While promoting his new video game, NBA 2K11, Michael Jordan made a comment in passing that might raise some eyebrows. How effective would be in the modern-day NBA? From ESPN:
"It's less physical and the rules have changed, obviously. Based on these rules, if I had to play with my style of play, I'm pretty sure I would have fouled out or I would have been at the free throw line pretty often and I could have scored 100 points."
And... Well, first of all, he's probably right. With the disappearance of hand-checking and the NBA's increasingly guard-centric style of play, Jordan would have been murderous. I mean, even more murderous. But who says stuff like that? Can't you just picture a surly Jordan, cigar hanging out of his mouth, chuckling about how much better he is than today's players?
Maybe he would have scored 100 points, but here's an important distinction about Jordan. If he played in today's NBA, he'd be playing with today's media. And all those lost stories about his boorish behavior, his insufferable persona, and his pathological tendencies... Those would be front-and-center.
He'd still be the greatest player ever, and maybe even more effective than he was, but we'd remember him differently. Maybe more accurately. Because if Jordan played in 2010, nobody would hesitate to call him what he's been all along: An insanely talented douchebag.
Because unlike Jordan's heyday, we can spot 'em from a mile away these days.