Since we have absolutely no games, no NBA, no March Madness, nothing, with which to pass our idle time these days, naturally, many conversations have turned to the past when it comes to talking sports.
So far, one of the sports world’s favorite go-to topics of the past have been about the GOAT Michael Jordan.
The reason for that is obvious. Tales about Jordan have fascinated fans for decades now because (1) there are so many, and (2) so many of them are legendary.
It doesn’t hurt that not only was Jordan the GOAT, winning six NBA championships in two different three-peat runs with the Chicago Bulls back in the 1990s, he also left the NBA at the height of his powers to freaking play baseball for the Chicago White Sox Double-A team, the Birmingham Barons!
There are also numerous conspiracy theories surrounding Jordan because he heyday all took place pre-social media. And the biggest conspiracy theories have to do with why people think he really took that time off from the NBA after winning three straight NBA titles to go play baseball.
A guy who would certainly know why is Jordan’s teammate on the Bulls from 1993 to 1998, Steve Kerr.
During an interview with David Aldridge and Michael Lee of The Athletic this week, Kerr addressed some of those many conspiracy theories that still follow the GOAT.
“Sometimes people say to me, ‘If Michael had stayed, you guys would’ve won eight in a row.’ That’s the most preposterous thing I have ever heard. People have no idea how emotionally draining it is for a team to keep winning,” said Kerr, now the head coach of the Warriors.
“To me, the reason we won the second three was because he got away and recharged his batteries,” Kerr explained. “He needed it, desperately. And that’s why he left. He was just burned out. There were all of these theories: Did David Stern tell him you can’t play? Like, yeah, that would be very smart – the greatest player ever and we’re going to punish him for gambling or whatever? What are we even talking about? That’s dumb. All of those conspiracy theories were dumb. Bottom line was, he was fried. Going through a lot with his father’s death. Just getting away for two years, recharged his batteries and got him ready for the next three.”
Considering he was arguably the most famous person on the planet at the time, taking a break after grinding to three straight titles would certainly be cause for a break. It also served as the impetus for Jordan’s second three-peat, according to his agent then, David Falk.
“From the time they won a championship in 1991, that (series with Orlando in ’95) was the only series they’d lost,” said Falk. “I’ve never met an individual as competitive as Michael, hates to lose more than Michael; (it) can’t surprise anyone that he was frustrated that he lost. But obviously, if you look what happened after that. He’s just such an incredible performer. I think most people in that short year (said) he’s not as good as he was. You hear it and you take it with a grain of salt. Because what motivated Michael wasn’t the criticism or the naysayers, it was himself.”