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NOT QUITE: Since Michael Jordan’s retirement, it has been common for media, fans and players alike to discuss who could be the next MJ – not just in dominance on the court but in play style, cultural impact and global popularity. So far, only LeBron James and Kobe Bryant came close to matching Jordan in those distinctions.
Here are seven other players who were called the next Jordan, but wound up having different careers (to say the least).
Mickael Pietrus: The French swingman became known as Euro Jordan by the time he was 19 and an NBA prospect thanks to sharing the same height as Jordan (6-foot-6) and rocking his sneakers. Pietrus would go on to have a solid NBA career, lasting 10 seasons and bouncing around some pretty good teams as a role player, but he never became more than a complementary piece.
Harold Miner: As a young high school 2-guard in Inglewood, Miner became known as Baby Jordan due to his otherworldly leaping abilities. Despite a stellar college career at USC, Miner would last just four seasons in the NBA, partially due to knee troubles. The one thing he and Jordan did end up having in common is they both won two Dunk Contests so there’s that, at least.
DeShawn Stevenson: A popular draft site famously dubbed Stevenson’s NBA comparison as Michael Jordan, a blunder that still gets brought up to this day. In fairness, Stevenson did have a decent 13-season career as a tough-nosed defender and respectable outside shooter. He even won a title with the Mavs. Plus, scouting players is not easy, so we should all cut them a bit of slack.
Andrew Wiggins: Well-known in the basketball world before even reaching ninth grade thanks to a viral highlight mixtape from back when he was 13 years old, Wiggins earned the moniker Maple Jordan from fans because of his size, explosiveness and Canadian descent. Wiggins’ NBA career to this point has been a bit disappointing, but at least he’s averaging nearly 20 points over 454 career games.
Jerry Stackhouse: Standing 6-foot-6, playing shooting guard and becoming a star at North Carolina naturally led to Stackhouse being compared to Jordan. He never came close to reaching those heights in the NBA, but he did enjoy a long 18-year career in which he earned two All-Star nods and became the only MJ teammate to finish a season with a better scoring average than His Airness.
Vince Carter: Even as a high-school recruit, Carter was dubbed a potential next MJ. His choosing to go to North Carolina only made the talk louder. Vince Carter is currently in the final season of an awesome-but-not-remotely-Jordanesque career, one in which he made eight All-Star rosters and two All-NBA teams (one 2nd Team and one 3rd Team).
Grant Hill: Former St. John’s head coach Lou Carnesecca once compared Hill to Jordan and who knows? Had Hill not suffered from constant injury troubles in the NBA, maybe he could have made a stronger case. Nonetheless, Hill played 18 seasons in the Association, was a five-time All-Star and even reached 1st Team All-NBA status once, and 2nd Team All-NBA four times.
CORONA UPDATE: Teams around the league are slowly but surely opening up their practice facilities to players who want to get shots up. That has led to optimism growing within the NBA that they’ll be able to resume the 2018-19 season at some point. Fingers crossed.
For an in-depth look at how players are managing to stay in shape throughout all this, check out this longform piece we dropped this week.
STILL NO LOVE OUT EAST: China hasn’t forgotten about Daryl Morey’s tweet regarding Hong Kong. As such, they still have no plans to air NBA games if and when the league does pick back up.
CELTICS’ EYEING RIVAL: Boston reportedly has an interest in Christian Wood, an impending free agent for the Pistons who was having a career season before the shutdown.
NOW HEALTHY: Blake Griffin is ready to play basketball again, whenever the league does return to action. Griffin had knee surgery back in January.
SHOW HIM THE MONEY: Hawks big man John Collins believes he’s worth a max deal but understands the NBA is a business, so it’s not a lock he’ll get one.
WHO’S THE GOAT? First, we examined Jordan’s case for the all-important honor. Now, we take a look at LeBron James’ candidacy.
SUPER CLUTCH: Curious about which NBA player has been involved in the most buzzer-beaters ever? Click here to find out.
GAME OF ZONES: Creators of the super-popular Game of Zones, Adam and Craig Malamut, joined our own Alex Kennedy on the podcast this week. Fun stuff discussed in there.
FREE AGENCY WATCH: Free agency is going to be very interesting this summer after the pandemic-related fall in revenue for the league. Here are the five teams with the least flexibility moving forward.
DRAFT PROSPECT TALK: Former Charleston Cougars star and 2020 draft prospect Grant Riller talked to us recently, comparing himself to Fred VanVleet and Lou Williams.