I’LL TELL YOU HOW LOSING SUPER BOWL 52 CHANGES TOM BRADY’S LEGACY

Jay C. Brandriet

2/6/18

The New England Patriots just played their typical “this is anybody’s game” type Super Bowl. It was another classic, and this time the Pats fell short. You’re sick of Tom Brady winning? I can appreciate that. You took joy in him losing Super Bowl 52? Most have your back. The amount of shade being put in Brady’s direction is over the top. Rob Parker shouted, “this clearly takes away his greatest of all time label.” Shannon Sharpe claims “this loss was 75 percent Brady’s fault.”

It’s true that the end result matters. Don’t lose sight that Brady simply rolls out of bed and ends up in AFC title games.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trying to re adjust where this QB ranks historically is a bad look. I think he came out of this game, a greater player. Tom threw some bad balls, sure. He also dropped an overthrown pass that will bother him for the rest of his life. The crucial fumble at the end? That was a product of the game. The Eagles made an incredible play. That was zero percent on Brady.

This performance was about heavy lifting. His defense gave him very little help. No player ever had 500 plus yards, three scores, with zero picks and lost ANY game. Tom carried his team to simply having a chance.

You do realize the greatest quarterback debate is over right? I can buy that you prefer someone else. It’s true others have played the game as well, and several close to as well. Brady doesn’t have Elway’s arm and leg strength. He doesn’t have Marino’s release or Aaron Rodgers fluid skills.

Joe Montana played football just as good as Tom does. Joe was equally as surgical, and moved like a ballerina. Brady has been Montana like, for much longer. In the impossible world of ranking players, I moved Tom past Joe as the “GOAT” Thanksgiving day 2015.

In review, number 12 was just the MVP of the NFL at the age of 40. He was down 10 in the fourth quarter of the championship game to the best defense in the AFC. The result was his 27th playoff win. Perspective? Over a combined 32 seasons, legit Hall of Famer’s Dan Fouts and Warren Moon combined for six post season victories.

The year ends with Tom’s eighth Super Bowl appearance. I’d guess his performance was a record-breaking, disappointing “9.3”. Once the Patriots took the lead, you were sure they would win. Hail Mary on the last play? You were scared to death! We have seen Brady pull off clutch gems on the biggest stage so often, it’s become a habit to think he will come through. He lost? I know.

How does the loss affect his legacy? He’s on a different level. Tom Brady can now be considered the greatest football player of all time. I understand the game is diverse. Brady did not dominate in the way Jim Brown did. Tom will never be the best player ever at two positions like Deion Sanders. Jerry Rice was perfect. Larry Allen could bench press over 700 lbs. and played like it. How good were Ronnie Lott, Reggie White, and Lawrence Taylor at football? Walter Payton was elusive, powerful, and maybe the best running back ever. He could also block, kick, catch, return kicks, tackle and throw. I understand the game is diverse.

Tom Brady is as good as all of them. His resume is better. He plays the most important position in the ultimate team sport. His job is to win football games. In an era of player movement and parity, this guy kind of owns the league. He’s not Michael Jordan, but he sits at the same table. You thought Sunday hurt Brady’s legacy? Sorry.

Jay C. Brandriet

 

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RANKING THE ROCKY MOVIES FROM WORST TO FIRST

Jay C. Brandriet

January, 3rd 2018

Like many of you, I love and know my Rocky movies. It’s difficult to separate five of them in quality, so I will focus on my favorites. Here they are from worst to first:

                                                                                                                                                        

#7- “ROCKY V” We may not agree on which film is the best, but most of us will say with pride that Rocky five sucked. As a movie alone, it’s solid. Maybe its a “7”.  Compared to what we expect, part five is the only one that didn’t deliver. The show was an attempt to say goodbye before time allowed the writers to have better perspective. Stallone himself, admits a lack of commitment to this chapter of the series.  Rocky going “backwards” so fast, to fit right back into his old life was forced and awkward.. It tried to be sentimental but fell mostly flat. I knew we were in trouble when Adrian was going back to work at the old pet shop. There is a nice scene where Rocky is thinking about, and seeing his trainer Mickey. The street fight in the end was kind of laughable, but was pretty good entertainment.

 

#6- “CREED”  I appreciated it paying tribute to the Rocky legacy, while attempting to move forward at the same time. It came across a little “Creed 1” and a little “Rocky 7”.  I was impressed with Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Johnson/Creed.  Adonis jumps into Rocky’s life over night but the transition was smooth and believable. The older Balboa has become a nurturing character. It was difficult to see the champ struggle to walk up those iconic steps. I thought “Creed” was  short of greatness, but still very good.

 

#5- “ROCKY BALBOA” I was initially “worried” this movie was being made. How were they going to justify Rocky fighting at the highest level in the grandfather years? They pulled it off so well, I took “Rocky Balboa” as an apology for part five being made. This was an excellent show that put the perfect bow on the series. The film uses Adrian’s death as an opportunity to focus on life’s biggest heart aches and the resilience needed to survive. It brought the message of going the distance full circle.

 

#4- “ROCKY IV”-  If an alien came down and only had time for one Rocky, I’d have him (or her) watch part four. Of the seven installments, this is the most exciting. Creed’s death, the daunting opponent, and being in another country gave Rocky IV a scary edge. The training scenes are diverse and the soundtrack was a good look into the 1980’s. It had an awesome memory flashback in the movies middle. America and Russia’s prominent roles in this major motion picture, combined with the message of peace, left an impact on society.

 

Reporter…”Rocky, can you say something derogatory about the champ”? Rocky….”Derogatory…Ya, he’s great.”

                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                                                                                      

                                             

#3- “ROCKY” Part one was the award winner, and is taken the most serious. Like any first it deserves the credit for others being able to build on it. I’d say it’s a love story, about an underdog. It’s slow-paced and is character development art. Rocky is instantly likeable, and we are willing to go along on his journey. Adrian’s shyness, is a reminder of how much she evolves. Polly is charming, yet disgusting at the same time. The movie feels genuine, like the Philadelphia streets it takes place in.

 

#2- “ROCKY II”  “Do you have a criminal record Mr. Balboa?” “Nothing worth bragging about.” I may not be ranking two as my favorite, but it may be the best. Fans struggle to admit, part two is a better version of part one. It’s an extension of the 1975 movie, with a better training scene, and much better main event. The audio and video (most evident during the boxing match) are superior as well. This movie feels like a comfortable blanket to me. The fight is the best of all seven pictures. None of this greatness happens without Burgess Meredith as Mickey. Carl Weathers is on point as Apollo Creed.

“Your’e the man, you’re number one, the champ, the best of all time….the girls love ya, men love ya, old people love ya, young people love ya…you’re the best…you’re the man..and he’s yours…he’s yours….he’s yours…this bum shouldn’t even be in the same ring with you..show em who you are tonight…..show em who you are tonight…Stick him!” (Apollo’s trainer “Duke”)

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

#1- “ROCKY III” I’ll never forget seeing part 3 on the big screen with my parents. This movie picked up the pace. The opening scene with Survivors “Eye of the Tiger” was the tone setter to this eventful picture. Hulk Hogan as “Thunder lips” was quite a sight. Mr. T as Clubber Lang gave Rocky 3 a cool factor. Lang was mean, nasty, and barked with authority. He reminds us about the hunger it takes on the way up.  Mickey dying was the powerful bridge in this movie. To heal the ailing audience, they had  to pull off something special. Balboa being trained by his former rival Apollo, was the right medicine.  “I know your manager dying had you all messed up inside, but the truth is you didn’t look hungry. Now when we fought, you had the eye of the tiger man, the edge!”

Jay C. Brandriet

A MESSAGE YOUNG NBA FANS NEED TO HEAR ABOUT MICHAEL JORDAN

Jay C. Brandriet

12/31/17

To the younger generation of NBA fans,

“Air Jordan” is the greatest playoff performer to live. He NEVER lost a series when Chicago had home court advantage.

I get it. You are probably in your mid twenties and have heard about Jordan your entire life. You respect the idea of him, but also maybe feel like he’s been pushed on you as the greatest by your Father, and ESPN. It’s a new day, and different narratives are being created about what Jordan was or was not. Many of these voices were too young to have seen Mike play in real-time. I’m here to help by telling you the truth. Jordan was even better than the hype. MJ is not a romantic idea people over 42 can’t get over because they are sentimental. He really happened, and it wasn’t that long ago. He’s not the name in the sport because of a cool logo and a wildly popular shoe. Michael’s that big, because the level he attained was that stunning. Jordan played basketball as well as anyone has ever done anything. He mastered his craft. He was Michael Jackson on stage, good.

These 40 points will help deliver my message.

 

#40- IN ELEVEN COMPLETE SEASONS WITH THE BULLS, JORDAN LED THE NBA IN TOTAL POINTS ELEVEN TIMES.

#39- OVER THE LAST 53 YEARS, ONE MAN HAS SCORED 3,000 POINTS IN A SEASON. MIKE!

#38- 40 POINT GAMES? THE GREAT SHAQUILLE O’NEAL HAD 49 OF THEM IN HIS CAREER. MJ HAD 37 OF THEM…..IN 1987.

#37- “I’M NOT SURE PEOPLE REALIZE HOW GOOD THIS GUY WAS. HE WAS THE BEST OFFENSIVE PLAYER, THE BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER, THE BEST COMPETITOR. IF THERE IS EVER GOING TO BE SOMEONE GREATER, WE WILL ALL BE  SCRATCHING OUR HEADS.”  (Jerry West)

#36- MOST 30 POINT PLAYOFF GAMES (109), MOST 40 POINT PLAYOFF GAMES (38) AND MOST 50 POINT PLAYOFF GAMES(8).

#35- MANY PLAYERS FROM THE JORDAN ERA HAVE SAID IT WAS COMMON KNOWLEDGE THROUGH OUT THE NBA, TO NOT RILE MICHAEL UP. THE UNWRITTEN RULE WAS TO NOT TALK TO HIM. SOME WENT AS FAR AS AVOIDING LOOKING HIM IN THE EYES.

#34- MJ IS ONE OF THE ELITE SHOT BLOCKING GUARDS OF ALL TIME. AT 6’6″, JORDAN HAD 261 BLOCKS FROM 1986 to 1988 ALONE.

#33- HE WAS DURABLE. JORDAN NEVER MISSED A PLAYOFF GAME (179). HE SCORED 20 POINTS PLUS IN 97 PERCENT OF THOSE CONTESTS.

#32- OVER A FOUR GAME STRETCH OF THE 1993 FINALS…MICHAEL SCORED….42….44….55….AND 41 POINTS. HATERS WILL SAY HE WAS SHOOTING MORE THAN OTHERS….NO. THE RIGHT GUY WAS SHOOTING.

#31- SUGGESTION? “YOU TUBE” HIS PASSING SKILLS. HE WAS 8TH IN THE NBA IN ASSISTS IN 1989.

#30- JORDAN WAS THE BEST MID RANGE JUMP SHOOTER I’VE EVER SEEN.

#29- WITH HIS FIRST CRACK AT A FINALS IN 1991, MICHAEL PUT ON A PASSING CLINIC AND AVERAGED 11 DIMES IN THE SERIES. IN GAME 2…HE MADE 13 SHOTS IN A ROW.

#28- OVER HIS FIRST SEVEN YEARS, HIS LOWEST FREE THROW PERCENATGE WAS 84.0%

#27- HE AVERAGED 8 REBOUNDS A NIGHT IN 1989. NOT BAD FOR THE BEST IN GAME DUNKER OF ALL TIME (If you prefer Vince, it’s all good).

#26- JORDAN HAD HUGE HANDS. THE ADVANTAGE WAS CATCHING BETTER, PASSING BETTER, AND BEING A PUMP FAKING PUPPETEER. HE COULD TAKE THE BALL DIRECTLY FROM THE DRIBBLE TO ATTACKING THE RIM.

“Michael is the only player in our league, with no weakness.” Danny Ainge-1990

#25- NO OTHER PLAYER HAS  AVERAGED OVER 30 POINTS IN THE PLAYOFFS FOR A CAREER. MJ AVERAGED 33.4

#24- JORDAN TOOK THE BALL AWAY CONSTANTLY. HE LED THE LEAGUE IN STEALS THREE TIMES, CAME IN SECOND TWICE, THIRD TWICE, AND FOURTH TWICE.

#23- HIS FOOT SPEED, QUICKNESS, AND HANG TIME WERE INSANE.

#22- IN THE SPRING OF 1989, MICHAEL PLAYED POINT GUARD AND HAD 10 TRIPLE DOUBLES IN AN 11 GAME SPAN. ESSENTIALLY HE HAD 36 PERCENT OF HIS CAREER TRIPLE DOUBLE TOTAL IN THREE WEEKS, BECAUSE HIS COACH ASKED HIM TO.

#21- HIS PLAYER EFFICIENCY RATING IS THE BEST EVER IN THE REGULAR SEASON, PLAYOFFS, AND FINALS.

#20- “WATCHING HIM AND PLAYING AGAINST HIM WERE MUCH DIFFERENT. I LEARNED A LOT THIS GAME….HOW TECHNICALLY SOUND HE WAS. HIS FUNDAMENTALS AND TECHNIQUE WERE FLAWLESS.” (Kobe Bryant after his first matchup with MJ).

#19- HE WAS THE REAL KING OF NEW YORK. THE BULLS HAD A HEATED RIVALRY WITH THE KNICKS. IT WAS SO PERSONAL AND PHYSICAL. MICHAEL WON ALL FIVE SERIES HE PLAYED AGAINST THEM. JORDAN WAS A DREAM KILLER.

#18- MIKE DIDN’T HAVE THREE POINT PROBLEMS. THE SHOT WAS NOT NEAR AS CALLED FOR IN HIS ERA. HE WON REGULAR SEASON, PLAYOFF, AND FINALS GAMES WITH THREES. HE HIT SIX TRIPLES IN A FINALS HALF, WITHOUT A MISS. TIMING MATTERS.

#17- IN 1996, ON A 87-13 TEAM (OVERALL), MICHAEL WAS 11TH IN THE NBA IN THREE POINT SHOOTING PERCENTAGE(42.7%). HE WAS EVEN GOOD AT THE THINGS PEOPLE SAY HE COULDN’T DO.

#16- NOBODY HAD BETTER STYLE AND CREATIVITY THAN JORDAN. IT’S NOT JUST THAT HE WOULD SCORE 10 QUICK POINTS, IT’S THAT EIGHT OF THEM WERE ELECTRIC SHOWTIME.

#15- MJ SCORED 51 AND 45 IN BACK TO BACK GAMES….AS A WASHINGTON WIZARD.

#14- “MICHAEL WAS SO DOMINANT, PHYSICALLY, EMOTIONALLY, I ALWAYS GOT THE SENSE EVERYONE WAS AFRAID OF HIM. THE OPPONENTS, THE REFEREES, HIS TEAMMATES. HE WAS JUST SO DOMINANT WITH HIS PRESENCE.” (Steve Kerr)

#13- THE MIAMI HEAT RETIRED JORDAN’S NUMBER. HE DID NOT PLAY FOR THE HEAT. HE WAS JUST THAT BAD ASS.

#12- IN EACH OF HIS COMPLETE SEASONS BETWEEN 1987 AND 1997 MICHAEL LED THE NBA IN WIN SHARES. HE WAS ALSO SECOND TWICE. HE LOOKS THE SAME UNDER COOL MODERN STATS AS WELL.

#11- A BIG TIME NBA SCORER MAY SCORE OVER 50 POINTS, THREE OR FOUR TIMES IN A CAREER. “AIR JORDAN”  DROPPED 50 PLUS…39 TIMES. HE SCORED OVER 60, FIVE TIMES.

In only his third game as a pro, Michael scored 37 points including 22 in the 4th quarter.

#10- VERY FEW WOULD ADMIT IT THEN, BUT JORDAN WAS BETTER THAN MAGIC AND BIRD EVEN BEFORE HE WON BIG. THAT SAID….IT’S HARD TO BELIEVE HOW GOOD MAGIC AND BIRD WERE.

#9- EVERY GAME THAT JORDAN PLAYED, HE WAS EXPECTED TO LIVE UP TO HIS OWN MASSIVE STANDARDS. I ADMIRE HOW OFTEN HE ROSE TO THE OCCASION. HIGH STAKES EXPOSED HIS GREATNESS.

#8- HE HAD POWER, SUPREME FOOTWORK, AND A DYNAMITE POST GAME.

#7- MJ DID THE DIRTY WORK TOO. HE DID ALL THE SMALL THINGS THAT ANY GUY ON THE END OF THE BENCH WOULD DO. WHEN HIS SHOT WAS NOT FALLING, HE WAS GOOD AT SIMPLIFYING THINGS.

#6- IN THE FINALS HE WAS A 33.6 POINT, 6 REBOUND, 6 ASSIST GUY. HE DOMINATED ON DEFENSE AND MADE BIG PLAY AFTER BIG PLAY….THAT’S ALL.

#5- NOBODY HAD ENERGY LIKE JORDAN. HE WAS THE MOST RELENTLESS, AGGRESSIVE PLAYER IN THE WORLD. THE LATER THE GAME GOT, THE MORE JUICE HE HAD.

#4- MJ SEEMED TO OFTEN TAKE WHAT HE WANTED WHEN HE WANTED. HE PLAYED WITH FURY AND LASER FOCUS. HIS WILL AND SKILL LEFT HIM THE BEST I’VE EVER SEEN. SEVEN OR EIGHT GUYS HAVE BEEN CLOSE TO AS GOOD….JORDAN WAS THE CLOSEST TO BEING A “TEN”.

#3- COMPARE HIM TO TODAY’S GREATEST WHERE IT MATTERS MOST. LEBRON JAMES…A TOP 5 PLAYER EVER….WHO IS STILL ROLLING….HAS PLAYED 3,300 MORE MINUTES THAN JORDAN….AND HAS THREE LESS RINGS AND FINALS MVP’S. IN A LONGER CAREER, CHANGING TEAMS TWICE IN HIS PRIME, SOMEONE AS ELITE AS JAMES, HAS HALF OF MIKE’S BEST JEWELRY.

#2- PEOPLE UNDER DOING 6-0 IN THE FINALS IS SICKENING. HE PLAYED IN THE 1990’S YOU JOKERS. LET’S JUST SAY THOSE BASKETBALL TEAMS AND TALENT HOLD THEIR OWN COMPARED TO ANY DECADE. HE TOOK DOWN THE 90’S BEST. HE WON 69 PERCENT  OF HIS FINALS GAMES. HIS TEAMS WERE GREAT. DON’T GET IT TWISTED…HIS BRILLIANCE AND SYMPHONY OF CLUTCH PLAY….IS WHY….HIS TEAMS WON 25 OF THE LAST 26 PLAYOFF SERIES HE WAS A PART OF.

#1- MJ IN THE LOCKER ROOM….SITTING WITH SCOTTIE PIPPEN AFTER THE 1998 FINALS IN SALT LAKE CITY….”SIX….SIX…..SIX OF THEM…(raising his voice)…SIX OF THEM! YOU ALL CAN SAY WHATEVER YOU WANT…THEY CAN’T WIN UNTIL WE QUIT.”

Jay C. Brandriet

12/31/17

THE PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME IS ABOUT TO HAVE A SERIOUS LOG JAM: WR EDITION

Jay C. Brandriet

12/4/17

The old saying has often been “too many guy’s get into the Hall of Fame”. The new truth is, not enough players are getting that call. We have so much more information about today’s athletes and the history of the NFL than ever before. An average of six men per year have been inducted over the past 20 seasons. That comes across as a reasonable number. If you look behind the curtain, a log jam is taking place. Looking at the category of receiver only, I think this group of retired players all have a compelling case to be in.

Proudly from the University of Utah, Smith was a punt and kick return star in his early NFL days.

 

 RETIRED RECEIVERS THAT DESERVE TO BE IN THE HALL: 

 

RANDY MOSS: “Freak”.  Legend.  His go up and get it, and ball skills were a ten. Many fans would say Moss is the most talented wide receiver they have ever seen.

 

TERRELL OWENS: His initial power off the line of scrimmage was intense. It’s obvious T. O.  is a  Hall of Famer( just ask him)! Owens work ethic, skill, and level of dominance attained are all top shelf historically.

 

CALVIN JOHNSON: Johnson was the ultimate specimen to ever play wide receiver. I remember a few late game situations where “Megatron” was triple covered by Cowboys players. Each time the ball was in the air, it felt like the odds were 60 percent in his favor…. Calvin caught all three of them.

 

DREW PEARSON:  Pearson was the NFC’s best receiver in the 1970’s. He is widely considered one of the greatest clutch players in football history.

 

CLIFF BRANCH: An elegant yards per catch guy, Branch is the only Raider to play on all three title teams. At the time of his retirement he ranked number one in total post season catches and yardage.

 

HINES WARD: His Pittsburgh Steelers team records speak volumes. Ward has two rings and a Super Bowl MVP. His niche of being an all time great blocker helps get him in.

 

ISAAC BRUCE: His 80 yard TD grab was the go ahead score in Super Bowl 34. Bruce does not have near the name he should for how awesome he was. He’s like his generations Art Monk.

 

STERLING SHARPE: Sharpe did not miss a game in his seven years. His career ended after a serious neck injury following a season where he scored 18 times. At his best, Sharpe was in the same class as Irvin, Carter, Reed, and Tim Brown.

 

TORRY HOLT: His routes were precise and his hands were like football magnets. From 2000-2009 Holt’s 868 receptions and 12, 594 yards are the highest totals, for any decade in league history.

 

REGGIE WAYNE: Reggie was a steady pro who likely left a HOF resume on the field. He played in 21 post season games. At the time of his retirement, no player had more receiving yardage versus Bill Belichick led teams.

 

ANQUAN BOLDIN: I watched every snap of his first pro game at Detroit. He had 217 beast like yards. Boldin was eventually the go to guy on a world champion. He played a month after having seven plates and 40 screws put in his face.

 

STEVE SMITH: Nobody wore that chip on the shoulder better than Steve Smith. He was so fierce, and was one of the top playmakers of his generation. He’d catch it, pivot the other direction and it would look like he was part of the field.

 

ANDRE JOHNSON: Some guys should simply be awarded in the category of “what was your level while you played”? Johnson was elite at his job. Three times he had 1, 500 plus yard seasons.

 

RECEIVERS THAT STILL DESERVE A LOOK:

Chad Johnson

Rod Smith

Gary Clark

Harold Carmichael

Henry Ellard

Otis Taylor

Wes Welker

Larry Fitzgerald will be a first ballot guy when he’s done. Guys like Antonio Brown can think ahead to how the yellow jacket may fit them. The game will continue to be full of volume passing totals. More receivers are getting in this long line to be recognized. Who else deserves to be on my list?

 

 

ELI MANNING IS A WEIRD LEVEL OF GREATNESS

Jay C. Brandriet

11/30/17

The New York Giants (2-9) have benched Eli Manning for the rest of the year to look at younger players. This has caused quite a stir, and a reason for everyone to judge Manning’s career.  As a Dallas Cowboys fan, my job is to “hate” Eli. I truly have thought of his interceptions to put myself to sleep a few times. I can picture each pick, like cute little sheep.

Eli did not have the talent of division rivals McNabb or Romo. Those guys want Manning’s trophy case.

 

From a family of football royalty, it comes across like Eli has always been fighting through shadows. He doesn’t have the skills his father had. The only time he has ever been better at football than his brother Peyton, is right now.

Who has ever thought of him as top three QB at any point? Top five? Bueller? This guy is very hard to rank among the best that ever played.

Manning has three seasons of disgusting interception totals (20, 25, and 27).  He would turn the ball over and have this mopey expression that would annoy Giants fans to no end. I can see him unsnapping his chin strap to a chorus of New York boo birds as he walked to the sideline. Tiki Barber said he would follow a young Manning off the field yelling “posture matters”!

Eli is very good. He is tough, durable, smart, and above all clutch. Some will claim “Eli threw a couple lucky passes to win his two Super Bowls.” That’s garbage!

In the 2007 post season, he beat a Cowboys squad with 13 Pro Bowlers on the road. Number ten then out clutched Brett Favre in extreme temperature in Green Bay.

Manning then played a huge role in the biggest NFL upset of my lifetime. That Patriots team came in 18-0, and WOULD HAVE been considered the best single season team of all time.

Eli won a second ring and Super Bowl MVP a few years later. Let’s not under do that his teams beat Bill Belichick and Tom Brady TWICE when it mattered most.

This guy is a class act. He  will end up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame someday. First ballot? Probably not…Eli Manning a weird level of greatness.

ISIAH THOMAS SAID THIS ABOUT MICHAEL JORDAN’S ENERGY LEVEL

Jay C. Brandriet

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The Detroit Pistons were Michael’s biggest hill to climb.

9/4/17

From on court battles, “freeze outs”, and Dream Team controversies Isiah Thomas and Michael Jordan are at a minimum, rivals.

There is true basketball tension between the two players. Isiah is an expert on Mike’s energy.

 

BEFORE GAME 3 OF THE 1993 NBA FINALS

Thomas was being interviewed before the game. Bob Costas was breaking down how tough and how well Isiah’s clubs played Jordan years earlier.

Isiah responded, “The thing that amazes me about Michael Jordan compared to any other player in the league is his stamina and his endurance. The thing that I wasn’t able to do and Magic wasn’t able to do, we had to succumb to injuries. We didn’t seem to have the type of energy level and stamina he seems to possess. Every single night whether he’s playing against the worst team in the league or the best team in the league….He has an energy level that is unmatched by any other player or any other athlete that I’ve seen in professional sports. Whether it be basketball, football, baseball, track, or tennis. His energy level is so much greater than ours it seems that night in and night out, he’s there performing at a level that we quite frankly weren’t able to reach.”

After Isiah said this, Jordan won four more NBA championships.

LEBRON DOESN’T REMIND ME OF ANY ONE PLAYER, HE REMINDS ME OF SIX

Jay C. Brandriet

Trying to compare LeBron James to another player I’ve seen is impossible. There has never been anyone quite like him in pro basketball. He’s so unique it took these six great players to explain how I see him.

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Like Magic, James knows who needs the ball next. Like Malone, he often gets over with power.

KARL MALONE (25%)  Have you ever seen the 6’9″, 260 lb. Karl Malone filling the outside lane on the fast break? Scary! His body was a weapon and nobody delivered at the rim like “The Mailman”. When you look at LeBron in transition you see something similar. He’s a freight train and it might be smart to move aside. I watched Karl score 37,000 points and many of them were playing “bully ball” like James has. They each seal defenders off down low, and guys bounce off their muscles. They both hit about 74% of their foul shots. LeBron is durable and sometimes seems bionic. He will get hurt, and will be running full speed a few minutes later. Malone played 80 or more games an incredible 17 times.

 

EARVIN “MAGIC” JOHNSON (30%)

Among the greatest passers, my favorite was Magic. He was the ultimate conductor and it seemed like he had four guys on a string. LeBron, like Magic before him is obsessed with making his teammates better. They both lead with joy and a brain for the game. James was a share first guy from day one, and is one of the elite passers in his own right. He comes up with crafty stuff, especially getting the ball cross court. The King and Magic are also a perfect match as rebounders. LeBron seems to go the Finals every year, a place Johnson found himself 9 times over 12 seasons.

 

SCOTTIE PIPPEN (15%)

It’s the point forward thing. Mostly it’s that Scottie Pippen was a defensive terror with athleticism and length. He could matchup all over the floor. LeBron can check anyone in the league in a pinch. His defensive versatility is arguably his most impressive trait.

 

MICHAEL JORDAN (20%)

Michael Jordan took what he wanted when driving to the hole. He’d pull up and go glass, go around you, over you, and even through you. LeBron James is unstoppable driving to the basket. Finesse and power come together in harmony. Nobody had energy like Jordan. He only slept four hours a night during his prime. Dropping 22 in the final quarter, while shutting down his man was just another Tuesday night for Mike. King James is producing a new kind of energy. He has a body and a skill set that has him on pace to be great at an older age than anyone in NBA history. In his 15th pro season, LBJ is slapping father time in the face.

Jordan is the greatest player I’ve ever seen. It was not because he was 6-0 in the Finals….He actually just played basketball better than everyone else has. As LeBron ages, he reminds me more of Michael now than ever.

 

CLYDE DREXLER (5%)

LeBron also has a smooth side. I think of Clyde “The glide” at his best. Drexler would spin and lay it in pretty. He may dunk it from 10 feet out, or swoop in for a timely finger roll.

 

DWYANE WADE (5%)

On a professional and personal level LeBron and D Wade are close and share a lot of beliefs and history inside the game. Both guys are explosive scorers. Their similar styles were evident in the alley-oop connection they displayed in Miami. King James is a much better clutch player than his reputation suggests.

Jay C. Brandriet

12/5/17