No, Michael Jordan is not the greatest college basketball player of all time

No, Michael Jordan is not the greatest college basketball player of all time

Late Tuesday evening, the official SportsCenter Twitter account posted the results to its greatest college basketball player of all-time bracket, voted on by the masses.

The winner: Michael Jordan. He took down Larry Bird, who carried Indiana State to a narrow defeat in one of the more memorable title games in NCAA history against Magic Johnson and the Michigan State Spartans in 1979.

It's not often you'll see us argue against Jordan as the GOAT in any category. But, frankly, this is ludicrous. 

Yes, Jordan hit the game-winning jumper en route to a national title in his freshman season, earned consensus national player of the year honors as a junior, was a two-time first-team all-American and racked up a number of ACC-specific honors (rookie of the year in '81-82, two first team all-ACCs and two ACC tournament wins) in his three years at storied North Carolina. Those accolades are nothing to scoff at, and certainly becoming of a deep run in such a tournament.

But come on, now.

It took only one scroll into SportsCenter's mentions to find a compelling case against Jordan:

That last point cannot be emphasized enough. Abdul-Jabbar (then Lew Alcindor) was so dominant at the college level they changed the damn rules of the game to try and level the playing field! And all of that is without mentioning his averages of 26.4 points and 16.8 rebounds on 63.9% shooting, three first-team All-American nods, one Naismith and two AP player of the year awards in his three seasons at UCLA.

Another name that warrants mention in this discussion: Breanna Stewart, who starred at UConn from 2012-2016. Here's her resume in bulleted form, because typing it out would leave about as daunting a block of text as one could imagine:

  • 151-5 record (including NCAA tournaments)
  • Four-time NCAA champion
  • Four-time NCAA tournament Most Outstanding Player
  • Three-time NCAA consensus national player of the year
  • Three-time consensus first team All-American

Heck, even Bill Walton, who won two national titles, two NCAA tournament MOPs (he dropped 44 points on 21-for-22 shooting in the 1973 title game) and three national player of the year awards at UCLA while averaging a 20 and 16 on 65% shooting might have a case. The list goes on.

The bottom line is that this debate centers on the greatest college player of all-time. Putting Jordan's accolades at the NBA level aside, he doesn't fit that bill. Whether you prefer Alcindor, Stewart or some other credible candidate remains up for debate.

As we continue to adjust to life without live sports, you can be sure it will rage on.

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Report: Vote scheduled for ‘20-to-22’ team NBA return plan, expected to pass

Report: Vote scheduled for ‘20-to-22’ team NBA return plan, expected to pass

The NBA is expected to have a plan to resume its season approved by owners at a vote on Thursday, June 4, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports.

The news comes on the heels of a call with the Board of Governors Friday that yielded nothing definitive. Four potential formats for relaunching the season and a target date of July 31 to resume play were reportedly floated.

But the above report from Wojnarowski marks the most marked progress towards the league formally agreeing on a return-to-play plan to date.

Predictably, the precise details of the plan are not yet known. In conjunction with Zach Lowe and Ramona Shelburne, Wojnarowski reported that the plan is expected to feature invitations for “20-to-22” teams.

That would mean no invite for the Bulls — perhaps a blessing in disguise (or dressed plainly). The Bulls are currently paused with the 24th-best record in the NBA at 22-43, and are 8.5 games back of the eighth-seeded Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference.

Still, the team opened the Advocate Center Friday morning with clearance from both Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago officials. Players in the area will be permitted to undergo NBA-sanctioned treatments at the facility, an opportunity which Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn have already taken advantage of. Voluntary, socially-distanced, individual workouts may begin Wednesday when Chicago is expected to enter Phase 3 of its reopening. Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley will be en route to the city soon.

The NBA suspended its season on March 11 after Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus. A resumption bid seems on the cusp of coming to fruition.

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How story of Michael Jordan secretly practicing with Warriors was unearthed

How story of Michael Jordan secretly practicing with Warriors was unearthed

Before Michael Jordan rejoined the Bulls, he was a Warrior for 48 hours. Figuratively, of course.

No, Jordan didn’t officially sign (or even consider the notion) with the Warriors during the MLB strike that punctuated his first retirement amid the 1994-95 NBA season. But he did secretly practice with the Dubs multiple times whilst retired — and, with rare purpose, dominated multiple All-Stars in midseason condition. 

That story was unearthed on NBC Sports’ “Sports Uncovered” podcast. Some of the people behind the production of the podcast, NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson, Ryan McGuffey and Tony Gill, joined Jason Goff on the most recent episode of the Bulls Talk Podcast to discuss the behind-the-scenes machinations behind its creation.

McGuffey called the secret Jordan-Warriors practice runs the “golden uncovered nugget” of the podcast. And it came about rather serendipitously, in a chance interview with Tim Hardaway.

“The Tim Hardaway interview kind of fell in our lap. He was in our office one day and it was like, ‘Hey, do you want Tim Hardaway?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah!’” McGuffey said. “I mean, he was an All-Star. I don’t know if it’ll give us anything, I don’t know if it’ll lead to anything. 

“Sometimes the interviews you don’t plan for are the ones that become a stone that you turn over and you’re like ‘What is this?’ And Tim Hardaway made a comment, I asked about the Berto Center practices and whether or not he understood what was going on here in Chicago. And he said, ‘I’m gonna get in trouble for saying this.’ ... When a guy says that, you know you got something."

They did, indeed. From there, on recommendation from Hardaway, the crew got in touch with Rod Higgins, then an assistant coach with the Warriors, now the Atlanta Hawks' VP of basketball operations. As detailed in the podcast, it was through a connection with Higgins that Jordan was even allowed to participate in the practices in the first place.

McGuffey and company entered their sit-down with Higgins ready to pry, equipped with volumes of follow-up questions and previously-researched points. But Higgins was ready to share.

“We reached out, found Higgins with the Hawks and reached out to them and told them exactly why we wanted to do the interview. We said this is the story, here’s what’s been said and can you validate?" McGuffey said. "And he didn’t validate it, he didn’t double down, he tripled down and gave us more facts, more details.”

You can hear those details by listening to the Sports Uncovered podcast here, via the embedded player below or wherever you get your podcasts.

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