“One day you might look up and see me playing the game at 50. (Crowd Laughs) Oh don’t laugh. Never say never. Because limits, like fears are often just an illusion.”
That was the way the greatest basketball player of all time closed out his hall of fame speech in 2009, by leaving the door open. Over the years basketball junkies tried to imagine if Michael Jordan could still play in this day and age with the amazing athletes we have in this era of the NBA. Well, I have a funny feeling we are about to find out the answer to that question.
With just having endured the week-long celebration of MJ’s 50th birthday on SportsCenter, news broke Saturday that Jordan had actually beaten the 2nd overall pick in this year’s draft, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in a game of one on one. Kidd-Gilchrist is in fact the youngest player in the NBA right now, and has about as much athleticism as one can have, Jordan beat him. Well, it was only a one on one game right? Maybe, MJ got lucky? Think again because Kidd Gilchrist had this to say, “”It was hard for me,” he said, “I lost. He’s the greatest man that ever played the game. Oh, yeah. He’s good.” Jordan can still hang with the best in this league – he’s Michael Jordan folks.
In a recent interview with ESPN’s Wright Thompson, Jordan talks about how his playing weight was 218 pounds. Thompson goes on to talk about how Jordan is losing weight and after being at 261 pounds, he is down to 248 nine days later and still losing weight. If you ask me if you’re Michael Jordan you do not simply lose 13 pounds in nine days just to be healthy and look good for being 50 years old. Jordan is attempting the impossible: to get back into his playing weight and make another comeback, one for the ages. Remember his quote, “Never say never. Because limits, like fears are often just an illusion.” Also, in his interview with Thompson, Jordan speaks of how he would shut down LeBron and force him left into an uncomfortable jump shot. You can just tell he is dying to get back onto the court and prove he is the best, even though he doesn’t have to, but that’s why he’s great.
Jordan’s trainer, Tim Grover has no doubt Michael can return to the NBA, and in fact he believes MJ is better than anyone on the team Jordan currently owns, the Charlotte Bobcats. Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski spoke to Grover and said this, “Fifty pages inside a binder sit on Grover’s desk inside his suburban Chicago home now, information and studies and research and innovations into regenerating the muscle fibers and anti-aging advances and nutrition. From his trips to Europe and Asia and the Far East, Grover has incorporated a small library of intelligence – backed with the most intimate knowledge of Jordan’s body and mind and drive – to create a program that awaits the comeback of all comebacks at 50 years old.” He goes on to say, “His skill level was so superior to everyone else, his understanding of the commitment to the task so different, I absolutely believe [Jordan] playing again at 50 is obtainable. Of course, things have been diminished away from the game so long, but even with what’s diminished by age, by not playing, I still think he’s superior to a lot of the players out there now.”
Well, how would it work? Jordan would probably sell the Bobcats and get away from the disaster that he got himself into with that organization. I would imagine Jordan would seek to be reunited with his old team, the Chicago Bulls and help guide them back to the Finals once more. That would be the most likely scenario if he were to really go ahead with this crazy idea. How would you feel if you were playing Chicago in the playoffs with Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah, and oh yeah that guy Michael Jordan coming off the bench? It would be the biggest sports story in its history and would supersede his previous comeback by a long shot. His last game was in the Wizards’ uniform on April 16th, 2003 so we would be looking at about a ten-year gap between his last game! He would have to play on limited minutes, but there is no question in my mind that he wouldn’t be able to attain ten or more points a game in those minutes. It sounds absolutely insane, but what does he have to lose? He definitely regrets buying the Bobcats and is probably sick of the losing. He’s got the competitive drive, and that’s all it takes to comeback. Just ask Brett Favre or Roger Clemens. If there is a guy that can pull this off it’s the greatest player of all time, Michael Jordan.