Freeman Cebu Sports


EVERY POUND COUNTS - Alan G. Choachuy - The Freeman

Finally, after an overload of Korean drama and varying documentaries streamed online, sports fans finally have something to enjoy amid quarantine. Obviously, I am referring to the most latest docu craze that took 22 years to make. Titled ‘The Last Dance’, the 10-part series takes up the journey of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the 1997-98 NBA season. At that time, His Airness and his comrades are gunning for their sixth title in eight years. The first two episodes of the sought-after docu was aired by ESPN last April 19 and on the worldwide scale via Netflix last April 20. This documentary is exactly what the basketball world needs during this pandemic. It gives fans, and self-proclaimed analysts, something to discuss or debate about at this time when the sports world is in a stansdtill.

Admittedly, I’m a Michael Jordan fanatic. I collect MJ memorabilia from magazines, action figures, cards, DVDs and even his own line of perfume. The first time I heard of Jordan was during the 1984 Olympics. Upon getting home from school, I rushed to plug my television set to get a glimpse of this super athlete but forgot that our TV was only 110v.  The next thing I heared was a loud zap. Seriously, my grandfather, the late Perfecto Gotauco, was my partner in watching basketball games. He would explain to me the rules of the game and even take me to watch the PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) games live. I had watched limited NBA games only through TV, betamax or VHS tape, which was a recorded game we rented out in video stores.

Back to Jordan’s documentary that are shown via Netflix every Monday until the whole month of May. The hot topic from the first 2 episodes come from one of the 50 NBA greatest players in Scottie Pippen and Bulls general manager Jerry Krause. It recounts that Pippen started only as an equipment manager for his school’s varsity team and rose to the ranks as one of the best team players the world has ever seen. His talent and height improved every year, from a short 5’9” point guard to a 6’7” big guard. He brought his talent to the NBA as a sidekick but provided the much needed support, making Jordan label him as his best teammate of all time. Jordan repeatedly said when you talk about Michael Jordan, you should always mention Scottie Pippen. There will be no Jordan without Pippen. As for Krause, he is your typical shrewd GM who takes advantage of the situation. But one could not discount the fact that he is the chief architect of the Bulls’ sublime basketball program, from recruiting, trading and hiring the coaches. He definitely has an eye for talent. He brought in the then ‘unknown’ coach Phil Jackson to Chicago and was responsible for trading Charles Oakley for Bill Cartwright. He was also quick to offer a long-term contract for Scottie Pippen. Anyway, it’s better that you watch for yourself the two episodes to get the complete details.

Today, there’s a never ending debate as to who is the GOAT ( Greatest Of All Time) in NBA. The big guns that have always been compared to Jordan are Lebron James and the late Kobe Bryant. Unfortunately, the so-called social media experts or those who we call the keyboard warriors, resort to bashing and insulting players on who is the greatest of all time. But if you look at the rich NBA history, we forget that before Jordan, there exists a bunch of superstars in the mold of Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabar, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russel, Oscar Robertson, and Jerry West, the model of NBA’s logo. These guys though belong to a different era. Bill Rusell, who has 11 rings attached to his name, could be an easy pick as the GOAT. The same goes to Wilt Chamberlain, who once scored 105 points in one game. Remember also that there are statistics that were not recorded compared to the modenn times.

As for me, my list of GOAT in each era that I have witnessed in the 1980s are as follows. Magic Johnson, Julius Erving, Isiah Thomas and Larry Bird in the ‘80s. His Airness Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon in the ‘90s, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnet and Dirk Nowitski in 2000-2010, ang Lebron James, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard from 2011 up to present.

These are all just for a hearty and friendly discussion. Please feel free to send me your choices of top 5 Greatest Players in each era from the ‘80s, ‘90s, 2000-2010 and 2011 up to the present. You may e-mail it to [email protected] The first 5 to share their views will get a special prize but available only after the ECQ.


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