen just because I saw it I it's like a lot of people who love mid-range Jumpers and don't like threes. It's just because they grew up watching mid-range jumpers and not threes and if you flip the order they might feel totally differently so for me. Michael's championship runs span aged thirteen to age twenty for me. So that's like that's your coming of age as a sports fan. That's going from like kid. Who's like dimly aware of sophisticated sports analysis into young adulthood? So there will never be anybody in sports. Who is Michael Jordan for me? As a consumer of sports they just. It doesn't matter if Lebron breaks the scoring record. It doesn't matter if he wins three more championships. He will never resonate with me and people my age the way Michael Jordan. This is not possible and that is the moment that it occurred to me at some point during this that eventually we all become our dad because my dad would be the one who was telling me. Michael and I do a terrible imitation of my dad. He would say to me. Michael if you don't put Oscar Robertson in this conversation then we're no longer having it by. You don't have any idea what you're talking about if you're telling me you don't think. Oscar Robertson was every bit as good as any of these guys. You're talking about your Julius erving. You're so excited about and anyone else. I may have liked in the late seventies. Which is what. I'm a firm a load of the you are so I felt my came of age as a basketball fan. I just missed the championship Knicks. I'm just guy. Slept in Walt Frazier's pajamas. Not Literally his. But I slept in your knicks number. Ten footy pajamas and so I just missed them. So my my knicks teams of note of the earliest ones. I remember we're like toby. Night and Glenn Ganders can Larry Gimmick and all sorts of people exact all did it came to Bernard King when Women Mixed Gut Bernard King and Huby had those teams where they played the full first unit and the full second unit. That will always be my favorite team of all time when they took the the the Celtics the legendary Celtic seven games. When Bernard King's fifty points in all those games that was when I fell in love with basketball and so to me. I'll never love anything like I loved that but I'll never see another player like Michael Jordan under any circumstances. Yeah I've been. I've been going around the house for the last three days singing. The sometimes I dream that he and my wife is like what are you. What are you singing? And I'm like it's just a soundtrack to my life and it has always been and your point about everyone being your dad. So we'll bond came on the podcast last week and did the old man yelling at cloud thing about how Michael is. The greatest in the warriors would never beat the Bulls and you know he got made fun of a little bit on twitter for it. I I will tell all the twenty year olds who make fun of the forty year olds like me for not understanding. What Tick Tock is in all of this? It's going to happen to you to in twenty years to twenty year olds are going to be making fun of you for being the old out of touch person. It's going to happen to everyone anyway so I was very excited that last night. They got into the ninety two and ninety three finals in the first three peat. A little bit because you were there for that. I repeat you are on the ground in Chicago working in the media covering the team. You told me Your every. Shoot around every practice. You're so you're in Portland for the ninety two finals. You're in Phoenix for the ninety three finals. And that's going to lead us to the sort of debate. Everybody loves to have. What's the best bull's team ever? But I WANNA set back before we get into that I just you know. I've been watching a lot of those two finals for podcast purposes in the last week or two and I just I had forgot like in my head. The Portland series unfolded like a lot of the other finals. Where it was kind of it was an easier series for the Bulls had forgotten that that was a two series going into game. Five Phoenix won. I remembered that the road team on every game except for one and they had to go back to Phoenix decline. So I just I'll open it up to you. I don't know of those two playoff runs. I don't know if you have favorite memories. Favorite practices favorite conversations. Ah Game or a scene that you will always stick with you. That's your some of your favorite young Mike Greenberg Memories. So I'll start with this for me. This is probably very personal. As opposed to bigger picture. But I'm a kid from New Yorker grew up with season tickets to the Knicks. My entire family is still in New York at that time. And there are no words to describe how important the Knicks were to my family. My parents at that time my brother and I'm a reporter working in Chicago covering the Bulls and as good as the series with Phoenix was as good as interesting as the series of Portland was the series against the Knicks and ninety in the starting in ninety one ninety two ninety three and ninety four when Michael isn't fair on the Hugh Holland series. Were the most intensely competitive sporting events I've ever seen in my entire life I've never see teams like I was a little bit surprise early in the Jordan Films. Here that the vitriol remains between the Jordan teams and the bad boy pistons but seems to have largely disintegrated with the Knicks. Because I'm here to tell you that those series were every bit as competitive every bit as vicious as physical as As hotly contested and a big part of it is Phil Jackson and Pat. Riley hated each other and that was awesome. They were rivals going all the way back to their playing days. And so I mean it went all the way to the coaches. So what I remember. Most were those games between the Knicks and the Bulls were better than any of the Finals Games The year ninety three is the year that starts as the left handed dunk to win game two and it looks like holy smoke. They're gonNA throw these guys Jordan's GonNa lose and the Knicks are GonNa win. And that was one of the Dave Anderson Collins comes out of they just went through all of that in which they make a big deal Jordan going to Atlantic city. And he did he legitimately stop talking to us. Michael who was the most accessible superstar you could ever imagine who would stand there and talk to you until the cows went home At that point the cows off because not talk to anybody for weeks and that was the most it was just the most dramatic thing and I guess I had such a personal stake in it because in those days the big thing and I guess it still is in basketball was my family would never stopped telling me. Jordan is getting every call every call. This is ridiculous I Michael. I can't even watch this. Jordan gets every single call. The Ref want the League wants Jordan back in the final so badly in Chicago on my own radio station. The narrative was the league wants New York in the finals. They want the Knicks to make it so it just goes to show you the depending upon which colored glasses you're wearing everyone's nuts uth. Everyone's was my favorite. That was a very long answer to a short question. Those were my favorite memories were though series between the Bulls and the next was the most exciting competitive dramatic stuff. I've ever watched so I would like to go back once when I when I have time. I guess I guess we have more. I have more time because there are no game. I'd like to go back and watch the ninety two series in the second round where the Knicks. Take them to seven. Only one of only two seven game sevens the Bulls faced in the six title runs. Because I remember at. I haven't watched that series. Since are you remember at the time being astonished that the Knicks did that whereas in ninety three the Knicks had made a couple of changes the organizing team. They were the one seed they were ready. Ninety three was very clearly. Set Up to be if any team is going to throw in the Bulls. It's this Knicks team. Ninety two. I just remember being like what is Xavier mcdaniel doing. How is this happening? So what do you like? What the hell happened in that series and in game seven obviously the Bulls. Blow them out and it's a non game but I just remember being like how. How did this happen well? I think that was when Pat Riley. I figured out if you can't beat them beat the hell out of them and that's what they did. I mean again like the bad boy. Pistons are remembered because history is written by and four the winners at so. No one remembers those teams because they didn't win any so only the hardcore knick fans remember those teams but the reality is the victims were every bit as physical as the bad boy pistons. It's worn his dirty. The bad boy pistons were dirty. I don't care what Amick Belan beer was a dirty. They own it now. They own it. They own that they were dirty. Isaiah Thomas last week on my show. Try Khanna talkers way around that a little bit. They were dirty. The Knicks weren't as much dirty as they were they were just tough and they pat Riley new. We're not as good as them. We're certainly not as good as that. One guy is over there but I got a bunch of guys who will will just hold onto you and make them call a foul on literally every place so when you look back at this and even I haven't remembered this until I'm watching them but as we're watching these highlights I'm last and they pop up the final score. Eighty seven seventy-nine. Y- you know that's the middle of the third quarter in the NBA. Now but but that's how these games were ending so in that way like every basket matter. You know like in a way that they don't now now like a twelve point lead is nothing in the NBA. Now because that's like three trips down the floor and three threes and we're right back there in those days like an eight point run. Was the coaches calling timeout. And we have to talk to you. I think you just nailed why I think some people disliking the three is not about the three. It's a little bit about the three and end the fear of every team playing the same way and stylistic homogeneity and all that I think part of it is that for good for better or worse. The three has done exactly what you just said. It's turned games less predictable. There are more runs. And Steve. Kerr and I were talking about this before. You came on my podcast. He's watching these games and he said man. I'm watching these games. And it's just such a slug fest and it's bringing back all these memories for me. Stevenson is bringing back all these memories for for of being so stressed out for every possession and every shot and he and he said something to me. It's not an podcast. We said something like. I don't miss that. I liked today's game so much better and I think a lot of fans miss that because I think like I don't Really Watch college basketball anymore but when I watch it. That's the feel you get in college basketball and especially when the shot clock was even longer is that every single one of these possessions is critical and the NBA of the nineties. With the emphasis of the three was sort of closer to a middle ground between the NBA. Now and that feeling in college basketball and I think when when people lament the three part of it is that they lament that feeling having gone away the feeling that every possession was like a life or death matter correct. So there's two separate groups of people I think you hate the three the first as a second reference to my father in this conversation would be people I can and we can reference him all we want because no one his age knows what a podcast is anyway but the my father would always say Michael. This is not what basketball was intended to be the intention of the game. The the entire reason the way you play the sport is to pass the ball until you get the best possible shot as close to the basket as you possibly. Can this notion of trying to set up shop from as far away as you possibly can is the opposite of what the game was intended to be there? Are Those people? You're never convincing them other. Then they're the people who I think agree with what would look at it more the way you're talking about it. Is that if you watch? I love I watch college. Basketball primarily Glare Watch might tool northwestern play college basketball every time. The ball goes in the basket and feel it's an occurrence for like something important just happened and in the NBA. That just isn't the way it is and so there is a removal. Now what would you have gotten in? Its place is a level of of a graceful acrobats. That were not allowed to either. Couldn't do then or weren't able to do what they're able to do now because some would have shoved them into the second row And you're getting this this the ability to score you get guys who are six foot eleven. Who can shoot from? Were there shooting from that? They would have been like from another planet and at the time that we're talking about and sew baskets just aren't an occurrence in a game anymore. Huge dunks aren't an occurrence in a game anymore. The difference the reason Michael Jordan's dunks seems more spectacular than even a spectacular Dunkin an NBA game. Today is because there were only three of them like remember them all because they fairly few and far between there are a never ending array of plays now that would have been the biggest highlight of the season at back in nineteen ninety two and it isn't necessarily for me it isn't necessarily better or worse but it is most certainly different. Well Chris Mullin when talking about game seven in nineteen ninety eight between the Pacers and the Bulls the other game. Seven Chris Paul and gave me a great quote for that story said Scottie. Pippen just basically beat the Mark Jackson up and down the court and he's not bitter about it he's just that was. That was legal then. Scotty could do that. And they fill was really smart to put him on Mark Jackson. Just say whatever the refs let you get away with. Do that as long as you can. And the Pacers are mad about it. That's that's the way it was so ninety. Two Ninety three is we talked about that nicotine being set up to beat them. And that's the Charles Smith Smith stuffed four times in a row game. I sat on my podcast with a few weeks ago. That's one of the most consequential games in the NBA in the last thirty years. Because you said very eloquently on the show last week when I was on it matters that he three p. did twice because that separate the three peat separates him from magic and Larry and Isaiah and who and Lebron and the Spurs. It's just who never repeated. It's just a separator. And that was one of the moments when the first three peat was really really in doubt and for them to go win. That game in New York and I had forgotten that he had fifty four in game. Four to even say this is a piece putting up fifty in playoff games like once every two weeks. It's ridiculous that that game. I'm sorry for Knicks fans. I loved sue. Birds can be on the documentary last night with like. I don't care if horace grant was really the one that got dunked on starks dunked on on On Michael that game that's a top five pivotal moment in the NBA? And the last thirty years. Yeah Michael we never really saw him loose once he figures so the way this stuff used to work in the NBA. And I know I'm not telling you anything you don't know but I'm assuming there are a lot of younger people listening to this conversation who don't know and maybe are learning this in by watching last dance is it you would you would have to serve an apprenticeship like you would have to go through a little bit of time where you would work your way up and you would knock on that door and you saw the Pistons doing with the Celtics. They couldn't beat him. They couldn't beat him. They finally beat them. They became the chance the Bulls did the same thing with the Pistons work. Their way up couldn't beat them. And then eventually you in the Bulls finally beat him and they went on a run. That team. That never lost Jordan retires after ninety three. He's not there in ninety. Four only played seventeen games ninety five. He wasn't wearing the same Jersey number. He wasn't the same so in some ways. You don't look at it as laws. Then he comes back and they keep winning wins all three again and then he walked in leaves. Number comes back. It goes back as a wizard two years later. And he's forty years old and it's sort of like watching you know Frank Sinatra. When he was in his eighty s on you excited that it can still hit. Some of the notes are not expecting him to hit all of them anymore. So what we what we got to see Larry Bird loose. We got to see Magic Johnson. Lose those guys all walked off the court. Losing their last game likes Jordan walked off the court winning his last game. When last seen the Michael Jordan were actually talking about was stealing the ball from Carl Malone who is the second leading score in the history of the NBA with the kind of play. That who the hell does that. Like who fakes running on defense turns around. Come back behind him. It steals the ball in the final seconds of a championship situation. Then runs up the floor and makes that shot with his hand in the air. It's it's an uncanny command for the dramatic. It's not only that I. I haven't really watched that game the last few weeks but I believe he has six points in the final fifty seconds of that game. He has a he has a baseline drive where he draws a foul then. He has like a leaning layup and then he has the steel and the shot. So it's not even that sequences is an iconic all-time sequence but it's it's the two baskets before that they literally he literally just takes the game like Utah's ahead and Michael Just says by myself on taking the game and we win the championship and that's the two reasons that no one that I can't compare what's going on now to that. Is that guys. Keep jumping around to play together. I have no problem with it. I don't in any way begrudge them doing it God bless them. If I were in their shoes I'd probably do the same thing but what you were robbed in that as seeing the evolution of a championship team. So when when Lebron James Dwayne Wade Chris Bosh got together in Miami. They went from zero to sixty immediately. You didn't see the knocking on the door of anybody. They just went from irrelevant to in the finals in one year and then every single year and the broad and he goes to Cleveland and they're in the finals every single year and Kevin Durant goes raw Golden State and they're just going to win the championship and there isn't going to be any thing to be said about it and they obviously would right now. Be Three TIME DEFENDING CHAMPS. If they hadn't been ravaged by injury particularly with durant but in those days you would actually see the evolution of it and toward never lost so to me. It's a combination of the two three peats. Plus the fact that once he started winning we never saw him lose so every time one of the others to whom he has compared wound up. Losing and Lebron has lost a lot in the biggest box. Most of it not his fault. But that's the easiest way to say what Michael Jordan has never freaking loss. I mean no matter what happened. That guy wasn't gonNA lose and that's a very tough thing to compete against Scotts turf. Builder Triple Action has acquired the secret to building a thicker greener lawn in return. They have taken all the hard work out of the picture. That's good to give you more time to do nothing. Extra people don't realize that it's easy to get the law of their dreams by simply feeding their lawn a few times throughout the year Scotts Turf Builder Action Kills. Weeds PREVENTS CRABGRASS. Yuck and feeds to build thick green lawns with Scott's turf builder triple action. You can finally get the lawn. You've always dreamt of Scotts turf. Builder TRIPLE ACTION. Will Give your yard the nourishment. It needs to help your week thin lawn recovery. Who wants a week Finland when you feed with Scott's Builder Triple Action Multiple Times throughout your grass will be greener stronger more resilient pickup bag today? This is a scots yard. Also Scott's no-quibble money-back guarantee states. If you're not satisfied you can get your money back. That's good this is Scott Yard. Let's go back to ninety two because I want to just have the debate. Now of what is the Best Jordan Championship team and I think the debate for most people probably crystallizes between ninety two and ninety six ninety two. They sixty seven and fifteen. It's by far the best record of the I three P team. So this is the Middle Three P. teams need three peat number one Interestingly their playoff record is fifteen and seven which is the most losses of any of the six playoff teams. But if you look at the murderers row. They faced in the last three rounds of those playoffs. It's the fifty one win knicks that takes them to seven. It's fifty seven win cavs team in the conference finals and it's a sixty three win blazers team in the finals. It's an absolute murderers row and so two seven losses. We can chalk that up however you want ninety six. Obviously they go seventy two and ten. It's the only year that they rank. First in both offense and defense they have the biggest net rating in the history of the NBA. That season A little bit a couple points bigger than in ninety two. They go fifteen and three in the playoffs but they go through a forty seven when Knicks team in the second round. Sixty win magic team missing. Horace Grant Brian Shaw and then at the end of the series Nick Anderson and then Phoenix. Who was. I'm sorry and then Seattle really good then. Seattle is really good So that's that's a soft playoff run compared to ninety two so we can say and I think the ninety seventeen which goes sixty nine and thirteen is little slept on. Well take it for what? What's your what's your answer. We can get into the specifics but I think for most people. It's going to come down to ninety two and ninety six with ninety seven getting a little bit of love on the side. It's a really hard debate. It really really is. So gimme your take. I know where you fall. But let's let's spell it out. So I am a big proponent in greatest versus best so the greatest of the bulletins is ninety sixteen they should have been fifteen and they went up three nothing on Seattle in those finals. I don't I don't I have no recollection of how the hell Seattle won two games. But I can tell you. They were meaningless. Not One person in your obviously old enough to remember this not one person in or outside of Chicago thought for a second. They weren't going to win zero. Pto They could easily have been fifteen in one in those playoffs. And you gotta give them their due. They went seventy two. Ten Jordan was so motivated. Rodman was so re energized by being in this situation. They're the greatest but the ninety two team to me would beat them so makes them the best if you took an if you could somehow magically have and some of the people are the same. I mean the coaches the same Jordan and pippen are the same people but if you could have the ninety two team play the ninety sixty I would bet on the ninety two team. And here's why there are few reasons but the single biggest reason is this when he came back from playing baseball. So Ninety. Six Ninety. Seven to ninety eight for those championships. Michael Jordan was the best player in the NBA. And there was no question of the first peat. Michael Jordan was the greatest player that ever lived. He was better than than he was when he came back if only because he was younger and any number of other reasons he was more physically dynamic he learned a lot of things he had a lot of little tricks of the trade that he had developed over the course of of years that he used in ninety six ninety seven hundred posted up a lot more. He played the game a little differently. This is by no means to take anything away from him. He remained the best player in the NBA. But the best player I've ever seen in my life was Jordan at ninety one ninety. Two Ninety three he was ridiculous and he alone would have won that series. If they'd played each other of somehow that were possible. So I would start with that. The second is and I'm so glad he said this. I Charles Barkley on get up and I asked him about this and he said Horace Grant was tougher to beat the Dennis Rodman. Now I didn't have the guts I was on another podcast here with with Stugatz a couple of weeks ago before the started airing to preview it and I said look when push comes to shove I guess you have to give. Rodman has do as being better than Harris even though there was it hurt me to say because I liked horace grant so much when I covered him and I think he was so overlooked and got Robin got disproportionate attention in the in the positive and I think horace got disproportionate attention in the negative to the detriment. But I think Horace Grant did a lot of things on the floor of the Dennis Rodman did not so and and the the the pieces they moved in around them You know who were sort of interchangeable over the course of time Paxton and Kerr and Longley Wennington versus cartwright purdue a lot of that I'm going to call a wash if only because it's kind of hard to remember which ones you really think are better so if based only on the fact that Mike in one thousand nine hundred to Michael Jordan was the single best basketball player that ever live. I'll take that team in series against the other one solely for that reason so horace grant at his peak was like fourteen and ten guy who who was a really smart player. In the triangle new spots knew how to cut really good defensive player. So I get I get that I get all that and you're absolutely right about Michael Michael. Ninety one to ninety three is like just on another planet. He's a different species of player. He goes in the lane and jumps and just the world stops. There's just there's just nothing. There's nothing anybody can do like. These are the best player. Clyde Drexler Terry. Puerto everyone to put on them. They just look like Lilliputians on the ground and this person is soaring above them. He's just on another planet so a lot of this ninety two versus ninety-six argument to me just comes down. To how much do you value other planet other species Michael Jordan versus just the best of a normal species Michael Jordan because the horace versus Dennis argument is a little reductive to me because it's not just hordes versus Dennis. I think the ninety six team is actually deeper. And I because Horace Grant really when you become Dennis Rodman but also becomes Toni Kukoc. Tony Cuco becomes the thirteen fourteen points a game score with much more long range shooting much more playmaking and you have Rodman in that role and I kinda like I. I liked the versatility and complementary skill sets of the Ron Harper Steve Kerr Guard platoon whereas bj Armstrong and Paxton are kind of this are similar. Guys they're outside shooters who are kind of liabilities on defensive. They were pests. I like that. They could go like when they had Harper Jordan. Pippen Rodman on the floor. You couldn't do anything I on offense us. You couldn't score them so I think that team is a little bit deeper. I also think they're a little bit more modern and versatile like when they put Kerr Jordan Pippen Rodman Cuco so Rodman's playing center that teams in one thousand. Nine hundred ninety eight were like. Wow what what the hell is going on here whereas you look at ninety two. They're playing like cartwright and Scott Williams together they're playing Horace Grant Cliff Levingston and cartwright together they were just all in on being an old school huge giant team whereas the ninety six team I think is a little bit deeper and could go stylistically a little bit differently but but Mj was on another universe. It from another universe in the first one and Scotty was a little bit younger too so I can see the other thing about ninety six. It's interesting to me. And Simmons brings us up all the time expansion season. So the seventy two wins is a little bit diluted. That's the year the Raptors Grizzlies. Come in so there's more easy pickings. It's a week League weekly on the flip side people. Just there's so much analysis of this time in the NBA and people forget for three seasons from ninety five to ninety seven. They moved the three point line in and it like dramatically changed the game. So if you look at Michael and Scotties stats like Something like thirty five to forty percent of Michael's made three pointers. Come in two seasons and Scotty similarly. It's like a disproportionate about the NBA. In effect gave them a weapon that they didn't have by moving the three-point line in a couple of feet. And I think that compensates a little bit for the aging and declined athleticism. Like one hundred. Three's two seasons in a row in ninety two. He made twenty-seven threes. And if you watch game one of that finals which is the shrug game. Winning six three and a half marv Albert is like astonished that he's even shooting threes. Clyde Drexler is defending Michael Jordan than that game like teams defend. Ben Simmons. Now it's like you just go ahead buddy. Go ahead insurance. It's insane so I think that moving the three point line in gave Michael and Scotty a tool. That wasn't really in their toolbox which which made the boat which made the ninety six balls a little bit more verse not versatile but just as another thing they could do. You're making a very interesting case. I someone who I have not seen practically any of in the last and so far was one of my favorite people to be around during those that those runs. Everyone talks about tax winter because of the triangle offense they had an assistant coach named Johnny Bach who is an NBA life. H was his name and he was around the league. For trillion years and tax was the offense and Bach was the defense and when he would put Jordan Pippen Rodman and Harper on the floor. He called at the Doberman overnight sense and and they would go out there and they will just attack you and that's something. I really have not thought a lot about you. Know here's what I would say. Zach is that sometimes you emotion gets involved. I will admit that in ninety six ninety eight ninety five ninety sixteen I was put off by the Rodman Thing Rodman. I felt came in there. He became such a sensation in town. Like I'll tell you a very quick story about it. I don't know how will you know Chicago. But they have these expressways four primary expressway your way of getting in and out of the city and downtown when you're driving down the the expressway to get in from the northern suburbs and so the downtown area in Chicago called the loop which is where I live. There was this huge mural that let off to the side and they painted this huge mural Dennis Rodman and it was stopping traffic. People were stopping their cars getting out on the on the expressway stopping and taking pictures of the Dennis Rodman mural like I don't know if these were tourists or what it was but they like they have to send police there to keep moving traffic along and eventually had to take the mural down because it was actually impacting traffic and there was a part of me that felt and again I was there I was covering it. That Rodman was getting a people. Were acting like this was now. Rodman's team no one really knew what they were talking about. But I don't mean to say people thought Rodman's now the better player than Jordan and whatever senior basketball game thought that but people were so fascinated by him and loved him in this. Those always a part of the connor rubbed me the wrong way because I just found him to be such an attention seeking A person like like like she cared much more about being famous and promoting himself then he cared about winning. Anybody set now. It doesn't mean he wasn't a great player absolutely a great player. And you've seen pretty good stuff that episode three. I think it was which everyone was where they really talk a lot about smart he was he was a tremendous player. I take nothing away from him but boy did he sucked the air out of a room and and it was all about dense and I think something about that has always kind of rubbed me the wrong way which is why. I've always wanted to stick up for harassed grant who was a great a great player. Be a great teammate. Who who felt as though he didn't get nearly enough attention and credit for what they were achieving but didn't behave himself away dentist or to try and get all of that attention and I think there's always been a part of me that is like that better but you know I'd forgotten the one that the one I forgot. Really Harper Harper is an incredibly important part of that second team. Because there's no way to compare what John Paxson. Bj Armstrong did to what Ron Harper was able to do. If you want to say Paxon incur kind of a each other out. As just outstanding outside shooters occur as a better fewer shooter than Paxson was taxing. It a bunch of very big shots particularly in the first championship series and the third one. He makes the famous one to beat Phoenix. But I'd forgotten about Harper Harper Harper Harper presence. Kind of skews. This a little bit. You're making me rethink this. I'm I stand on my on my pick because I refuse not to based upon my personal feelings but you're kind of talking me out of it. Well I think I think I think ninety two probably wins in Opole if you pulled like a thousand people who around the NBA? Then I think the ninety two team probably wins also in this theoretical game if it's one game for all the marbles or whatever you just play all your best players forty six minutes so you're stacy kings and your Scott William although Scott Williams talk about a guy. I'm rewatching always all games. That dude was constantly doing helpful stuff you might do. I see why Phil liked him. He's just coming into games. Like there's offense rebound here put back here. A little short jumper. He was in the right place doing the right stuff all the time. So I think ninety two probably wins in a poll just for the reason of forty five minutes of other universe Jordan and forty five minutes. Prime Athletic Pippen is just. It's it's something you can't do anything with. I just ninety six to me. The seventy two wins matters the fact that they the seventy two wins matters the fact that they destroyed everyone in the playoffs even if it was a soft playoff run until the Sonics won the two meaningless games not it's meaningless a strong. I apologize to the people. But you're right. There's once it's three. Oh No one. In the universe six is is a series anymore And I just the coup coached by the way Ku coach. Better be in this documentary as something other than like dude. Who got picked on in the Olympics because coach was a six man of the year? Michael Scottie both grew to love him and I just think his playmaking shooting size element is something that original team didn't have like the guys coming off the bench for that ninety. Two Team are essentially all big guys and another guard and another little guard. It's just all a bunch of losers. They didn't have anyone like coach. So I'm like I. Because of the seventy two and the versatility. I might lean a little ninety six but I bet ninety two wins an appeal and about Rodman. The ninety seven team that went sixty nine and thirteen fifteen and four in the playoffs. They beat a fifty six. Win Hawks team a sixty one win. Heat team and sixty four win. Utah team who are second fourth and fifth in net rating in the NBA. That you're that is a murderer's row. But the primary argument against them. If there is one is that Rodman checked out in the ninety seven plant was not nearly the same guys. He wasn't ninety six ninety eight but that was sixty nine thirteen. That's one L. of team. Which was the year that Robyn? I'm doing all of this. I thought my head which was the year that Rodman kicked cameraman in in the Ding and wound up being suspended for a significant period of time. Not The famous not the trip to Vegas but but he got suspended for a significant stretch of time she he was. He was always a person who is right now. That was that one. I think. That's that's the point. I was going to feel like that might have sort of carried over into that because it was. If you remember the play is one of these camera guys who were literally on the court shooting the game in his. He's in a very very vulnerable position. He's like squatted down his legs or apart and Rodman sort of falls into him and may have slight. You know it might have heard a little bit. The certainly no one else does fall and he just kicked him right in a crowded area and he got suspended Fordham Significantly deserved it. Rodman was just. He was a he was a pain in the neck. I've found it to be a pain in the neck and that actually brings me to something else. I wanted to talk about with you briefly. I gave some thought its Zack. Wants to be on the PODCAST. What can I tell him? I have come if there's one thing I've come to believe watching the last dance. It is that Phil Jackson is under appreciated as a coach Phil Jackson. I can tell you was under appreciated. Then fill people in town to not a show. I work for the All sports radio station. We were just take calls all day long talking about the balls. That was basically five months of programming three years in a row. Nonstop calls calls calls called. Phil would not come on station. Because he felt that he was constantly being disrespected. That people were constantly callers and the hosts were constantly disrespected him. Basically what the suggestion that the Bulls were a product of Michael Jordan's greatness and that anyone could roll the ball out there that they had thrown Doug Collins out the door right when he would have gotten them there anyway and Doug was figuring town that a lot of people liked and And that they fill got this job and Phil was just lucky to be in the right place at the right time. And he had these legendary experienced assistant coaches. We just talked about in text winner and Johnny Bach and Phil did not get a lot of credit and as I watch this thing and you look at the look at how hard it is to keep the great teams together like no one does it. It's impossible to do and with with all of the insanity that surrounded that group and they really were like the Beatles some of the stuff that he did it. Work just can't argue it. It worked and the best example of it ever is the vacation that he gives Rodman in the middle of A. Who The hell does that? Who The hell says to a player? Yeah you need you know a long weekend in the middle of the season to go to Vegas with Common Electra. And just and just engage in nonstop debauchery. And then just come on back and hopefully with your head cleared and ready to play. No one would do that but Phil Jackson figured out that he needed to do that. I think Phil's finger on the pulse of that group Sort of hand in hand with Michael's leadership Are The reason they would've won some championships anyway. But they wouldn't have one every one of them at fill is a big part of the reason. They won every one of them. Well it's not just giving Rodman the vacation. It's knowing your other the other players on the team well enough to know that this is not going to fracture the team that there won't be so much bitterness about well. Why is this guy getting to do this? And I don't get to do this and you know you see Michael's annoyed. I'd like vacation how anyone does vacation as me. That's what he says in the duck but knowing that the the group will be able to do that the Phil thing is interesting because a lot of it comes down to how synonymous with the triangle. And you know I was at van Gundy Riley. They called him big chief triangle. You know everyone sort of made fun of the Triangle. Because you know is it the triangle or is it. Michael Scott is at triangle or is it shack and coby well. Obviously it's the players. The players make the system. But I I do and people WANNA reimagined dislike. Well what if you just let Michael Run fifty pick and rolls a game with shooting around him and you see glimpses of it particularly in some of the Finals Games? I was watching. You'll see him. He knows every pass out pick and roll. He knows how to play that way. I do think the mythology of changing Michael's game in elevating his teammates is is a is a big part of the Bulls journeys a why they won. Maybe it helped. I bet it helped Ed. I do think there's something to everyone. Involved on offense motivates them to play defense. That's the thing that coaches and players tell you a lot even if I'm just moving and cutting and touching the ball and passing it over here I'm a part of it. I'm not just standing around like PJ. Tucker in the corner. I'm part of it. And that makes me motivated to play on the other end but the game back then was also just not. The triangle was a very effective offense for the way. The game was back. Then by which I mean. Everyone's playing traditional big men three or four guys who can't shoot threes there just isn't anything equivalent to the current spacing of the court and in that era the triangle. I think was an effective way to play but I think a lot of the reason. Why maybe you're right about Philip? Being under appreciated is. I'm not sure if that's true. But if you have that opinion I think a lot of it is fill in. The triangle just became so synonymous that the analysis of Phil Jackson is. A coach was only about the triangle. What are the triangle was overblown or or a real thing or not not about all of this other stuff and even last night in the duck. Michael goes to play golf with Ron Harper. And he's like Phil Phil knows. We need another coach practice today. But Phil's letting US play golf and blow off some CNN if you're talking about keeping teams together you're right that we've seen them all fall apart due to age or egos or I get sick of this coach or this coach. Get Sick of me. The Bulls fell apart because management. And not just Jerry Krause Jerry. Reinsdorf is getting a total pass during this whole documentary because krause is a slummy looking dude with a cantankerous personality so he's easy to blame management. Decided we're done with this team and I said this I'm up one of my podcasts. Recently I do think you know Michael was thirty five. Dennis was thirty seven. I think they're getting up there. Scotties thirty three but Kevin Pelton. I think has a piece coming out this week. On Dot com projecting what a healthy bulls team would have been able to do in nineteen ninety nine. Had Michael Not cut his finger. Cut BURT HIS FINGER. Cutting a cigar. Which by the way that's insane to? He had a cigar cutting injury and then he retired and his conclusion is they. Were probably going to be a sixty one team again that year. And if I do think there is something to you. Just play it out until you lose like Michael. Said you just the honor of being a champion. You just get to play it out until you lose. And I do think it's not hyperbole to suggest that the Jerry's Kinda dishonored the tradition of what a championship team is supposed to be allowed to do. I don't disagree with that. I will say however the degree to which they became iconic and legendary might in the long run have been fuelled by them having been broken up in voluntarily and before their time before they lost before they lost. I mean again. We never saw them lose so when our minds. I I'M GONNA make a ridiculous analogy. But in your mind's eye like John Lennon who my personal favorite musical artist of all time. We'll always be young and he will always have just written all those songs and we will never get to see what his life would have been better. Of course it's not better. It is a freaking horrific tragedy. One of the greatest ones in the history of of the entertainment genre that John Lennon was assassinated when he was forty years old. But the the result of it is that you have no other image of him never existed. We never saw Michael Jordan's teams lose. We never saw them lose the NBA also went entirely different direction after that. So they could. I'm doing this from memory. But they couldn't have won sixty games in one thousand nine hundred axiom and play sixty games the equivalent of the equivalent over sixty wind pace but like that season will always have like a little bit of a weird asterisk to it right like like. I remember Phil. Jackson would always kind of downplay that when his he started winning with the Lakers the next year he would always kind of say well that one year. But that didn't really can't like there's something in its own way if all this stuff is just a story anyway if all this stuff is just some gigantic piece of dramatic Entertainment than having this unusual a ending with these perfectly written perfectly cast villains is is sort of a nice way to end it. Nobody ever beat Michael Jordan. They took it away from. They didn't let them keep going and didn't let 'em keep trying and the same can be said of fill to fill contributed to that also. Because I think Phil. One hundred percent United his players against the common enemy. That was Jerry. Krause and I think that's one of the reasons they cross hated sell so much is that Phil was fueling the Anti Jerry sentiment amongst the players not not I think maliciously but because I think he recognized it as a way of uniting them against the common enemy or in a common cause and that's the oldest trick in the book I think Phil Use it effectively and I think that more than anything was the root of the discord between those two guys. I think Jerry's feeling was. I gave you this like you were coaching the Albany protrudes CBA. I put you on this bench. I gave you the head coaching job when Doug Collins was obviously doing great and we were on a positive trajectory Here you are now. This is your big triangle. And now you're telling your sort of secretly sowing the seeds of discord in these guys disrespect me in front of me. Call me crumbs to my face on the bus and not do anything about it. You know that's That's not great co-parenting and I think it's a look at it. That way like Jerry Crafts. I think I think he had. He had a point there but to go back to Phil. One of the reasons. I think that we associated feels so much of the triangle is a little bit of not revisionist history. But the triangle doesn't work anymore for all the reasons you just described and Phil came to New York and a very high profile way and refuse to acknowledge it and made everything about the tribal so the triangle was not a dirty word in the NBA when it was winning championships the Triangle won eleven championships in the NBA In a span of whatever that wound up being fourteen years whatever it was so the triangle was not a negative thing. It was a perfect thing for what it was. It was of its time. An Avocado era and the game has changed. There's no reason to discredit what Phil did. Then because they were running the triangle it was the perfect offense for its era and for its talent the reason we look on it so negatively at least in part III is because he tried to jam it down the throat of absolutely everyone in New York in and outside of the Knicks Organization and it wound up being his undoing there and set back that franchise and just generally made a lot of people cranky for e commerce business shipping in two days or less is the new standard as a growing business. How can you keep up introducing Shipu your businesses new secret weapon? Schipol is the only shipping software for growing businesses. You can start today. Set up in minutes and ship today because they should. Hundreds of millions of packages shiploads volume discounts. Save you up to ninety percent of carrier rates simply connect your online store to ship. 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Go right now and get your shipping consultation and ship pro plan six month trial for free at GO SCHIPOL DOT com slash low. Let me ask you this because you were there. I was texting with a friend of mine in basketball. Who's about my age last? And she was saying I don't remember the gambling thing being something that my friends and I talked about when it was happening and I said same with me. I was fifteen. Media was different than I wasn't reading Dave Anderson regularly in the New York Times. Maybe I just don't remember it being something. My buddies and I talked about at the time. We talked about the finals. We talked about the Nixon Bulls returned about all the basketball stuff. I don't remember the gambling penetrating our discussion. So I'm I obviously I know about it now. I've read about it. I know all about it but I just for someone who's now is working in the media that time covering that team. Obviously it was a big deal. He stops talking to you. There's all this talk in the documentary about whether his reputation is tarnished. I actually don't think it's tarnished at all. I think People Kinda find the gambling thing charming. I mean. They don't know the stories of the wise guys. He's losing money to all the trials stuff. Like when you're in the media then and you're talking about with your colleagues in your talking with people in the Bulls and you hear David Stern talking about it. How big of a crisis was it? Was there a sense that like the sky actually could befalling here or was it something that you could shove? Aside and focus on the basketball there are and continue to be people whose opinions I value. Who believe Michael Jordan was suspended from the NBA? And that's why he left after ninety three because of the gambling. I don't even like saying this next part out loud but it is a fact that there are people who in public not behind closed doors but on air waves at the time speculated as to whether or not his gambling with part of the reason is father was killed. Those are facts. Those things happen. Those things were said they were wondered aloud. I myself do not believe that. I believe that Michael Jordan in ninety three after having won the title of ninety one one and again in ninety two didn't want go to the Olympics but it was the Dream Team the NBA. And Mike. You were never going to let him go so he wanted to. Spending his whole summer playing again in ninety two and comes back and wins it again and grueling fashion in ninety three I believe he was fried emotionally. Psychologically mentally physically and otherwise. His father than is tragically and purely coincidentally killed in a random act of violence and robbery and the combination of those things caused him. Michael to just come apart Mentally and he just decides. I can't deal with it and and he needs to get away and he needed that period of time away. That's what I've always believed in barring someone showing me some evidence to the contrary I will always believe. But if you're asking me how big a deal was the gambling. It was big enough that there were people who it was not. It was not whispered. It was something people would openly talk about. Do you believe Michael Jordan was suspended surreptitiously by the NBA by David Stern because of gambling and because of connection to unsavory people and is it possible that connection to unsavory people was connected to his father's murder so I think that's the best answer I can give you a these were not just crackpot theorist like people saying? Oh you know the League wants to make sure they win so so they've bought the rafts like this was this was stopped. That people genuinely believed So I don't think you could be a bigger deal than that. I'm just saying pre- preretirement so during those playoff series when it comes out so it's a crisis then it's a crisis like in that moment. It's something that is is is a huge part of the discussion. Let's be clear on what we're talking about. The Dave Anderson Column was written about Michael Jordan going to Atlantic city. That's true it's it does the night before a game and apparently was there until some very very late hour of the morning now in the documentary. Recently whenever this episode aired I remember Michael? Saying he was back in his hotel by like two. I am or something. I don't believe that to be true. I I believe again. I'm doing so much of this memory. But at least I believe the way Dave Anderson wrote it. He was gambling there until like four in. That column was really that the narrative that emerged from that was less about Jordan's gambling and his connection to unsavory characters. Then it was to his commitment than it was the notion that he led his team down and let everybody else down by doing that. And that's what made him mad and that's why he stopped speaking to the media. It wasn't because of the gamble it wasn't because of Richard is Queen as or or the millions of dollars was supposedly losing on the golf course and other places all the time because that's not stop people really knew maybe there was some people who knew it but I didn't know that is not something that was commonly talked about on the radio and it was not something that people I talk to regularly inside or outside of the sports media. We're talking about regularly. So that became a bigger deal when he retired at least to my in my consciousness the prior to that the big big big deal that that David Anderson wrote about. I interpreted as Michael. Feeling that his his integrity as a player as a champion as a competitor was being assailed the other thing. That's a little a little too convenient in the telling for me. Now is the level of plausible deniability. That both Michael Jordan and Rod. Thorn have given themselves in discussing. Why Isaiah Thomas was left off the Dream Team. So they do it. They have the recount. The conversation last night's episode and Rod Thorn Calls Michaels. They were doing the Dream Team. Michael says who's playing who's playing who's playing playing and Rod says will the guy you're referring to is not going to be playing so Michael had Michael Gets to say. Well I never brought up. All I did was asked who was playing. His name was never mentioned. And then this thing was that seems a little too. I'm just because I don't know what happened. But that seems a little too convenient to me. There's zero question but that Michael Jordan and Scottie. Pippen did not want Isaiah on the Dream Team. And thus he wasn't. There is zero question in my mind of that. No one will ever convince me otherwise and I will say this. I do have a problem with because you can love or hate. Isaiah Thomas all you want. And he's another one who through the is now of more. Recent history. Looks totally different right. Because his post playing career has been filled with a variety of I guess for lack of a more poetic phrase of failures and then obviously the terrible situation that took place in the front office with the Knicks. None of that had happened in one thousand nine hundred ninety two when they were making those decisions Isaiah. Thomas in my view was one hundred percent of the stature and closer to his prime they Larry. Bird was to have been a part of that team and deserves to have been a part of that team. Leaving him off at team because of personality dispute or dislike or. Whatever it is in my opinion is really not fair that team even then everyone knew that team meant something and that it was always going to be something that the people who were on that team would always be remembered as having been dream teamers first and foremost. I mean you look at that picture of that thing is. There's no more conic photo in sports. It is the greatest team and most important team in the history of organized sports and to leave Isaiah off because he froze Jordan. Outta the All Star game in one thousand nine hundred eighty four which I think is what made Michael really upset. He was much more about that than it was about a handshake in ninety one thing. I think it was that that's where it began and I think that's where the seeds of that dislike. Were sewn I think it is unfair because whether you can hate Isaiah Thomas all you want. But he was an unbelievably great player. He was absolutely of a stature with all of the players on that team and historical greatness in my opinion and He deserved he does by the way as tough as they calm and not just in the sense of part of the bad boys and they're all talk in the sense of play through injury. Go at anyone. His game. Six in the eighty eight finals on one ankle is one of the Great all-time big spotlight performances in the NBA. I've said this before and I respect your opinion greatly. I would love to hear your answer if you separate the NBA into a variety of categories in one of them is the little man. So you've got the truly little guy so I'm not comparing Isaiah Thomas to even though they both play guard. I'm not comparing Isaiah Thomas to Magic Johnson or to Jason Kidd or people like that. I'm talking about the guys who were six feet tall and under something like that. So something in that neighborhood. So that would include now and Steph. Curry is taller than that. But I'll even put him in the discussion Steph Curry. Alan Iverson Steve Nash. John Stockton tiny archibald who am. I forgetting Jerry JERRY SIX TO JERRY. West was six two but played a little bigger than the bigger. I don't think of him Eliza when I looked up his height the other day. Wow He's six six two. It seems seems like six five to me somehow of all of them that I saw so west is before my time but of all of them that I saw I would take Isaiah Thomas over any of them. I would take Isaiah over any of those players you. It's impossible to compare errors. Steph is doing stuff now that no one has ever done in the history of the game. I get that Nash was the MVP the League in consecutive years. I get that. Iverson is a beloved figure for a variety of very very legitimate reasons. He there was something aura about him. That may be no other player. I can ever but if your objective when you step foot on a basketball court is to win I would take Zeya Thomas. You can have whichever one of them you want and my team is going to be. I think curry his already passed him. And I hear what? You're saying about eras and skill sets and all that. I just think I think curry has already passed. But yeah no Prime Isaiah and like he had. He had his traumatic injury. Achilles stare at the end of his career careers kind of cut short. He had left it by age thirty two he was. We never got a late. Prime Isaiah Thomas. Really and I think that affects the way people remember. I mean even by ninety two when the Dream Team is happening. He's on the severe downslope move his career Like think John Stockton at that point was probably better than is area. But that's just because of where Isaiah was in his career path but got Prime Isaiah from you know early eighties. To Ninety was as good as any little guy too. Here's the thing. I I know that everyone listening to this is gonNA lose their minds. I'm not suggesting that Isaiah Thomas is better than what I'm saying. Is that Steph? Curry is playing in a different sport to compare that Jerome's F curry is playing his eyes to the game. Isaiah Thomas played at his size is an unreasonable comparison. I mean for folks who are watching the last answer seeing what I'm talking about. That was an era where everyone was a foot taller than he was where everyone was playing in a compress little area down by the paint when Isaiah Thomas started playing in the NBA. The three point shot didn't exist so he didn't grow up taking threes. You never learned to shoot a three because it wasn't such thing as a three so if Thomas had played at a time. I'm not suggesting it would have been his greatest. The shooter is Steph Steph. Curry is in arguably the greatest shooter of the basketball that I've ever seen and and probably that has ever live but Isaiah Thomas didn't ever try to be that that there wasn't on the list of options because it didn't exist what year that was the three-point come in the NBA. Eighty three eighty four. Something like that. They started shooting and seven. I think seventy nine to eighty off the top of my head. I think eighty an NBA about okay. Then he made up by one year so so. He wanted the College Basketball Championship and eighty-one either way. By point does he did not grow up learning to play basketball In order to try and shoot threes. And if you just look at the totality of his game and being the best player teams that won two championships in a row plus a national championship in college. Plus as you pointed out his greatest performance was in a series. They lost to a LAKER team. That had magic Johnson Kareem abdul-jabbar James Worthy and Boy Madera teams of all time. Boy Do people forget how people outside of Detroit forget how close they were to win that series and how close they were to three repeating? And then you're talking about then you're in a different stratosphere ahead. There were three games to two. They could have won that game sex again. He's playing on one foot people. Forget how about the game. He played against the Knicks. And Joe. Louis Arena in game five of a best of five. Where where did you score? Sixteen points in the last ninety seconds to send that game to overtime we're Bernard King and the Knicks ultimately wanted. I can still see hubris shirts the short sleeve shirt cutting. It was like two hundred degrees. Joe Louis Arena but but Isaiah. He's I think he is under appreciated. And this is another one where I think people allow the things that have happened after his career to impact the way we remember him like the Isaiah Thomas who was involved with the failure of the C. B. A. and the failure with the Nixon all the other things that have happened. Have nothing to do with the SAS Thomas who is a great basketball player and as a great player. I believe he has under appreciate well. This is too long of a discussion. Get into now at the end of this year but during his career he also there were a couple high profile incidents of Isaiah shooting himself in the foot number one was walking off the court without shaking hands. Which you can I said last week I actually think too too much is made of that. I didn't mind that at the time I kind of. Don't mind it now. A little kid me thought it was actually kind of cool because I mad loser in a spiteful luzern all that anyway so I kind of liked it. The other one that I for some reason is not really come much. Ammonia Jones is talking about. It is when he called when he said. Larry Bird would just be another guy if he was black. And I think that that If you go back and look I mean I had to do like a whole pr tour to try to get out of that. Including a press conference with Larry Bird at the one thousand nine hundred seven finals were Larry's wearing a disgusting trucker's hat and it's like dude. Can you at least take off the hat for the press? Conference that that heats. They're just. They're just as enough stuff from his playing career where it's like you didn't you. Didn't a half to shoot yourself in the foot that way but I as a player. There's just no. There's no question that he he probably belonged on the Dream Team and look back to back. Titles when you're talking about six titles in eight years and and the warriors winning three and five years whatever. It doesn't seem like much. The warriors repeated wants with an incredible assemblage of talent spurs did not repeat ever the heat repeated once and then dismantled after a while. It's hard to win two in a row and they were a truly great team that won two in a row and the warriors only repeated because they brought in the second best player in the League To join a team that was already in the finals And I'll say this to what is said about Larry. Bird's obviously it was a terrible thing to say as nothing to do with how good a player he was or wasn't you know what I mean like all these things the fact I think the bottom line of it is most people. Don't like Thomas. I say that with no rooting interest in at one way or the other. I barely know as Thomas doesn't make any difference. Mu People like him or not but it just bothers me that I hear him left out of conversations like let-let's even let's even say Okay Steph. Curry is passed him. Fair Curry has changed the sport forever. Let's give him that. I used to have this conversation on the Mike and Mike before Steph. Curry was Steph curry with Davidson. When I was having these conversations and people will be telling me Iverson was better than Isaiah. Thomas and I kept saying to those people. Did you watch Isaiah Thomas Now? Completely hijackers podcast. You're like I've taken away from where he wants to go. But sometimes I think people talk about how Isaiah Thomas Played. Didn't see as a Thomas play but if you watch these player he was unquestionably the best player. The bad boy pistons who were an all time. Great Team who? Who repeated time when repeating was all anyone ever did did not have another hall of. Famer in the big room so Joe Dumars in the hall of fame then. He deserves to be in the hall of fame. He was a terrific player but Joe dumars was at no point one of the six or seven best players in the league right. No the great teams in that era all had that I mean the the Bird Celtics and the Lakers. With massacring did and Michael had Scottie and Isaiah Thomas the next best player on that team was Joe Dumont and he was a terrific player. I'm not taking anything away from that. I believe he is in the hall of fame listening. I feel a little margin but but he's not someone he's not a player on that I'm not diminish again. He was probably the guard Jordan. Tougher than anybody guarded. Jordan news a fabulous player of the MVP of the finals. One year is great. But he wasn't Scottie Pippen and it wasn't he damn sure wasn't Kareem or magic. Whoever you WANNA put second there wasn't Kevin Mchale so like I say did it without a one of those guys on his team at a time when the eastern conference was a yet to play at Julius Erving and Moses Malone Money I gets there and then he's gotTa deal with bird and then he's gotTa deal with Jordan. I think Isaiah I think he gets the short end of the of the historical comparisons but by the way suit brought up bird celtics. They never repeated either. I mean re- winning two consecutive championships back then was like it was a huge deal when the Lakers did it right in the eighties. It was a huge deal and it says you know what you say. You didn't watch Thomas. It's just sort of a natural thing like if you're if you're born at a certain time you didn't watch certain players and so I I know that I know an agent in the NBA. Who because of the last dance sent all of his players An iconic Jordan game to watch all of his current clients and Date had never watched a full Michael Jordan game. Because you don't. It's not something you really do right. It's not something that you like. I'M GONNA sit down tonight and I'm going to watch game to start to finish of the one thousand nine hundred finals. Let me look at you. Watch you watch. Highlights you watch a couple of the last couple of minutes like they. Literally these are star players. Like I've never seen Michael Jordan. Play a full game from start to finish just sort of. That's that's how life is you. Don't you don't watch. I've never seen. Maybe I saw an Oscar Robertson game at some point when I'm doing a deep dive but I don't think I've ever seen Oscar Robertson play like an actual full NBA game you've seen Wilt Chamberlain play a full NBA game. No probably not I mean I. I remember him when I was a very little kid at the very end of his career. But no certainly not nothing even remotely close to his prime. I guess I would end my Soliloquy on Isaiah with this when people talk about the best players in the NBA in the eighties. And you don't have to have watched in the NBA in the Eighties. Old enough to know the eighties were in my opinion. A glorious era of basketball I do not in any way accept the idea that basketball is better now than it was. Then it's different. It's not worse but it's not better either. When people talk about the greatest players in the eighties I feel like they say Magic Larry and Julius erving and they leave out is eight. And I'm here to tell you Isaiah. Thomas belongs in that discussion with those guys and then there's Kareem in there. Were A if you want to start arguing over a handful of other people we can Kareem. I still think is best years really. Were in the seventies but that's neither here nor there Isaiah Thomas I think I thought of him as a kid learning in watching the game that he was that good and He won a championship in college as the best player on his team he won two. Nba Championships as the unquestioned. Best Player on his team. I think he deserves to be remembered in a Pantheon of players that he is always excluded from and maybe the primary reason is that people didn't like that's well put and I'll leave it there. I think that's I think that's really might give him a more than enough of your time. Obviously everybody knows they can watch you every morning. Get up. Which is I. Think one of the great success stories in our company and on TV in the last three or four years I love going on. I love watching in the morning. I really appreciate you coming on. And let's do it again soon sometime. We love having you but wait. I didn't get to say the thing I'm most wanted to say. And that is could so you said to me when we were texting the Michael Versus Lebron say. Oh boy here we go. This is this is a big deal in my house. Okay so my son has. I think I told you is seventeen. And He loves Lebron James and he loves the NBA. And he's a little bit also. He's a a product of this era. Where I think people fans are less attached to teams than they already individual players which is a huge difference from my childhood so as a kid growing up in New York when I did I hated all the great players on other teams because they were the enemy. Now you know people go to the garden to see Steph curry come to town and to see. Lebron James comes out. That's we never looked at it that way. I didn't I was going to the game to see the next did matter. They were play. Some of the Games were better than others. They're playing good teams but that was never the intention that's it. Here's my son said to me the other night as we're watching the show. What is it Michael? Jordan was better than Lebron. Like Lebron is bigger stronger. He's probably just as fast and is probably a better passer. He's got any number of things about him that if you just lining them up skill set by skillset. Lebron probably checks more boxes than Michael Dots. And I really can't argue with that but here's what I would say and maybe you just have to have seen it but if I were to ask you if there was one game of basketball being played and your life depended upon the outcome who would be the first player you would choose Michael still like. It's it and I think in a private moment so would Lebron. I think Lebron would take him. I think anyone saw would take it. And ultimately the objective of playing a basketball game is to win it and no one just one it like that guy did and I can't put it better than that and it isn't about who was a better shooter and who was it was about when when when when it came time to win a game. Michael Jordan was going to win it and part of that is because I never saw him not I never saw him not do it. And and that goes back to what we were saying a little while ago about how we never saw that team dethrone. So that would be my aunts. Is that Lebron? James can do things. Michael Jordan couldn't do that. No one else I've ever seen could and I would put Lebron James as the second best player I've ever said but I will take Michael to break the tie because if they were playing one game in my life depended upon the outcome. I would take him for sure and I would feel very very comfortable. I think when it's all when it's all said and done Lebron is GonNa have passed him. Statistically already has in most major categories obviously the game is totally different now versus when Michael played and and has been that way for almost the entirety of Lebron's career I would you ask. What was Michael Better at? I think there's an argument to be made that it would. There's an argument to be made that at their absolute apex is. Michael was a better defensive player. I'm not sure if that's true because I haven't thought it out yet and Lebron is obviously bigger and can offer a degree of rim protection. That Michael couldn't although Michael Shop lacking numbers for Guard. Were out of this world at that time and you see the highlights in the last dance. A lot of them are blocks swipes and all that new lebrons most iconic play is a defensive play But Michael as a as a one on one defender and just an all around pets. Maybe you could argue. Maybe it was better. He was he was just better at scoring. I think if you want if you want to hang your hat on one thing. The little bronze already passed him in points. You know I think right and and we're will And and he's Ashton. Yeah you pass them So I guess technically you could argue Lebron better score but Lebron is ahead of them in minutes played. Always play a lot more minutes. Michael Average thirty seven thirty five. You know he's just a better score one on one score and I think what we've seen with Kawai in the last couple of seasons is like there just is no substitute still for one on one scoring when it's down to it and it's the two best defensive teams in the NBA playing against each other at the absolute highest level. There is still no substitute for one on one scoring. That's an area where I'm not saying. That makes Michael Better. Because I think there's a pretty good chance that would it's also on. The brand is going to be known as the best all around player in the history of basketball but in that that one discreet area. He'll he'll never be Michael. And that one area amplifies an importance in the biggest games in the biggest moments and I think that's where Michael will always have him in war. We have everybody else that ever comes after him. I agree I think that's well said I think the the the beauty and the worst part of these arguments is that in order to make one guy's case you have to find ways to try to diminish the other men. Lebron James is is. It's hilarious that I have now since last answer came on Developed something of a reputation as being someone who is bashing Lebron when previously having my reputation was as someone who over I would hypoc Lebron too much people would accuse me of loving him too much of giving him too much credit of being all over him all the time so I love Lebron. I think he's unbelievable. There is. There's nothing on earth taking away from it but I'm saying there was just something about Michael Jordan's presence that made you say. Oh they're gonNA win like I don't know exactly how this game is going to go. Any number of things are going to happen but I can tell you now how it's going to end the team that has that guy is. GonNa wind up winning and and there is no more important quality that a great player can have than that and so to me that I would use. If we're going to say that there were splitting hairs. That's the hair I would split. Michael also has the. It's interesting how history is written by the winners so like the nine hundred ninety five playoffs when they lose to Orlando has just kind of like. It's just not talked about because it doesn't count. He had just come back from baseball Blah Blah Blah. If you throw that out you know their first six or seven years in the league. They don't win big. They don't win at the absolute highest level to both of them are parallel. What Michael if you throw ninety five out? What Michael Really doesn't have is a black mark and Lebron has the twenty eleven finals against a maths or he just didn't he just didn't play like Lebron just wasn't he was out of it. He wasn't mentally. He just didn't rise to the moment and in fact he he kind of cratered a little bit in the moment. And you could maybe place a couple of other games here. There are people. Throw the twenty ten playoffs Adam. These last playoffs with with the cavs. Michael doesn't have that and I think that as much as anything else colors this discussion because to your point he just an air of infallibility that note that Lebron will never have because we saw him on the very biggest stage just isolate the mavericks series. We saw him fail and he. He failed in a very high profile in spectacular way. And we just never saw with Michael Ever. That's that's right now. If you wanted to make one quick argument in favor of Lebron how many times was Lebron? The best player on the floor in series. He had no chance to win right. I mean and at least two finals I can think of The which was the year that the first year when when Kyrie level both hurt whatever your that was twenty fifteen fifteen I it. In my opinion it is a travesty. He wasn't voted. Mvp and I voted for. I'm voting for him. I was one of those. Who voted for him? Congratulations he was if they had gotten swept. I would have said you could vote. Anyone want the fact that that team won. Two Games in that series was an extraordinary accomplishment. And then he also. I thought was the best player on the floor and a series. They had no chance to win. The first year durant was there. They had no chance to beat that to no one was getting his seventeen twenty eighteen. Where Kyrie is gone by that point is that the JR Smith game with the Soak. They weren't GonNa win those series. What nobody that game may be game one when they go with the JR Smith Game? Now they go to overtime lose. Lebron has fifty or fifty one game. That might be the Best Game. I've ever seen any player play period multiple at the warriors have told me that's the best game they've ever seen anybody play because it was. Lebron and really supporting cast wasn't up to that I mean that's an all time warriors team. That's the team you're talking about Durant Klay all of them Lebron by himself was like I don't care that you have Steph and Katy to MVP's and all these other dudes I am single handedly going to win this game and I'm to bowl over draymond green lake. He's freaking bootzack low and lay the ball in time it was. He couldn't have kept that up over a full series but for that one game and they lost sight whatever. I don't know that I've ever seen anybody play like that planet. They were bad calls in that game. Remember there was a bad call late night game or at least a very questionable call on a on a block charge. That was being a very big deal. Late night game obviously. Jr Smith makes one of the colossal mistakes. That I've ever been made and a big spot that it's well documented so I put those things on Lebron's side so to be clear. I Don Hold Lebron's record in the finals. There's only one that I hold against him. And that's the one you point that I was the series against Dallas. They were the better team. He didn't play well and they lost. So that's the only one you hold against it but that is not to me the difference. I I'm not again if someone wants to tell me I I I enjoy this. I enjoy the give and take you get no argument from me. I'm Lebron but Michael just I don't know he. He was a combination of this On his podcast as well he was the the the most perfect combination of charisma and ferocity that I've ever seen so it's very hard to be the most charismatic person and the most ferocious competitor like. That's a very difficult line walk because usually ferocity isn't very pretty to watch but Jordan had a beauty. It was it was a thing of beauty to watch him play basketball and yet he was the most ferocious competitor out there. And you would you. Would you know he would kill you to beat you? But he did it in a way. That I'd like the gracefulness of Valor Ballet Dancer. It's it's an impossible combination and he was it So to to see him was like seeing something that I've never seen before and I am glad as a final thought here that so many younger people who are listening to this conversation right now who to your point never got a chance to see Michael Jordan. Play are getting to see what it is. All of us were so excited about that. But there's no games on so I would say those people go back and watch a game. Some of them are a little too grainy on YouTube. Go back and watch an early three peat like we were talking about before. Go back and watch Portland finals game and you'll just look at this guy and be like well. This guy is just. Wow you know go back and watch the sixty three point game against Boston. Google Watch one of those games anyway. Mike thank you for your time. Everyone knows where he wants you. I hope I get to see you in person at some point before. Twenty twenty one. But it's been a pleasure. Thanks man thank you. Thank you for having a good to see.