Recently, I noticed that fans are questioning if Michael Jordan played in a watered down era. The question has been posed time and time again. I do not understand why it gets brought up in the first place. Seriously? WTF? Dude. Stop it. I bet the question came up as a statement when Jordan was dominating the NBA. I would not be surprised if it came from an old timer during Bill Russell’s era. I am shaking my head at this garbage. Today, the question became a meme. Are you trying to discredit Michael with the question?
Think before you ask the question. What are you trying to accomplish? It is a stupid question. Why did you target Jordan? We never hear this question posed on Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Bill Russell, and any other NBA legend who won rings. Why Mike? It’s already a loaded question. “Watered down” has negative connotations for starters. Some kind of hate is pre-programmed in the person who asked it.
The common answer used to this is expansion. This is the answer? Look, expansion is not the answer. Seriously? Only six teams were added (Dallas, Miami, Charlotte, Vancouver, Orlando, and Toronto) in the 1980s and 1990s unless I’m missing a team. Those teams sucked when they started out even when they made the playoffs except for Orlando during that time. I am not calling that as watered down. They just sucked. Now we are looking at 5 out of the 6 teams. Big deal. Magic and Bird played against those teams during their time except for Vancouver and Toronto. Why isn’t expansion applied to them?
The Orlando Magic, with Shaq and Penny, was a real threat. They were considered a super team with the addition of Horace Grant. They were a threat to win the title when Shaq was there. As proof, they knocked MJ’s Bulls out of the playoffs getting the Magic to the NBA Finals. Granted, Michael just came back from baseball and wasn’t 100 percent in game shape. Orlando, being a great team, eliminates expansion as an answer. If the NBA did not expand, Orlando would not have existed. The Magic would not have knocked out the Bulls.
I don’t care where you stand. When the playoffs start, there is no such thing as “watered down.” Most teams entering the playoffs are most likely above .500 depending on conference circumstances.
Is there jealousy when this question was raised? Yep, plenty. Was there hate for Jordan? Yep, plenty. Here is my take on the truth – Michael Jordan destroyed the league. He looked too good and made things appear too easy. Old timers look at that and claim “Oh shit. These kids are terrible. They can’t hang. It’s not like our day during our time. Something isn’t right. The league is watered down. Yeah, Jordan is dominating in a watered down era.”
The common mistake is looking at the addition of teams. In reality, we need to examine the rules of the game. Jordan played in a hand checking, camp in the paint, tough foul era. The perimeter player was not protected compared to today’s game where all of that is eliminated. The old timers will say that Jordan did not face his rivals that much compared to Wilt and Russell. Oh? Detroit’s Bad Boys wrecked Michael in three consecutive playoff series. They molested Jordan. Don’t believe me? Go watch the series on Youtube. How is that watered down? The Bulls had to face them each year in the playoffs for four straight years. Chicago also had to face them in 4 regular season games each season. They faced the New York Knicks a lot. Michael faced the Utah Jazz in back to back Finals. He faced his rivals each season. That argument that he doesn’t face his rivals enough does not work.
For the last time, Michael Jordan did not play in a watered down era. If you still believe that then what about Shaq, Duncan, Kobe, Wade, Garnett, and Dirk? Teams relocated. Only one team, Charlotte Bobcats, was added. The league heavily favors perimeter players with the rule changes.
If anything, the league today is watered down after Jordan left. Stay mad.