When we think of physical attributes that make a great basketball player, size, speed, agility, and the like immediately come to mind. What often separates the greats from the rest are traits that can be difficult to quantify. According to legendary sportscaster Al Michaels, the incredible eyesight of Michael Jordan is a perfect example.
On the newest episode of the “BS Report” with Bill Simmons, Michaels recounts the time he played golf with Jordan and baseball star Joe Morgan in Hawaii in 1998. After the round, the three sat down at a bar and began discussing the MLB’s home run race between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. Curious as to how the sluggers performed that day, their attention turned to a small TV in another part of the room. Jordan, Michaels says in amazement, could read the graphics on the screen.
There’s a television set that may have been 27 inches and is probably 50 feet from where we’re sitting at the table. One of the ESPN panels comes up and you can’t even make out the score [of the baseball games]… Morgan and I start to get up and walk over to the set, and Jordan is reading everything from the table.
[He’s saying] ‘Sosa: 2-4, home run, double’ and Morgan and I looked at each other. We went out into the parking lot and thought ‘Michael Jordan doesn’t see in 3-D, he sees in 4-D.’
…I said to Joe, ‘Can you imagine what the rim must look like to Michael Jordan from 15 feet? 4-D.’
As far as we know, humans can’t actually see in ‘4-D’; Jordan, however, isn’t most humans. Stuff like this just adds to the lore of MJ, a big reason why he’ll never be surpassed as the public’s choice for greatest player of all time.
And while Jordan is the only one who knows for sure whether or not the rim actually looked bigger to him than others, Michaels is certainly right about the power behind his eyes. No player had, has, or will ever have a stare like MJ’s.
What do you think?
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