Doc Rivers Reveals How he Underestimated Michael Jordan in His Rookie Year

Published 02/05/2021, 9:18 AM EST
SLUG: SP/WIZARDS4 DATE:12/03/02 PHOTO BY : JOEL RICHARDSON DIG WASHINGTON WIZARDS BEAT THE MILWAUKEE BUCKS 103-78,,, MICHAEL JORDAN HOLDS BACK CHARLES OAKLEY FROM GETTING INTO AN AGRUEMENT. (Photo by The The Washington Post via Getty Images)


Many NBA players of this generation might wonder what it was like, playing against the GOAT. With all the stories about how competitive he was, it was probably extremely interesting to go head to head with Michael Jordan.

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Well, the now Philadelphia 76ers head coach, Doc Rivers had the opportunity to face MJ. And he can explain exactly what it was like going up against the legend.

Doc Rivers facing the GOAT

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Everyone knows about the insurmountable success Jordan achieved in his NBA career. But what did he do to get? What was his mindset like? On ‘All The Smoke’, Doc Rivers gave an insight into that unexplored information. When Stephen Jackson asked him what it was like to play against him, Rivers said, “Michael was just tough. Mike was ruthless.”

If there was anyone somewhere close to MJ, it was Kobe Bryant. He stated, “Kobe approached his competitiveness. Other than that, I’ve never seen anyone more competitive. I remember his rookie year was my second year. And he got up to be the amazing star. And we played the memory map of the game. My first thought was there’s no way he can play that hard all season.

“And like, 10 years later, he was still playing the same way. I was amazed how much he gave on the defensive end and the offensive end, and his energy level at which he played like, I don’t know if there been anything like that.” 

Wizards star Michael Jordan watches Denver’s Kenny Satterfield during the first period of last nights game between the Denver Nuggets and the Washington Wizards. (Craig F. Walker/The Denver Post) (Photo By Craig F. Walker/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

The LeBron James vs Michael Jordan debate?

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Although Rivers clarified that he doesn’t like comparing players of different generations, he believes LeBron James is going to have one of the greatest careers. In fact, Stephen Jackson even pointed out that MJ’s and Bron’s rookie stats aren’t that different.

“For me, Michael is the greatest player. But LeBron is gonna have the greatest career ever. And what he’s doing right now is incredible.”

While the Jordan and James debate is endless, Rivers made his stance very clear. There is nobody like Michael Jordan, but there is also nobody like Bron, who is playing as if he is in the prime of his career entering his 18th season. Do you have a clear winner for this debate?

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Read also- “I Burst Out Laughing”: MJ’s Kids React to the Infamous Michael Jordan Crying Meme

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Yashima Bhatia

1489 articles

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked.

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