Jordan Speaks on the Evolution of Hoops

Choice quote coming from His Airness himself in an interview with Ronald Lazenby. At various points in his career, Kobe's been grilled about his perceived "imitation" of Jordan. Here, MJ weighs in with his take on Bryant's debt to him -- and what it has to do with the bigger picture of basketball history: ↵
↵⇥Jordan acknowledged Bryant is the best of a generation of players who have tried to be like Mike. ↵⇥
↵⇥
↵⇥"But how many people lighted the path for me?" Jordan asked. "That's the evolution of basketball. There's no way I could have played the way I played if I didn't watch David Thompson and guys prior to me. There's no way Kobe could have played the way he's played without watching me play. So, you know, that's the evolution of basketball. You cannot change that." ↵
↵It's naive to pretend that Jordan, hands-down the greatest ever, didn't cause a seismic shift in the way the game's played. Dr. J and David Thompson were the preamble to his game, but he's the one who took it to the next level. At the same time, it's important to note, as Jordan does, that even he has a debt to the past. As Kobe's gotten more mature as a player -- increasingly cerebral, less explicitly high-flying, and developing a vocabulary that's very much his own -- it's getting harder and harder to say he's a shameless biter. Funny, we used to think it was a matter of rings. But really, it's about both accurately putting players in their historical context, and then noting the ways they've moved the game forward. ↵
↵
↵If you really want to mix things up, what about Iverson? Arguably the most influential, or at most stylistically important, player to come along after Jordan, you'd be hard-pressed to find a guy who can come within a country mile of effectively emulating AI.↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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