Michael Jordan does no wrong, he has no flaws… he’s superman. The number 23 Chicago Bulls jersey was a guise for his clandestinely celestial, un-human Godlike superpowers.

Folks, let’s cut the crap. Everybody quits. Everybody quits.

Let me repeat it for the third time: everybody quits.

If you’re working a part time job while in college and you quit when you graduate because you have new opportunities, aren’t you accountable? There’s no shame. If you are married and you get a divorce, aren’t you quitting the marriage? There’s no shame in that. According to a bunch of BS statistics that may or may not be correct, most Americans in the 21st century divorce from their spouses. Usually younger people, I’d guess. Lots of ‘quitters’, right?

It seems like when a lot of people remember Michael Jordan’s career, they have selective memory, and so they come up with excuses and baseless reasons to validate his flaws.

Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all-time, but he’s a human being. In fact, believe it or not, but he always has been. He cheated on his wife, excessively gambled, punched a teammate, quit two sports (retired from basketball three different times), was selfish…

But y’know what? We as sports fans, most of the time, tend to remember people for their successes, not their failures. When I think of Michael Jordan, I don’t think about the crap I just listed above — I think about that way he dominated the league and racked up scoring titles; I think about the way he improved his game year by year and how he and Larry Bird always had chips on their shoulders because of their personal detractors and so they had to bust their asses and work hard to get where they want to be.

Folks, nobody is perfect. Quit putting Michael Jordan on the ‘love’ pedestal and quit putting LeBron James on the ‘hate’ pedestal. It’s becoming a pitifully popular thing to do nowadays. It’s getting overwhelming.

Again, I don’t know what happened to LeBron in game four of the Finals, but I’ll tell you this: that one game doesn’t define his career or depict the type of player he is. I mean, the last time he was held under single digits was the year 2007! That was four years ago! This whole situation kind of reminds me of Pau Gasol’s two playoff series this year. Gasol was especially atrocious against the Dallas Mavericks, but that doesn’t mean he’s all of a sudden terrible. Gasol is still a terrific basketball player. He’s a human being and allegedly had things going on behind the scenes (girlfriend/fiancee troubles). That’s not an excuse — it’s a reason.

Typical response from the average person, “Well, you’ve gotta get over those personal things!” My retort: Really? Really? Really? Please educate me. When my dad died on December 18, 2003 his death hit me like a ton of bricks. I wasn’t the same person for a long time. I spent a week with a hardcore cold and sickness because I had cried so much. What about when I lost the girlfriend I was with for 2 years/3+ months? What about when my uncle Danny passed away?

Adversity builds character, but character isn’t built within the time it takes to snap your fingers. There are processes, journeys, roads taken… etc. You have to allow yourself to grieve over personal struggles.

Michael Jordan won three NBA championships before he ‘quit’ (first retirement from basketball). His father was murdered. His father loved baseball, and Jordan felt an inner need to become a baseball player, so he quit basketball to pursue a career in baseball. That’s right — he QUIT basketball! But there’s no shame in that! He came back almost two years later, shook off the cobwebs and consequently won three more titles with the Bulls.

People ‘quit’ all the time. The term is thrown around loosely. It has a negative connotation to it because of the cliches we use in our everyday lives and the cliches we apply to motivational posters about dedication, perseverance and consistency. It’s become a negative stigma to even mention the word ‘quit’. It’s gotten so out of hand. We use it in sports all the time.

Kobe Bryant is one of the all-time greatest basketball players ever. In 2006, against the Phoenix Suns, in a game seven, he only shot the ball one time in the second half (if my memory serves me correctly). By all ‘standards’, and I love to JOKINGLY aggravate Lakers fans over this, HE QUIT! But guess what? Kobe is an all-time great and he will be in the hall of fame. He’s one of the best leaders the game has ever seen, let alone of the greatest players ever. What about last year’s game seven against the Celtics? Oh wait, that ‘Gasol guy who’s now terrible’ helped ’em out. Jeez, sports fans sure do know how to grind the ‘ol nerves and play the “what have you done for me lately?” card.

“Hey, Troy, Michael’s dad died. It’s a serious personal issue!” OK, when LeBron allegedly quit last year against Boston, there were all the rumors circulating about problems he was having with his mom’s BS. Isn’t that a personal issue? A personal struggle? What? Do we give Jordan a pass because he’s the greatest and we just cannot criticize him no matter what? Ludicrous.

We have excuses for every single one of MJ’s flaws.

“Troy, quit on top! There’s a difference between walking away before or after you’ve proven to be the best!” … Move the argument. Quitting is quitting.

We love MJ and we hate LeBron, so we must validate Michael’s flaws and point fingers at all of the ones LeBron possesses, right?

“Uhm, Troy, Michael never quit an entire game like LeBron” — Yeah, he just quit…an ENTIRE sport.

LeBron has an awful game where he, for whatever reason, doesn’t take more than 11 shots and misses the ones he was making — he’s framed as a quarter. Michael quits two sports — he’s, um, um, he’s MJ.

“MJ didn’t quit the league to quit, Troy! The NBA became too easy! He needed a new challenge!” — Uh, that’s not what he said. I heard that he’d lost the desire to play basketball.

I’m not saying that LeBron didn’t quit. I’m only saying that Michael Jordan, in all the meaning of the word ‘quit’, HAS quit in his career. Yes, Jordan is the greatest of all-time and I absolutely love the dude, but he is a human being and wasn’t perfect! Let’s stop putting him and LeBron on separate perches and pedestals and appreciate what they bring to the table and not be so damn quick to criticize in rapid OVERREACTION over a game or two!

It’s like a slap in the face to be compared to Michael Jordan nowadays because whoever the player is that’s being compared to MJ…no matter who it is, that player will never compare. It sucks for guys like Kobe and LeBron, as they are essentially POST-MJ players, and their careers are constantly being compared to Jordan, year after year, but LeBron’s the only one of the two guys I just mentioned that is playing right now, and he’s being absolutely SLAMMED for reasons that we’ve given Jordan a pass for, and I’m getting sick and fed up with it.

We validate mistakes by those we love. Our kids mess up — “Good kid(s) who made mistakes”. Neighbor kids make mistakes — “He’s a bad kid”. We loved MJ.

I know that some people are going to become aggressive over how I wrote that “MJ quit!” and they will say, “Troy, MJ isn’t a quitter” and ensue to believe that I’m some kind of MJ hater. That’s far from the truth. Michael Jordan’s play elicited me to being a basketball fan. NBA 2K11 is the greatest basketball video game of all-time because he’s actually in the game on the Bulls! I’m only trying to say that while people are criticizing LeBron and touting Mike as a flawless superhero, let’s take a second or two to remember that Mr. Jordan is a human being and he always has been. Michael Jordan had (and has) flaws. LeBron James has flaws. You, the reader, and your’s truly, ME, we have flaws! We are human beings! Let’s calm all of this hateful verbiage down. Don’t take what I’ve said about Jordan out of context.

Get over your biases, people. Take the emotions out of it. Let’s remember people for their successes and not their failures, and as for LeBron, instead of labeling a 26-year-old kid (that’s right — he’s a still a kid because the ubiquitous media likes to play around ball-of-yarn-and-cat style when it comes to LeBron’s basketball acuity and mental maturity) a quitter, why don’t we just sit back and watch his career unfold, because he has a plethora of years, and while he’s not perfect WHATSOEVER — and certainly, MJ isn’t/wasn’t either — he’s a physical monster and has a myriad of time to knock out the issues that have propagated his career pitfalls.

The Michael comparisons aren’t going to stop, unfortunately, but let’s stop glorifying LeBron as a quitter, and if you are one of the emotionally invested people who can’t because of your lackluster, trite, banal hate for a 26-year-old basketball player, then maybe you should pick up a new hobby or walk outside for a breath of fresh air.

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7 thoughts on “LeBron James Quit — Michael Jordan Never Did?

  1. Thoughtful post indeed. Well done, sir. It’s funny…I have heard the LeBron “reviews” for a couple days now and QUIT did creep into the conversations. I don’t think he QUIT. I just want to know what he was thinking. As it all unfolded in Game 4 and the initial aftermath, all I wondered was what WAS he thinking. What WAS going through his mind. QUIT never entered mine. I agree QUIT happens all the time, no shame in it if done for the right reasons, etc. I just want to reconcile the guy in the tunnel inspiring his teammates to give it them all with the guy who didn’t appear to do any of what he asked them to do. No, there is another word here besides QUIT that applies. I just don’t know what it is.

    1. Thank you, thank you!

      The speech before the game started blew my mind, and I had totally forgotten about it until you wrote it in a comment on your site, and it all came back to me to write a post about that instance.

      I can’t even explain in words how excited I am for tonight’s game to see how LeBron rebounds. I honestly see him playing a lot better when they head back to Miami in game six, but I’m intrigued to see how LeBron might answer tonight. What do you think?

  2. @ the writer, you should get a medal for sermonitis. Michael Jordan has to retire someday. Retiring from a sport is highly different than quitting during a game which is what fans and writers are referring to when they speak of LeBron James. Jordan did not ever quit during a basketball game.

    Far as Jordan’s marriage and divorce goes, that is between he and his ex-wife. You don’t really know anything about their relationship; and in short, I don’t believe Jordan had a lot of affairs not that once isn’t enought. Their marriage just went sour like a lot of marriages do and they were married a lot longer than a lot of celebrity marriages last. There is no need to stay in an unhappy marriage or relationship regardless….kids or no kids. I do see that he loves his children very much and he and his ex-wife do get along very well in spite of things. Another thing is that there is no law against gambling.

    BTW, Jordan never stated that he was a perfect human being and there is a video of him stating those exact words “I am not perfect”.

    Now for LeBron James….he is himself and MJ is the GOAT.

    1. glorified,

      First off, thanks for the comment.

      Secondly, you are moving the argument to validate random acts of Jordan’s choices. All I’m saying is that everybody in the world quits…at something at some time. Jordan quit basketball a couple of times. It’s OK. Jordan’s the man. I just put it all into perspective for all the MJ lovers who hate LeBron and say that he quitted. It’s a double standard in and of itself when you get down to the actual meaning of the word ‘quit’.

      As for your point about Jordan not being perfect, where did that come from? I’m not saying Jordan ever anointed himself to a perfect tee. Again, I’m only saying that he’s quit, too, only not in important series games like LeBron has. Nonetheless, he has ‘quit’ in at least something, the bare minimum.

  3. Late, but just for the record Jordan did actually “quit” in a playoff game against Detroit. He was criticized for shooting too much by the coach (Doug Collins), MJ then, in the next game, only took 8 shots trying to make a selfish point. They lost the game and the series in the next game. The story is in the book “The Jordan Rules”.

    Most times when you hear in criticism of another player (especially Kobe or Lebron) “Jordan wouldn’t do that……….”, if you are fair and look hard enough you’ll find MJ did that very thing himself.

    And no, MJ is not the GOAT, nobody is.

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