They say a good way to see the future is by taking a look into the past and that’s exactly what I’m going to be doing.
With today’s inductions into the Hall of Fame, I wanted to take a look and see if we can see the games of Michael Jordan, John Stockton and David Robinson in the games of some of today’s great players.
I think seeing their game in today’s players is part of their legacies and is a tribute in of itself. Here’s what I think:
David Robinson – Was a physical specimen. A freak athlete for a man his size. He was a rim running, force to be reckoned with. An accomplished rebounder. On defense he definitely was a paint protector and a shot changer. Players driving to the hoop against the Spurs had to look for him on their way. His game changed slightly when Tim Duncan got into the mix. He showed his ability to play at the high post and be deferential and it paid off for him with two championships.
Modern Day Comparison: Dwight Howard.
Certainly the physical aspect of Robinson is spot on with Howard. A specimen in the same right that the Admiral was. He’s become the force inside the paint that Robinson was for so many years in the NBA. He also plays that rim running style and finishes the same way with a monster dunk. He rebounds and blocks shots. David Robinson won one MVP award and Dwight I predict will at least get that and maybe more.
John Stockton- The ultimate point guard. Stockton is the NBA’s all-time leader in assists and steals. He averaged double digit assists for 10 straight years (’87-’97). He played hard, he was tough, scrappy and he wasn’t afraid to take big shots. Stockton could shoot from the outside as well as probe and create in the paint. He was slightly over looked in high school and attended a small college (Gonzaga), then slightly over looked coming out of college and in the draft, slipping lower than he should have. Without Jordan in the mix, Stockton probably would have been a multiple NBA champion.
Modern Day Comparison: Steve Nash.
Nash is a lot like Stockton in every way. With ball in hands, he’s always a threat to score or set up a teammate in perfect position to score. Nash has that same competitive edge that Stockton has. He plays just as hard, he’s just as scrappy and like Stockton, Nash is comfortable with taking and making a last second shot. Nash has a similar story through high school and college. He was over looked and attended a small school (Santa Clara) and in a loaded draft class, this two time MVP was picked lower than he should have been. Standing in the way of Nash and potential NBA championships? Tim Duncan and the Spurs.
Michael Jordan- Not a lot needs to be said about Jordan in this space that you don’t already know. The perfect basketball player. His size, speed, athleticism, desire, will and skills are probably all the way, if God were to make a basketball player, that’s how he’d make it. Combine all that with the most competitive fire possibly inside any athlete ever and there’s no doubt why he was the G.O.A.T. He accumulated MVP’s and championships over all his career.
Modern Day Comparison: Kobe Bryant.
Yup, you knew it was coming. But let’s be serious, while LeBron may be changing the way the “proto-typical” basketball player is built, Kobe is still that remaining link from “old-school” and is built just like Jordan. He has all the skills in the world and has that same competitive fire. Kobe will never be known as the G.O.A.T., even if he runs off a string of four more championships, I think that mantle to take from Jordan is too much of a task. But in terms of seeing one’s game in another, there is no doubt that you see a lot of MJ in Kobe.
During today there is going to be a lot of tributes to these three individuals and a lot of written word. I encourage you all to soak up as much as you can. Jordan, Stockton and Robinson were not only Hall of Fame talents on the court but they were all class acts off the court and the personification of professionals. They shaped the game and left it better than it was before them and that’s all you can ask. I thank them for many great memories and congratulate them for their rightful place next to the greats.