Unless you’re buried ten thousand feet below the earth’s crust, you’re probably aware of ESPN’s newest documentary about the 1997-1998 Chicago Bulls, The Last Dance.
The first two episodes of the 10-episode series debuted on Sunday night and it’s awesome. As someone born in 1989, Michael Jordan’s Bulls weren’t something I was extremely cognizant of at the time. Being able to see this peek behind the curtain is all sorts of fun.
Here at Mavs Moneyball, well, there’s not much to do. Let’s be real. We’re all dreaming of the next time we can see Luka Doncic whip passes to the corners, but in the meantime we thought it’d be fun to take a look back at the times in recent years we’ve been able to write about Jordan, whenever he stumbles into the Mavericks atmosphere.
Michael Jordan says Dirk Nowitzki could play in his era
Back in February of 2013, I was sitting in my underwear unemployed with a journalism degree. As one does. As I scrolled through social media on my computer, a feature on Jordan turning 50 from ESPN’s Wright Thompson popped onto my feed. Side note: me and Michael Jordan share the same birthday! We’re practically twins.
As I went through the story, this paragraph jumped off the screen and slapped my eyeballs.
JORDAN PLAYS his new favorite trivia game, asking which current players could be nearly as successful in his era. “Our era,” he says over and over again, calling modern players soft, coddled and ill-prepared for the highest level of the game. This is personal to him, since he’ll be compared to this generation, and since he has to build a franchise with this generation’s players.
”I’ll give you a hint,” he says. “I can only come up with four.”
He lists them: LeBron, Kobe, Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki.
I immediately started writing this post for Mavs Moneyball, which ended up being our all-time viewed article for years. It still makes me smile reading that passage in the feature. Knowing that Dirk grew up with posters of Jordan on his wall only for Jordan, the most competitive and cantankerous players of all time, to respect him this much. It’s still pretty awesome to this day. I’ve always said that the best way to quickly describes Dirk’s game is “7-foot Michael Jordan.” So yeah, this was cool.
Highlights of Dirk Nowitzki and Michael Jordan combining for 59 points in 2003
A few years ago, one of our former staffers Austin Ngaruiya put together this video clip of Dirk playing against Jordan, during Jordan’s comeback season with the Washington Wizards. It was pretty cool and a great stroll down memory lane.
What if Dirk and Jordan played together?
That question was part of the basis for an older post on Nylon Calculus that I can’t currently link to because the original link doesn’t work because the Internet kind of sucks that way.
The post did a fun look at what teams Jordan should have played for if it wasn’t for Washington. Dallas was mentioned, citing a potential super team next to the Dallas big three of Dirk, Michael Finley and Steve Nash. Man, that would have been sweet.
Our own Doyle Rader aggregated this piece for us, going mad scientist on us about all the possibilities Jordan in Dallas would bring.
Can you imagine that team with Jordan, though? I don’t care if NC thinks they would be bad defensively. They already were. (They weren’t actually, as Bobby Karalla informs me.) Besides, Raja Bell was good enough to guard five players at once anyway. But just think of the insane Jordan lineups that Don Nelson would roll out. Jordan and Dirk! Jordan and Nash! Jordan and Finley! Jordan and Nick the Quick! Jordan and Eddie Energy! Jordan and Raef! Jordan and Abdul-Wahad! Jordan and Eschmeyer! This last pairing would have set Alta Vista on fire! It would have been glorious. Heck, Jordan would probably play three or four positions for Nelly. It’s Nelly! It’s Jordan! It’s everything! Imagine the gambling and cigar smoking. YES! Jordan’s jersey would be in the rafters at the AAC by now. No, you stop salivating!
Luka Doncic keeps passing Michael Jordan in impressive stats
There are a lot of awesome things about Luka Doncic and the dizzying number of statistical achievements he’s piling up is just a small piece of the puzzle.
Personally, I feel like these stats go a little overboard (“Luka The Only 21-years, 141 Day Old Player To Score 35 Points and Grab 8 Rebounds”) but this one was pretty neat — Doncic surpassed Jordan’s record of games with at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists earlier this season, reaching 19 games in early December of last year.
It certainly won’t be the last time Doncic’s name is paired with Jordan. Doubly so since Luka’s signed with Jordan Brand.