During Michael Jordan’s second NBA Championship ‘threepeat’ over the 1996-98 seasons – when he was 32-34 years old – he played in and started all 82 regular season games, averaged 38 minutes per game and scored basically 30 points per game.
In the playoff games during this same stretch he played in 18, 19, 21 games averaged 40.7, 42.3 and 41.9 minutes per playoff game, and averaged 30.7, 31.1, and 32.4 points per game.
Over his 15 regular season career, Jordan averaged 38.3 minutes per game and 30.1 points per game, played in 82 games in 9 seasons and 81, 80 and 78 games in one season each. In Jordan’s last season, when he was 39 years old, he played in all 82 games and averaged 37 minutes and 20 points per game.
During his playoff career, Jordan played in 179 games and averaged 41.8 minutes and 33.4 points per game.
Spare me the nonsense that today’s NBA superstars need to be rested during the season. Travel, back-to-back games, 82 games: Boo Hoo! These players get payed more than $20 million per season precisely for this reason. Unless they are injured, these guys should pull on their big boy shorts, lace up the $275 sneakers that they want kids to buy, get in the pre-game lay-up line and prepare to do their job.
I’ve heard commentary from sports pundits and coaches justifying this practice as being necessary for the long term health and viability of the players. BS. Their job is to play. They get paid to play.
And they can grow a pair while they’re at it.
All I hear is how the NBA is a player’s league, not a coach’s league. Yet in this instance, allegedly, the coaches are the ones telling players to rest. Yea, sure.
One coach who is a proponent of resting his players, seemingly can do no wrong and can probably really get away with it, is Gregg Popovich of the Spurs. I don’t care. People pay to see the stars, tune in to see the big names. If these delicate NBA superstars are tired and need a rest they can miss practices. If key NFL players can regularly miss practice when they are banged up, certainly NBA players can do the same.
Photo: Business Insider
The other night when we put the national ABC game on in my house and the big names were sitting, we just changed the channel. There’s a slim chance of the NBA gaining a foothold in our household, despite the fact I have three teenaged, sports minded sons.
Think things are so good and that it doesn’t matter? Think the NBA is invincible and that ratings and money will keep increasing? Just ask the NFL what it’s like to be a juggernaut.