Just Because (2 Minutes of Jordan Athleticism)

CreightonGubanich

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Thanks for that. It seems like I've seen the narrative pop up recently that Jordan wasn't actually that athletic by today's standards. It's completely bogus. If you dropped MJ into the league today, with the same conditioning, etc. he had back in the 80's and early 90's, he'd still be the best athlete in the league by a significant margin. Some of the stuff he did makes even Ja Morant look pedestrian.

It's certainly true that the league is overall faster and more athletic than it was even in the 90's; guys like Greg Ostertag aren't on rosters anymore. But the elite athletes of the era -- MJ, Nique, Scottie, Robinson -- would be elite still.
 

BigSoxFan

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His ability to hang, wait for the defenders to fade away, and then shoot on the way down was really unique, and still is.
Yeah, the greatness of Jordan is really the hang-time and control. Plenty of guys have come and gone with elite athleticism. Vince Carter is a good example. If you're doing NBA combine, I'm guessing he at least matches MJ or exceeds him. But MJ combined that elite athleticism with just ridiculous body control and hang-time. And we really haven't seen anything like it since.
 

the moops

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How many of those were actual travels? Hard to tell with the grainy footage but looks like at least a couple of those had him landing before releasing the ball. Still absolutely sick though
 

Kliq

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Yeah, the greatness of Jordan is really the hang-time and control. Plenty of guys have come and gone with elite athleticism. Vince Carter is a good example. If you're doing NBA combine, I'm guessing he at least matches MJ or exceeds him. But MJ combined that elite athleticism with just ridiculous body control and hang-time. And we really haven't seen anything like it since.
Something Elgin Baylor said about hang time was that in addition to having a great vertical; he also had this secret where he had a little hesitation before leaping; sending his opponents up a fraction of a second before he would take off, which helped create the illusion that he was floating above them as he was still at his peak when they were already headed down. Jordan was also a master of this, and you can see it whenever he takes a contested mid-range jumper.
 

ElUno20

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Adding to the chorus. The hang time with Jordan is so rare. Vince is the greatest in game dunker imo and there have been other guys who jump higher but MJ just hung in air. It was incredible to watch.

I love videos like this. I just watched a 10 min compilation the other day of Wade to Lebron alley oops during their era. It's easy to forget sometimes how incredible these guys are when it's always onto the next best thing
 

djbayko

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How many of those were actual travels? Hard to tell with the grainy footage but looks like at least a couple of those had him landing before releasing the ball. Still absolutely sick though
I kind of see what you're saying, but with the caveat that in a couple of clips you don't see his feet, I don't really see any. Being the person who jumped, you're going to have a great sense of where you are in relation to the ground, and therefore, when you absolutely need to release the ball. And Jordan would've had an even greater sense of that than any of us since it's all he did. Not saying it never happened, but I don't think it's one of those things where "he gets away with it because he's a superstar". It' probably happened a few times in his career because he had nowhere to go...and he got called for the up and down.
 

Cesar Crespo

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Jordan also had some huge hands. You see it in every single clip of him, too.

9.75 inches in length, and 11.375 in width.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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We talk a lot about athletic players coming into the league needing to have the game slow down for them before they can effective NBA players (guys like Jaylen, Rozier, etc).

Not so much do we talk about players needing to learn how to make time stop for everyone else on the floor while they keep moving. Just an insane combination of athleticism, body control, spatial awareness, and shooting touch with either hand from any position.
 

snowmanny

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I’ve seen Nick Wright go off several times on how this famous play is not that amazing and the hand switch is unnecessary. He’s sort of F88F9D71-3B66-4ED9-8691-B55058FF5735.gif right, but it’s no evidence that Jordan was somehow overrated because it was maybe his thousandth most impressive play.

Edit plus it is amazing.
 

djbayko

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We talk a lot about athletic players coming into the league needing to have the game slow down for them before they can effective NBA players (guys like Jaylen, Rozier, etc).

Not so much do we talk about players needing to learn how to make time stop for everyone else on the floor while they keep moving. Just an insane combination of athleticism, body control, spatial awareness, and shooting touch with either hand from any position.
You mean besides Time Lord.
I’ve seen Nick Wright go off several times on how this famous play is not that amazing and the hand switch is unnecessary. He’s sort of View attachment 53930 right, but it’s no evidence that Jordan was somehow overrated because it was maybe his thousandth most impressive play.

Edit plus it is amazing.
First thing I noticed when watching the video last night was that this clip isn't even in it.

Edit: While it wasn't "necessary", are we sure it wasn't a smart play? Watching that for the first time in many years, I can envision a scenario where Jordan goes up for an assumed dunk, thinks to himself in mid air that it might be a bit of a stretch, and opts to go with the extremely high percentage layup off the glass instead.
 
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snowmanny

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Edit: While it wasn't "necessary", are we sure it wasn't a smart play? Watching that for the first time in many years, I can envision a scenario where Jordan goes up for an assumed dunk, thinks to himself in mid air that it might be a bit of a stretch, and opts to go with the extremely high percentage layup off the glass instead.
I think you're right. And Jordan bringing the ball into the stratosphere for the assumed earth-shattering dunk basically paralyzes the defenders, just as Jed Zeppelin was saying. Then MJ just drops down for the off-balance layup. edit-although AC Green recovers in time to handle the in-bounds pass.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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I'm sure this has been re-hashed a million times but it only looks unnecessary because Sam Perkins made a business decision and isn't even in the frame by the time the ball is released after looking like he was about to challenge.
 

Bread of Yaz

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Something Elgin Baylor said about hang time was that in addition to having a great vertical; he also had this secret where he had a little hesitation before leaping; sending his opponents up a fraction of a second before he would take off, which helped create the illusion that he was floating above them as he was still at his peak when they were already headed down. Jordan was also a master of this, and you can see it whenever he takes a contested mid-range jumper.
This 100 times: no player can "hang" in the air longer than any other, gravity doesn't work that way. A somewhat similar timing issue comes up in blocking shots; the best wait until after the shooter has already left his feet before starting to elevate. That way, the defender is still rising after the ball has left the shooter's hand.
 

djbayko

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This 100 times: no player can "hang" in the air longer than any other, gravity doesn't work that way. A somewhat similar timing issue comes up in blocking shots; the best wait until after the shooter has already left his feet before starting to elevate. That way, the defender is still rising after the ball has left the shooter's hand.
I'd argue it's what you and Kliq are talking about here plus what we see in the video - he's controlling his mechanics such that he's fake pumping and still going up with the ball even when his center of mass is already coming back down (to the point where at least one person in this thread wondered if he was travelling some of the time). It's an illusion but also a highly effective play.

But let's be real. The reason that any of this is possible in the first place is because he had amazing ups. From that perspective, he hangs better than most.
 
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fairlee76

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I'd argue it's what you and Kliq are talking about here plus what we see in the video - he's controlling his mechanics such that he's fake pumping and still going up with the ball even when his center of mass is already coming back down (to the point where at least one person in this thread wondered if he was travelling some of the time). It's an illusion but also a highly effective play.

But let's be real. The reason that any of this is possible in the first place is because he had amazing ups. From that perspective, he hangs better than most.
I love his use of the rim as a shot block deterrent on a lot of his reverse layups, too. He possessed such an insane combination of the mental acumen and physical tools required to play basketball at the "somewhere in the stratosphere" level.

This will be forever be a top-10 in-game dunk for me: View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bw9z320dkR0
 

Jimbodandy

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Jordan also had some huge hands. You see it in every single clip of him, too.

9.75 inches in length, and 11.375 in width.
This. A good number of those shots are not just because of his rise but that his grip on the ball allows him to make very late decisions with it. He's really that perfect blend of athleticism there with physical freak control. Julius could do a lot of the same shit, but some of his best stuff is grainy video from the 70s. That ability to command the ball like a tennis ball in the hand allowed for so much creativity mid-air.
 

TripleOT

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View: https://youtu.be/XDiiVg48zAI


The 2nd play here is the greatest display of athleticism in NBA history.

Jordan had games with better highlights than the the entirety of some all stars from the last 15 years. Truly 1 of 1.
That reverse was learned by the innovator of much of what Jordan became famous for: Dr J. I remember watching this and just being totally stunned. What Jordan was in terms of superior athleticism to the rest of his NBA was even more amplified by what Dr. J was compared to the rest of his NBA in his early years in the league.

View: https://youtu.be/NjdEP7I2fRA