Did you hear Michael Jordan’s hidden message?

Often times when one public figure has a strong view on something, but nevertheless wishes to avoid directly offending another public figure, they will couch their opinion in veiled terms.  I think that’s what Michael Jordan did yesterday when asked his opinion of the “South Beach Boys”.  Let’s try to decipher what he actually said.

Literally translated what MJ said when asked about the formation of the LeBron/Wade/Bosh conglomerate was, in summary, “I wouldn’t have done it, but I played in different times.  They have the chance to do it, and that’s fine.”  But what was the message he was really trying to convey?

The key sentence in translating the true meaning comes when Jordan indirectly compares the South Beach Boys to his original Dream Team in 1992.  He characterizes the ’92 Dream Team, you will notice, as “not really a competitive thing.”

“I’m a competitive guy and I like to play against competitive players and see what happens…”

Do you see what he’s saying?  He’s saying the South Beach Boys are cowards (without saying it).  He’s saying he’s competitive, and he would never have banded together with other superstars of his day to form anything that might create a situation that might be “not competitive”.  Left unspoken, by contrast, is that the South Beach Boys did exactly what Jordan would not have done.  One can take Jordan’s implication to be, therefore, that the South Beach Boys are not competitive like him, or perhaps even a bit afraid of competition.  In sports, calling someone afraid of competition is the equivalent of calling them “yellow”.

Of course, as David Berri of the WoW Journal astutely pointed out a while ago, Jordan’s legendary competitiveness is a little overblown.  He’s competitive all right — so long as the area he’s competing in is something he’s pretty good at.  You notice he hasn’t really “competed” too hard in the area of general managing or owning a team, prefering instead to let things ride while he chills in Chicago.  In that sense, he’s no more competitive than you or I.

That aside, I think the point Jordan indirectly made yesterday is one that kind of sits in a lot of fans craws.  Even those of us who don’t begrudge the South Beach Boys tactics still maintain a bit of queasiness about the whole nature of what they did.  Somehow it seems a bit rigged, doesn’t it?

I think that’s what Jordan was trying to express.  In careful terms.

6 Responses to “Did you hear Michael Jordan’s hidden message?”

  1. robbieomalley Says:


    What are you “queasy” about? I seriously don’t understand all the hostility about them playing together. I can understand it against LeBrons “The Decision” special. That was in bad taste. But I don’t see how players taking less money to win games is wrong. You need to play with great players to win championships. I don’t get why everyone thinks people win on their own. Even Jordan played with Pippin and Rodman, that threesome is probably better than the Heat’s current threesome. Is it LeBrons fault Cleveland couldn’t acquire NBA HOFers? He took it into his own hands and essentially traded for Wade and Bosh. If Cleveland could have done it they would have and this situation would have been entirely different. I don’t understand why.

    • tywill33 Says:

      Queasy maybe is the wrong word. Its more like… actually, I can’t come up with the proper word.

      I’m not against what they did, and I think its going to be great for the NBA (you need a villain… they’re like the Legion of Doom), but from a competitive standpoint it feels a bit rigged. Like it violates the spirit of some unwritten rule that doesn’t exist.

      Clear as mud?

      • tgt Says:

        So, the players putting together a good team is rigged, but teams putting together a good team is not rigged? What’s the difference in Rodman coming to the bulls and Lebron going to the heat? Everyone knows Lebron’s awesome, but not everyone knew Rodman was?

      • tywill33 Says:

        I’m not very good at communicating subtle points. That’s not the thought I intended to convey. In fact, I don’t think I even compared the two situations, one where the team is assembled by labor collusion the other where it is assembled by management, nor did I say that under one set of circumstances you had a rigged outcome while under the other you didn’t, because that is a position I certainly wouldn’t take. But I may have done so inadvertently. I’ll have to reread the post.

  2. Alvy Says:

    lol rob and tgt r on the heat bandwagon

    anyway, i feel ya t. will, in fact, rajon rondo does too, as he hinted that no one on the heat were surprised when they all signed (hint). did you catch what magic recently said? he said he had planned on always beating bird, not joining him.

    • tgt Says:

      And Magic and Bird each had awesome teams and went against each other in the finals how many times?

      I wouldn’t say I’m on the heat bandwagon. I’m just saying that I don’t see what the big deal is. The players are supposed to want to win, right? Isn’t that the point of the sport?

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