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MJ admits gambling was ‘stupid’


To me, this is every bit as shocking as Bill Romanowski’s admission that he used steroids. Jordan told 60 Minutes that he had been “stupid” in his gambling, and said, “Yeah, I’ve gotten myself into [gambling] situations where I would not walk away and I’ve pushed the envelope.”

Ya don’t say. I’ve never been a huge fan of Jordan. Greatest basketball player ever? Maybe. He certainly belongs in the discussion. But as an individual, he’s always been too… too… carefully-groomed, I guess, for me to like him a whole lot. Everything he said, did, wore, was always so carefully chosen, so as not to offend any corporate partner of his, or anyone who might one day buy his shoes.

Anyway, he’s always been so careful about what he’s said about himself… that if he admits any kind of mistake about gambling, it’s probably safe to assume that it was much worse than he’s letting on. MJ is not someone who’s going to admit any of his personal foibles. Anything he says it going to be carefully measured, so as to minimize any negative impact.

There were rumors that he took the year off from basketball because of gambling problems, there were rumors that his father’s death was related to gambling… I’m not saying either of those things are true, and I doubt they are, but… there are probably people in the world somewhere that have some crazy-ass Michael Jordan gambling stories.

Some people are just competition freaks… they’re addicted to winning, addicted to competing. It’s easy to see how they could be drawn to gambling. And MJ had that addiction worse than maybe anyone else who’s ever lived… you can see how something like that would serve him well on the basketball court, but maybe not so well at the blackjack table.

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Matthew J. Darnell

8 Comments

  1. “Greatest basketball player ever? Maybe. He certainly belongs in the discussion.”

    C’mon now MJD, lay off the pipe. Your credibility is at stake here.

    Blasephemy.

  2. There is definitely discussion. No blasphemy…MJ was surrounded by great talent for all his championships. There are definitely others that could be considered Greatest Ever.

  3. I was shocked to read that “maybe”. In my opinion, MJ was the best ever. He will remain so until Lebron changes my mind. However, this will always be open for discussion until the time machine is invented.

  4. Was there some sort of study done recently that showed that 60 Minutes viewers were the leading buyers of sports’ biographies? MJ, Romo, Lawrence Taylor, Pete Rose….all of them went to 60 minutes to promote their book.

  5. Jordan was surrounded by a lot of great talent? Really, who besides Pippen was great?

    That arguement might work for the guy saying Russel is the greatest. He played with no less then 8 HOF’s. Maybe more. I’m not sure.

    Unless you are arguing that Magic is better then Jordan, I don’t even wanna hear it. Jordan is the GOAT without a shadow of a doubt.

  6. insomniac – I think 60 Minutes, and this is just a guess, is making an effort to have sports stars on, because they can market it all Sunday long on CBS during football games. That’s my best guess at the reasoning behind it.

    Everyone else:

    Bill Russell…

    Five-time MVP. 12-time All-Star. Averaged 22.5 rebounds per game, which is absurd. 11 Championships in 13 seasons, which is also absurd. Changed every game he played in defensively. He really revolutionized the way the game was thought of defensively… was the ultimate disrupter. One of the greatest team guys ever.

    He also was a player/coach for a while, and was in fact the NBA’s first black head coach.

    Before Jordan came along, most people thought of Russell as the best ever… I think the fact that Jordan was more recent has a lot to do with his nearly-universal status among NBA viewers today as the best ever.

    I’m not saying Russell’s better… I’m just saying that I think some debate is appropriate. Yeah, Russell played with HOF’ers… that’s part of the argument. So is 11 championships vs. 6. It also depends on how you compare greatness… is it dominance in their respective eras, or just absolute skills? Depends on how you look at it. But I don’t see Jordan as a clear open-and-shut winner.

  7. Ok, but here’s my problem with Russell’s 11 championships. In those days, there weren’t as many players who were 6’10″ or taller compared to today’s game (and compared to the Jordan era). This seems to be a huge advantage for players back then who met this description. If the league today had a much higher percentage of slower and shorter guys (as it did back in Russell’s era) then I think the advantage for a player like Shaq, or even Erik Dampier would be immense!

    As for those rebounding numbers, it’s really useless to compare per-game averages across eras. The game was played at a MUCH faster pace in Russell’s era and the team’s shooting percentages were so much lower than in Jordan’s era. When you also factor in that Russell used to play nearly every minute of every game, you begin to realize that his per-game rebounding totals were somewhat inflated due to the environment in which he accumulated them. I’m not saying he wasn’t a great rebounder but consider the following example from John Hollinger:

    Player A gets 10 rebounds in a game with 20 missed shots, while Player B nabs 20 in a game with 100 missed shots. Player B has twice as many rebounds, but is he really better? Player A grabbed a Herculean 50 percent of all the missed shots in his game, while Player B took in only 20 percent. We shouldn’t hold it against Player A that there were so few missed shots for him to rebound.

    http://proxy.espn.go.com/nba/columns/story?columnist=hollinger_john&id=2007347

    Unfortunately, the nba didn’t keep track of blocks in Russell’s era so we don’t really know how dominant he was in that aspect of the game, although I’m guessing he was one of the best of all-time in that respect.

    After all is said and done, the point I’m arguing is that Russell won more championships in a less competitive era than Jordan. It’s impossible to prove this, but it’s what I believe.

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