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#pounditFriday, August 19, 2022

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan talking to Steph Curry at Ryder Cup gets meme treatment

Michael Jordan

Arguably the two greatest guards of their respective generations linking up at the Ryder Cup this week proved to be a goldmine of content for the World Wide Web.

Michael Jordan attended the prestigious golf competition on Friday and ran into Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry, who was providing analysis for the event for NBC Sports. Producer and Curry collaborator Erick Peyton took a picture of the two chatting together and posted it to Instagram.

The moment promptly got memed on Twitter, and many users filled in some hilarious captions. The jokes touched on everything from the two’s mutual relationship with Steve Kerr, the Nike-Under Armour rivalry, and Jordan’s infamous gambling habit. Here were some of the best ones.

In addition to all of the memes, the encounter between the two was probably a bit of a peace summit too. Just a couple years ago, Curry called out Jordan as a “hater” for saying that he was not yet a Hall of Fame player. The two got a chance to clear the air face-to-face about that, and the Internet got a chance to fire off a salvo of viral tweets. That’s a win-win all around.

Cade Cunningham explains why he thinks LeBron is the ‘GOAT’ over Jordan

Cade Cunningham

This year’s No. 1 overall pick is showing love to another former No. 1 overall pick in the greatest of all-time conversation.

Appearing this week on “Da Windy City with Marc Carman,” Detroit Pistons rookie Cade Cunningham said that he believes LeBron James is the “GOAT” over Michael Jordan. Cunningham explained that James is the best player that he has ever personally seen play.

“It’s hard for me to put somebody ahead of LeBron cause LeBron is the best player I’ve seen with my eyes,” said Cunningham. “Trust me I’ve seen all the Michael Jordan stuff, dude is different. I can’t argue with the fact that you think he is the ‘GOAT.’ But in my eyes I say LeBron.”

Keep in mind that Cunningham is still a teenager, having been born in late 2001. That means that Jordan was long retired before he was old enough to follow basketball, leaving Cunningham to rely on YouTube highlights and films like “The Last Dance.”

In any case, James and Jordan are widely seen as neck-and-neck in the “GOAT” conversation with James improving his standing by winning his fourth career championship last year. Still, many of those who are old enough to have faced both players seem to have a different opinion.

H/T Lakers Daily

Michael Jordan makes good with Luc Longley in new documentary appearance

Michael Jordan

Former Chicago Bulls center Luc Longley was left out of the popular documentary series “The Last Dance,” but Michael Jordan has since made it clear that the omission is not a reflection of his level of respect for the Australian big man.

Jordan recently told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that not giving Longley any airtime is the one thing he regrets about “The Last Dance.” Longley, who was a starter and key contributor on Bulls teams that won three championships in a row from 1996-1998, admitted to being disappointed that he was left out.

“I can understand why Australia would say, ‘Well, why wouldn’t we include Luc [Longley]?’ And we probably should have,” Jordan admitted earlier this month. “And if I look back and could change anything, that’s probably what I would have changed.”

Jordan reiterated his stance in a two-part documentary series about Longley that aired in Australia earlier this week. He had high praise for the former center and said he would not have wanted anyone else on his team.

“He matters to me and his story needs to be told and I’m pretty sure I can enlighten it from my perspective and give people his meaningfulness from me as a teammate, as a competitor,” Jordan said.

Longley said he was disappointed that he was left out of “The Last Dance” but not shocked.

“The self-deprecating Australian in me thinks it’s because I’m not that exciting. I was playing a huge role but it wasn’t one that was that sexy,” he said, via The West Australian. “There were so many beautiful, bright, shiny stars out there to focus on that, you know, it makes sense to me that that story wasn’t about me. Makes perfect sense.”

Longley played four and a half seasons for the Bulls. Those who followed the team know all about him, but younger fans don’t, and “The Last Dance didn’t give him his due. He is not the only former Bull who had an issue with the documentary. Jordan clearly wishes he could have a do-over for Longley.

Toni Kukoc chooses Michael Jordan, Jerry Reinsdorf as his Hall of Fame co-presenters

Toni Kukoc

Michael Jordan will be making an appearance on stage for the Basketball Hall of Fame inductions next month.

Toni Kukoc is being inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame as an election from the international committee. He has chosen MJ and Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf to be his co-presenters.

Other inductees missing from the list above are Chris Webber, who will be presented by Isiah Thomas, and Jay Wright, who will be presented by Charles Barkley, Billy Cunningham, Herb Magee and George Raveling.

Kukoc, 52, currently serves as a special advisor to Reinsdorf. He was drafted by the Bulls in 1990 and came over to the team from Europe for the 1993-1994 season. He eventually played 13 seasons in the NBA, winning three championships with the Bulls and an NBA Sixth Man of the Year award.

Kukoc averaged 11.6 points per game on 44.7 percent shooting and showed that European players could thrive in the NBA.

“I ended up over the years I guess, actually right now I can say it being a Hall of Famer: I proved myself to them, I proved myself to the coaches, I proved myself to the fans of Chicago that I was worth taking a chance on,” Kukoc said recently via CSN Chicago.

The enshrinement ceremony will take place on Sept. 11.

Charles Barkley shares why he ranks Michael Jordan over LeBron James

Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley has long said that Michael Jordan is hands-down the greatest NBA player of all time, and he reiterated in an interview this week that there is nothing LeBron James can do to change his mind.

Barkley was once again asked to compare Jordan and James during a recent appearance on HBO’s “Back on the Record” with Bob Costas. He said LeBron is “amazing” and praised him for his work both on the court and in the community, but he does not feel his accomplishments will ever quite stack up to Jordan’s.

“The reason I put Michael up there above those other guys — LeBron has stacked his teams, let’s be realistic,” Barkley said. “What Giannis (Antetokounmpo) and Dirk Nowitzki and guys like that have done, to go through the grind and to lose, which Michael did, that’s what separates sports. … That’s the difference in my opinion.”

Barkley certainly is not the first person to make that argument. LeBron deserves credit for singlehandedly bringing some Cleveland Cavaliers teams to the NBA Finals, but he wasn’t able to win a championship until he teamed up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. He then returned to Cleveland to win a third title, but he had Kyrie Irving. James won his fourth championship with the Los Angeles Lakers after they acquired Anthony Davis.

Of course, Jordan had some help. He was fortunate to have Scottie Pippen as a teammate throughout his whole career. The Bulls also signed Ron Harper, traded for Dennis Rodman, and drafted Toni Kukoc. All of those players were instrumental in helping Jordan pile up championships.

Even if LeBron adds a fifth title to his resume next season, Barkley is not going to change his mind after the Lakers recently acquired Russell Westbrook.

Barkley has had much harsher comments in the past when asked to compare M.J. and LeBron. You can see more of his discussion with Costas below:

Michael Jordan shares one regret about ‘The Last Dance’

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan has made an admission about the one thing he would change from the popular “The Last Dance” documentary.

The Last Dance” was a 10-part documentary series about the 1990s Chicago Bulls. The series provided background to viewers on what led up to the 1997-1998 season, which was the last season before the Bulls broke apart their sixth championship team of the ’90s.

The series did huge TV ratings, was highly popular, and helped reintroduce Michael Jordan to a whole new age of sports fans. But one thing it did not do is give due and air time to one member of the Bulls’ starting five: Australian center Luc Longley.

Longley barely received any attention from the documentary. That left him “bummed” in his words.

“I didn’t expect to be a heavy feature in it because they hadn’t interviewed me, but I did expect to be in it more than I was,” Longley told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “Sitting there on the couch and watching episode after episode where I wasn’t in it — yeah, I was bummed about that.”

The series director said it was too expensive to send a film crew to Australia for Longley’s contribution, which is why the 52-year-old former center was largely omitted.

Steve Kerr, who was a key contributor for the ’90s Bulls, said that he knew Longley was “hurt” by the omission.

Even MJ recognizes that the lack of Longley’s presence was a problem.

“I can understand why Australia would say, ‘Well, why wouldn’t we include Luc [Longley]?’ And we probably should have. And if I look back and could change anything, that’s probably what I would have changed,” Jordan told Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Longley played four and a half seasons for the Bulls and was a starter on their teams that won three championships in a row from 1996-1998. Those who followed the Bulls know all about Longley, but younger fans don’t, and the documentary didn’t give him his due. He wouldn’t be the only former Bull to have an issue with the documentary.

Alex Ovechkin pays tribute to Michael Jordan with contract announcement

Alex Ovechkin

Alex Ovechkin on Tuesday announced that he was returning to the Washington Capitals on a new contract. The way he made the announcement was a nod to Michael Jordan.

Ovi shared a tweet saying “I’m back DC !!!!!”

What does that have to do with Jordan?

In 1995, when Jordan decided to return to the NBA after a brief attempt playing professional baseball, he did so with an announcement that said, “I’m back.”

Ovi was going for the same feeling.

Not only is Ovechkin back, but he signed a 5-year, $47.5 million deal, ensuring the 35-year-old should be with the Caps for years to come.

Steve Kerr has hot take comparing Kevin Durant to Michael Jordan

Steve Kerr

Steve Kerr won three NBA championships as Michael Jordan’s teammate in Chicago and another two as Kevin Durant’s coach in Golden State. His latest hot take about the two all-time greats may surprise you though.

Speaking this week with NBC Sports Bay Area’s Raj Mathai, the Warriors head coach Kerr touched on Durant, whom he will be coaching again as an assistant for Team USA this summer.

“He just showed he’s the most talented basketball player on earth, if not of all time,” Kerr said. “Honestly. He’s just so gifted. I loved coaching him, and I’m looking forward to doing so again.”

Kerr even stuck to his guns when the interviewer countered that Jordan was perhaps the most talented basketball player of all-time instead.

“I think he’s more gifted [than Jordan], I really do,” Kerr said of Durant. “That’s saying something, but Kevin is a different … entirely different breed. He’s 6-11 with guard skills, unlimited 3-point range, passing, shot-blocking — his shot-blocking at the rim, it’s just stunning. Watching him this year was really, really gratifying to see.”

In truth, the comparison is a pretty difficult one to make because Jordan and Durant are different sizes and played two different positions. Jordan was a more gifted scorer in the post, which was a bigger point of emphasis during his era, while Durant is a more gifted scorer from the three-point line, the greater point of emphasis in his own era.

It is also inevitable that pro athletes will become more physically gifted as the decades go by and evolution runs its course. Seven-footers in the mold of Durant, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Nikola Jokic who can shoot the three and put the ball on the floor were unheard-of during Jordan’s time. Similarly, high-flying players like Jordan who lived above the rim and could score from any angle imaginable were unheard-of in Bob Cousy’s time.

Still, Durant might not be too pleased about Kerr’s comments here. He was dismissive of a recent attempt to compare him to Jordan on social media.

Kwame Brown says Michael Jordan never actually wanted him on Wizards

Kwame Brown

There have been conflicting accounts through the years of whether or not Michael Jordan wanted the Washington Wizards to draft Kwame Brown in 2001. Some say Jordan pushed for Brown, while others claim the team’s front office went behind his back and made the pick. It sounds like the real story falls somewhere in the middle.

Brown spoke about the situation on his YouTube live stream recently. The former No. 1 overall pick said it is his understanding that Jordan wanted the Wizards to draft him, but only to trade him for Elton Brand.

“They never drafted me with the intention of me staying a Washington Wizard. I was supposed to be traded,” Brown said. “MJ was a 39-year-old man. I’m not saying this to bash him, but MJ is from an era where young guys didn’t play. Young guys had to prove themselves and earn the right to play. I was drafted in order to be traded for Elton Brand (so he could) come to the Wizards so MJ could get into the playoffs and compete for a championship.”

Brown, who underachieved in his 12 NBA seasons and was labeled a bust, said he was eventually smeared by the Wizards because Jordan didn’t get his way.

“MJ is a very shrewd businessman,” Brown added. “What company ever bought a product that they had time to look at, examine, check your mind, check your heart, your blood, your family, they know everything about you. What company that knows everything about you then turns around and bashes the product that they put out? That’s because MJ did not get what he wanted.”

Brown said he never took it personally that Jordan wanted Brand, as Brand was playing extremely well at the time and Jordan was getting up there in age. However, Brown was clearly bothered by the way the Wizards handled the situation and the things that have been said since.

Jordan was extremely hard on Brown during their brief time as teammates. Though, Brown says one of the most surprising stories we have heard is not true.

It would make sense if Jordan wanted the Wizards to draft Brown to flip him for Brand. That would help explain why there have been reports that Jordan chose Brown as the No. 1 overall pick but also did not show him any love.

Michael Jordan could make cameo in new ‘Space Jam’ movie?

Michael Jordan

The sequel to “Space Jam” may be getting a boost from the star of the original film.

Actor Don Cheadle, who plays the main villain in this summer’s upcoming “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” hinted this week at a Michael Jordan cameo.

“Michael Jordan is in the movie, but not in the way you would expect it,” Cheadle told NBC’s ‘Access Hollywood.’

Jordan, of course, headlined the original 1996 “Space Jam,” which became a major box office success and cultural hit. However, he did not agree to star in the sequel, which will instead star LeBron James.

“Space Jam: A New Legacy” will have a pretty strong supporting cast around James as well. While we have yet to get Jordan’s official thoughts on the new movie, Cheadle’s comments indicate that His Airness is giving it at least somewhat of a seal of approval.