16 February 2013

Could Michael Jordan still play at 50? Who cares?

In case you have missed it, Michael Jordan is turning 50 tomorrow, coinciding with the 2013 NBA All-Star Game. We have been swamped with wall-to-wall coverage of Jordan's legacy from his six titles to his sneakers and fortunately, it has taken focus off of how incompetent Jordan is as a personnel guy.

But it also has given attention to the topic of could Jordan still play even as he hits his golden birthday. After all, it has been known that he still plays with Bobcats from time to time and still says he can take on young guys when he isn't taking team running that franchise into the ground and the reports that he beat rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in a game of one-on-one as well as his trainer saying he is ready for if he does decide to return have fueled the discussion. And to all that I say: who the hell cares?

Look, we have already seen MJ do this before, but do you really want me to remind you of his tenure with the Washington Wizards? I mean, when you look at the numbers, he actually played pretty well for somebody in his upper thirties, but he was also clearly a shell of himself. That two-year stint is also what people my age remember Jordan because we were too young to experience his brilliance in the 1990's. Plus, during that stint, he had been off for four years before returning for the Wizards. If he were to come back, it will have been a full decade since he last played. I mean, what would the purpose be of looking like a shell of the player that was a shell of his former self?

And what would the Bobcats gain from this, save for greater attendance and some media attention. This is a young team in rebuilding mode playing a lot of young guys and are building for the future. So playing a 50-year old looking to prove he still has his fastball really does not make any sense, particularly if he is taking minutes away from young guys who need the playing time. Plus, how awful would it be in that situation to be coach Mike Dunlap, where he would have to coach the guy who hired him.

I would love to say that it is a waste of time to discuss this storyline because there is no chance of it happening, but given Jordan's legendary competitiveness, we cannot rule him making another comeback out, unfortunately. Personally, I don't know why anybody would provide fans who saw him at his peak with more bad memories but there is little doubt in my mind that Jordan still thinks he can play at a high mark and would do everything possible to get ready to do so. But ultimately, no matter who it is, it is an absurd idea that carries a lot of risk with little reward.

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