James Jones: Air Jordan still greatest basketball player ever

Published 8:55 pm Friday, June 28, 2024

My late grandmother ended hopes of anybody dethroning Michael Jordan as the greatest basketball player nearly 30 years ago.

She was placed in a nursing home upon Jordan’s 1995 comeback to the NBA after spending two years in minor league baseball with the Birmingham Barons. Looking back, it was one of the saddest moments in my life. Three years earlier, she attended my graduation ceremony at Stillman College.

Whenever I visited her at the nursing home in Northport, I noticed that the TV always turned to NBC and its hit soap opera, “Days of Our Lives.”  During commercials, NBC always promoted the NBA Finals between the Chicago Bulls against the Seattle Sonics and Utah Jazz twice for three years. 

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The elderly women and nurses always screamed at the top of their lungs when they saw highlights of Jordan and the Bulls. My grandmother could barely talk and move, but a smile always covered her face.

The Bulls won all three titles in that span. My grandmother passed away around Jordan’s sixth and final title.

Twenty years later, two of my cousins were placed in nursing homes. Whenever I visited them, everyone was on different channels. I never heard anyone talk about LeBron James or Stephen Curry, the NBA’s top players. 

The conversations about Jordan or LeBron being the greatest players have been talk of conversations in barbershops across the country, including Selma and Dallas County.

This should be a teaching moment for the commentators and the so-called basketball experts trying to knock Jordan off the throne. Just promote the current players and teams, and stop with the comparisons to legends.

For that reason alone, I see why I rarely watch the NBA. Apparently, a lot of America agrees with me. The Boston Celtics’ recent championship win over the Dallas Mavericks drew low ratings. To me, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player ever, end of discussion.


James Jones is the managing editor of The Selma Times-Journal. He can be reached at james.jones@selmatimesjournal.com.