Gary Vitti, the executive producer of Michael Jordan’s winning NBA championship teams during his six-championship career in Chicago said that he faced “weak” competition and thus was able to win. Great players like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar retired before his team had any chance at beating Michael Jordan back then. The Lakers were done because Kareem had retired, there was no challenge there for MJ,…
Michael Jordan retired from the basketball game in 2003, and he was 43 years old. He faced a lot of competition during his six championships, but according to Gary Vitti, who coached Michael Jordan’s Bulls team for eight seasons, “Lakers were done because Kareem had retired.” The Celtics got old very very fast. There was no challenge there.
Michael Jeffrey Jordan is one of the greatest basketball players of all time. The Bulls superstar retired with all the laurels one could desire as a 14-time All-Star, 10-time Scoring Champ, 5-time MVP, and 11-time All-NBA player.
His greatest notable achievement, though, was guiding the Bulls to six NBA championships in the 1990s. He would create history by capturing two three-peats against very tough opposition over the course of eight years.
Even yet, not everyone views Michael Jackson’s run the same way now.
Former Lakers trainer Gary Vitti described Jordan’s postseason opponents as “weak” during an interview on Scoop B Radio, downplaying the challenge he endured in earning some of those championships.
“When Michael received his first ring in 1991, and the five that followed, there was no one left. Kareem had retired, and Magic had tested positive with HIV in 1991, thus the Lakers were over. So he wasn’t challenged again by the great Laker team, the ones that, since Kareem had already retired before ’91, he wasn’t part of the series versus I don’t know what they would have done if he had been there. What were they going to do with Kareem when they had Bill Cartwright and Cliff Levingston?
So he didn’t play for the Lakers, and the Celtics became old quickly. The Celtics were done when Bird, Parish, and McHale all became elderly at the same time. There was no competition there, and the Pistons were finished, so when you look at the six rings the Bulls won, you can see that they didn’t play anybody, even championship-caliber teams from the 1980s like as the Lakers, Sixers, Celtics, and Pistons. All four of those teams had practically completed their run, and it was finished, so it doesn’t detract from his performance because he performed exactly what he was meant to do. He dominated, but it wasn’t the same game; it was something else.”
The ‘Showtime’ Lakers heyday came to an end with the 1991 Finals. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had retired two years before, and it was Magic’s last complete season.
Jordan was never able to defeat Larry Bird in the playoffs, with Bird going 6-0 in the series they played. The Celtics were a shadow of themselves by the time Jordan’s Bulls arrived on the scene in the 1990s, and Bird eventually retired at the conclusion of the 1991-92 season.
Similarly, the Pistons caused Jordan problems early on until Father Time terminated their run just as the Bulls were getting ready to start their peak period.
Vitti is correct in a number of ways. Jordan benefited from a number of opportunities during the 1990s, since it was a transitional period in which many long-standing great dynasties fell victim to the passage of time.
However, the Malone/Stockton Utah Jazz, the late 1990s Pacers, and even the ’92-93 New York Knicks with Charles Oakley, John Starks, Doc Rivers, and Charles Smith all encountered a lot of tough competition at the top levels.
Jordan, like every other NBA player, endured several obstacles, despite the fact that his career timing was somewhat fortunate. But can we blame him for capitalizing on an era that appeared tailor-made for his arrival?