Stan Van Gundy: ‘Michael Jordan in His Final Year in Washington at 39 Years Old Played All 82 Games and Averaged 37 Minutes Per Game. If You Bought a Ticket to See Jordan, You Were Going to See Jordan’

Published 12/07/2021, 10:16 PM EST
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)

Presently, the NBA is far different from what it used to be. Rule changes and play style all differ from the old era of basketball.

However, one of the major differences between the two eras is playing through the season. While players take to load management today, the players of the past tried their best to play all 82 games. A prime example of this is Michael Jordan.

Jordan is one of the most proficient players to ever hold a basketball. The Hall of Famer is widely regarded as the greatest by many fans of the sport. While his on court abilities were always on point, his willingness to turn up at every game and compete added immensely to his greatness.


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He did not lose that quality till the last season of his legendary career.

DATE: 10/20/01 PHOTO BY : JOEL RICHARDSON DIG MICHAEL JORDAN AND THE WIZARDS HOST NEW JERSEY NETS (Photo by The The Washington Post via Getty Images) | Courtesy: Getty Images

Former coach Stan Van Gundy pointed out this difference between Jordan and the current attitude of the teams.

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Michael Jordan always showed up

Jordan was a true competitor during his time. One of his biggest positives was that he wanted to play and win all the games. Hence, seeing the superstar in every game back then was not a new thing.

Currently, teams look to rest players before playoffs or after a stretch of back to back games. Looking at this, Van Gundy pointed out how even in his last season, Jordan showed up for all games.

He said: “Chris Finch is absolutely right. Michael Jordan in his final year in Washington at 39 years old played all 82 games and averaged 37 minutes per game. If you bought a ticket to see Jordan you were going to see Jordan. It was a different world then.”

This depicts the difference in mentality between the current and past players. Jordan played 9 complete seasons through his career. Another player who had a similar mindset to Jordan was Kobe Bryant. He would play through the pain and the struggle just for the fans who are there to watch him.


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With most players taking rest today, there have been many instances where fans have been left upset as their favorite players sit out. This change in mentality could be hurting the NBA as the players take a voluntary rest despite being fit to play.

It depicts a big change as it is rare to see any player play all games in the season. What do you guys think of this change? Let us know in the comments below.


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Anuj Talwalkar

1032 articles

Anuj Talwalkar is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He is a student studying at NM College in Mumbai, aspiring to pursue sports management to follow his love for sports. Anuj started following the NBA last year, and he loves to combine his passion for writing with his understanding of basketball.