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Is Jordan’s legacy over? The greatest achievement of a basketball and NBA legend is in doubt

Date: July 17, 2024 Time: 16:41:00

In the 1987-1988 season, the legendary Michael Jordan made NBA history as the first player to simultaneously become the leading scorer and best defensive player. No one has yet been able to repeat this unique achievement. At that time, Jordan was only 25 years old. What if we said that the impartiality of the DPOY award was somewhat questionable after the emergence of interesting new data?

“This is one of the goals I have set for myself. I wanted to show people that I am more than just a goalscorer. “I’m a two-way player,” Jordan said after winning the 1988 Defensive Player of the Year award. However, the story begins a year earlier, when Michael Cooper of the Los Angeles Lakers received the DPOY in 1987. Michael was upset because He became the first player in NBA history to make at least 200 steals and 100 blocked shots that season, but he only received one vote from journalists for the prestigious award. In turn, Cooper received 25 of 78 votes and took the statuette.

Michael Jordan

Photo: Getty Images

“Michael Cooper is great at stopping you from getting the ball. But he looks at the other stats of him. This league offers protective rewards for reputation. It just bothers me,” Jordan expressed his outrage after the award was given to Cooper. Therefore, next season, the future legend of all basketball aimed to become the best at everything. MJ averaged 35.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 3.2 steals and 1.6 blocks per game in the 1987-88 season. Figures unattainable for defenders.

Until now, the Chicago Bulls hero is the only one in history who managed to average more than 30 points and make more than three steals in a single season. But the thing is, Jordan’s stats at home differed significantly from those on the road. Yahoo Sports reporter Tom Haberstroh did a detailed analysis and it contained a lot of interesting details.

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First, Jordan averaged a mind-blowing 4.0 steals and 2.1 blocks in Chicago, while away from home his stats nearly doubled to 2.1 steals and 1.2 blocks. Second, there was cheating: after watching Jordan’s five home games that season, Haberstoch counted eight interceptions in total, while official statistics credited him with 23 interceptions in those same games. This suggests that Bob Rosenberg, Chicago’s statistician at the time, may have credited Jordan with interceptions in situations that only vaguely resembled such actions.

That season, Jordan played in all 82 league games. On the home court in 41 games, he recorded 165 interceptions and 87 blocked shots, and on the road he only had 94 interceptions and 47 blocked shots. The difference is colossal. Starting with the 1982/1983 season, a new metric called Actions (from a combination of the words Blocks and Steals) was established, which showed the difference between home and away performance. So Jordan’s stock at the United Center was 5.50 and in road games it was 3.02. In no other case in history where a basketball player has received a DPOY award has the difference been greater than 60%. MJ has an impressive 82%!

SeasonPlayerStart ActionsVisitor actionsDifference in %1987/1988Michael Jordan5,503,02821988/1989Mark Eaton5,363,38591985/1986Alvin Robertson5,093,32532004/2005Ben Wallace4,542,97532022/2023Jaren Jackson6,104,06501983/1 98 ydney Moncrief1.851.32412003/2004Ron Artest3.092, 28362005 /2006Ben Wallace4,693,46351989/1990Dennis Rodman1,931,48302002/2003Ben Wallace4,733,6330

This behavior by those responsible for statistics was the norm in the NBA in those years. For example, in the 1960s, during the confrontation between Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain, in one of the seasons they played 26 games with at least 40 rebounds. In each of these 26 matches, none played away from home! In the 1980s, home teams annually recorded 800 more blocked shots and approximately 450 more steals than visiting teams. Subsequently, the situation began to stabilize, largely thanks to the transition of all statistics to computers. Previously, all reports were submitted on paper. For example, last season the difference between home and away statistics practically disappeared: the hosts committed 135 more blocked shots and 13 interceptions than the guests.

In fact, there are no complete records of Michael Jordan’s games on the Internet during his great 1987/1988 season. However, there is a video of a game with the New Jersey Nets in the regular season, where His Air made 10 interceptions. It is true that he only counted five interceptions 100%, which cannot be criticized at all, and two more were quite dubious, but even if they are seven, in any case they are not 10, as the title of the video says. And one user wrote a comment: “Still waiting for 10 interceptions.” Watch and tell for yourself.

The video can be seen on the official NBA channel on YouTube. Video rights belong to NBA MEDIA VENTURES, LLC.

Neither Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, nor Magic Johnson, nor LeBron James, nor anyone else in the NBA managed to become the best defensive player and the best scorer in the same season. In this, Jordan surpassed all legends, becoming something unique. Chicago’s No. 23 won an incredible number of individual awards throughout his career, but it wasn’t until 1988 that he became the Defensive Player of the Year. Perhaps his statistical indicators were inflated, as we already understood, this was the norm in those years. But with nine first-team All-Defensive selections and three seasons in which MJ led the NBA in steals, he certainly deserved at least one DPOY award.

Michael Jordan had a mind-blowing performance during that legendary season, although his statistics are now in question. This doesn’t take away from the fact that he single-handedly led Chicago, which had just acquired newcomers Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant, and Artis Gilmore was already on the verge of retiring. Jordan’s only important partner was Charles Oakley, who was second in importance after Michael himself. Once again, no one before Jordan managed to simultaneously become the best scorer and the best defensive player in the NBA. Only MJ was able to reach this height and this, even with the current doubts about the statistics, is still an incredible achievement.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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