Michael Jordan is obviously one of, if not the greatest basketball player of all-time. He is also one of the most polarizing athletes of the modern era. His influence in today’s culture is hardly rivaled. Jordan has made many people NBA Champions, and he has also made countless other folks rich.
Jordan has a very large and very loyal following. There are many people who believe it is blasphemous to say a bad thing about MJ. His impact on culture stretches far beyond just his accomplishments as a player. Many adults and children wear Jordan shoes every day; his entire clothing brand has become a status symbol for many people.
His personality is also something that people look to when forming an opinion of Jordan. He is widely regarded as the most competitive athlete in sports history. The stories of MJ going overboard on his teammates are plentiful and also comical. He has an insatiable desire to win at whatever he does, and that can rub people the wrong way.
When you combine his personality with his status and influence, it is easy to understand why some people may feel passionate one way or another about him. So with that in mind, we will now reveal the list of eight people who hate Michael Jordan and eight people who love him.
16. Hate: Charles Barkley
Sir Charles Barkley has often defended MJ as the greatest basketball player of all-time, but that was not always the case. During their playing days, Jordan was the prime reason that Barkley was never able to win a championship, despite his incredible abilities. Barkley has recently shown some dislike toward Jordan for more cultural reasons. MJ recently made a political statement when he spoke out about the African Americans being killed by police. Prior to that statement, Jordan had been long silent and a non-participant in activism among the athletic community. Barkley was highly critical, along with other athletes, of Jordan’s silence.
This reluctance is nothing new for Michael, however. As we all remember, during his rise to fame in the 1990s, Jordan was asked about his shoes being sold to members of the Republican Party who were less than accepting of the “black culture.” Jordan’s famous response was “Hey, Republicans buy shoes too.”
15. Love: Kwame Brown
In 2001, Kwame Brown was a high school player looking to become a pro. He entered himself into the NBA Draft straight out of high school and the Washington Wizards had the first overall pick. The General Manager of the Wizards at the time happened to be Michael Jordan. Jordan, always the risk-taker, decided to become the first person to ever draft a high school kid with the first pick. History has shown that this pick was one of the worst mistakes ever made by a GM, but Jordan did what he thought was best.
Kwame Brown, of course, didn’t mind Jordan’s blunder. Brown was set for life after receiving his rookie contract. His career was mauled with injuries and talent shortcomings, but his bank account was never a worry again. I am sure MJ is not the biggest Kwame Brown fan, but Kwame is undoubtedly a huge Jordan fan.
14. Hate: Jerry Krause
Jerry Krause was the General Manager for the Chicago Bulls during their history three-peats. He was also despised by many of his players, including Jordan. Krause was a very selfish, greedy, and insecure GM. After every championship, Krause would flirt with the idea of blowing things up and rebuilding with players he drafted.
Krause and Jordan had many public disputes, including when Jordan received $30 million for a single season. Krause was one of the first people to publicly scoff at Jordan’s contract request, ultimately giving in to the public outcry to keep MJ in Chicago. Krause finally got his wish, however, in 1998. After Jordan retired for the second time, Krause blew the team up and started over. I think we all know how that went…
13. Love: David Stern
When David Stern took over as NBA commissioner in 1985, the NBA was on the rise. They had Magic Johnson and Larry Bird leading the league into the modern age and things were looking alright. But as Bird aged quicker than he should have, and Magic contracted the HIV virus, the NBA needed a new face. Luckily for Stern, there was Michael Jordan waiting in the wings.
Jordan entered the NBA in 1984, a year before Stern took over. The two of them basically started their careers together, and for Stern, Jordan could not have come at a better time. The emergence of MJ during the late ’80s and though the ’90s enabled the NBA to grow to astounding heights. David Stern is now regarded as one of the best commissioners in sports history, but without Michael Jordan as the face of his league, it is unlikely his reputation would be the same.
12. Hate: Patrick Ewing
Patrick Ewing was arguably the second best player of the Jordan Era, yet thanks to Michael, Patrick was never even able to make a Finals appearance. Jordan and Ewing had some of the greatest playoff battles of all time during their heights in the ’90s. Ewing was the center, and anchor for a New York Knicks team that easily had enough talent to win a title in almost any era.
It was not just Jordan who got under Ewing’s skin. If you have never seen the dunk that Scottie Pippen threw down on Ewing in the 1996 playoffs, you need to set a reminder on your phone right now to check that out! Ewing and Pippen went nose to nose after the posterization, but that damage had already been done. Pippen may have a great highlight over Ewing, but Jordan set Ewing home season after season, and for that, Ewing will never be a Jordan lover.
11. Love: Phil Knight
Phil Knight founded Blue Ribbon Shoes in 1964, and in 1971, it became NIKE. In 1984, NIKE signed Michael Jordan and his original shoe was banned from the NBA, causing quite a stir. With the attention given to Nike over the shoe ban, combined with the emergence of Michael, NIKE instantly became a billion dollar corporation.
Phil Knight is now the the seventeenth richest person in the world, according to Forbes. A large chunk of his net worth, which is over $24 billion, could easily be attributed to MJ, and for that, Knight must be a fan. That is a lot of money that Jordan made for NIKE, but we don’t need to feel too bad for Michael, as he is very clearly doing alright for himself.
10. Hate: Muggsy Bogues
Most people believe that MJ and Muggsy Bogues are pals. I mean they both starred in Space Jam, so they must be friends, right? Wrong! The truth is, Michael basically ended Bogues’ career during a 1995 playoff game. On the biggest possession of the game, Muggsy had the ball with the his team only down one point. Jordan, was sticking him, but he decided to back off of him and say, “Shoot it, you f***ing midget.” Muggsy shot it, but the shot was a complete brick. A year later, Muggsy actually told a Bulls assistant coach that he believes that single play ruined his career. His shot never recovered.
Mugs ended up having a sold post NBA life, but he surely holds a grudge against the ultra competitive Jordan.
9. Love: Phil Jackson
The epic battles that happened between these two during Bulls practice are legendary. But the truth is that Phil Jackson knows that Michael helped him become the God of coaching that he is now. Phil joined the Bulls in 1987, Jordan’s fourth season. When Jackson showed up, things began to change for the Bulls. He implemented a new offense that fit perfectly with MJ’s style of play, and the addition of Scottie Pippen didn’t hurt either.
Jackson parlayed his successes in Chicago into a gig with the Los Angeles Lakers, where he would add five more titles to his already exemplary resume. With the success in Los Angeles combined with the two three-peats in Chicago, Phil Jackson is now regarded as one of the two greatest NBA coaches in the history of the league.
8. Hate: Stephon Marbury
Stephon Marbury was, for a short time, a superstar in the NBA. He is currently a superstar in China, where he has dominated their professional league for years. He also, much like Michael, has his own signature shoe line. The difference between Marbury’s shoes and Jordan’s is the price. You can buy a pair of Marbury’s for around $30 while Jordan’s can run anywhere from $100-$500 big ones. The reason Marbury made his shoes was simple. He was tired of seeing people murdered for a pair of shoes, which is exactly what has been happening with Jordan shoes for over a decade.
Marbury has released several tweets expressing his disdain for Jordan and his greediness with his shoe prices. One tweet read, “Real people know. I’m off the kids getting killed for Jordan’s. I hate that this dude won’t change that. Greedy!” Jordan has never really responded to Stephon about the issues that are being raised, and for that, Marbury will likely never be able to forgive MJ.
7. Love: Jeffrey Harrison
Jeffrey Harrison is possibly Michael Jordan’s biggest fan, so that alone could get him on this list. However, it is not just his fandom that makes me believe he loves MJ more than almost anybody.
A video of Harrison playing ball at a local park in his home state of Idaho went viral early in 2016. The video showed the autistic Harrison hooping in a full-on ’90s Jordan outfit, down to the shin guard and socks; it was a cute video really. The clip drew so much attention that it actually found its way to Jordan himself. When he saw the video, he sent Harrison a package of Jordan garb along with a personalized letter encouraging Jeffrey to continue to pursue his dreams. MJ was even nice enough to give Harrison a phone call. When asked about the call, Harrison said, “I knew it was him. It kind of brought me to tears after I got off the phone so I figured this is really going to be nice, the fact that Michael Jordan took the time to call and put all this together. I love it, even the cologne, even the sweats. I love it.”
6. Hate: Will Perdue
As we have mentioned, and as you probably already know, Jordan was the fiercest teammate basketball has ever known. Stories about Bulls’ practices often sound more intense than the actual games. Jordan has gotten into it with several teammates, including Steve Kerr, Bill Cartwright, and Toni Kukoc. But the worst episode had to come when Jordan and Will Perdue were teammates in Chicago.
As the story goes, Jordan and Perdue got into IT over an illegal screen, but it would be better if we just listened to someone who was there. Horace Grant recollected on the story a few years ago saying, “I hate to tell the story but Will and I are still good friends… Typical Phil (Jackson) we run this play and Will set an illegal pick on MJ, and MJ said,’Will, don’t do that again.’ ‘Whatcha talking about’ that’s Will. MJ says alright; Phil says run it again. So naturally we run it two more times, illegal pick. MJ walks up to Will — boom. Lit him up. It was over; we grabbed Will — you’re not going to hurt MJ. MJ can take care of himself. The next day on the plane, Will gets on with this huge shiner.”
5. Love: Scottie Pippen
Before we start this entry it is only fair to mention that Jordan was unable to capture the ultimate goal until Scottie Pippen joined him in Chicago. But the truth is, Jordan propelled Pippen’s career to heights it would have never reached if not for MJ.
Pippen was a great player in his own right. During an era of incredible, transcendent talents, Pippen was right there in the mix. Players like Clyde Drexler, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, and David Robinson all have an argument as for who was the second best player during the Jordan Era. Had Pippen not been a teammate of Jordan’s, he could perhaps have been atop that short list for second best. I am sure Scottie would take six championships over a chance to have been second best, and that is exactly what he got… thanks to MJ.
4. Hate: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
The all-time leading scorer in NBA, and one of only two players to top Jordan on that list, is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Jabbar has been an advocate for Civil Rights since his days at UCLA under the legend John Wooden. His work in Civil Rights activism are well chronicled and he continues to this day to have an imprint on cultural values and equal treatment for all.
With that said, he was very discouraged about MJ’s business choices. The decision to choose profit over civic duty really got under Kareem’s skin. The main issue was Jordan’s refusal to take a stand against racial and class discrimination. Jordan had long been silent regarding hot button cultural issues, and Jabbar was highly discouraged by that. In an interview, Jabbar went as far as to say, “You can’t be afraid of losing shoe sales if you’re worried about your civil and human rights. He took commerce over conscience. It’s unfortunate for him, but he’s gotta live with it.”
3. Love: Drake
Drake is NBA celebrity fan number one these days. We all remember when he ruined the icon shot from last years All-Star Game when LeBron James and Kobe Bryant were squaring off one-on-one and Drake had to stand up and get his mug in the shot. With that aside, Drake is also possibly MJ’s number one fan. Drake had one of his dreams come to life when he got to work with Jordan. The two collaborated on the OVO Jordan 10 sneakers, which feature both the OVO and Jumpman logos.
Drake also enjoys dropping Jordan in some of his rap lines, especially when he gets to compare himself to MJ. It was taken to another level, however, when Drake released the song Jumpman. The song is in reference to the Jumpman symbol used on all Jordan gear. Many rappers have used MJ in their songs, but only one has actually used Jordan’s symbol as a song title.
2. Hate: Isiah Thomas
The history between these two goes deep. Jordan and Isiah Thomas battled in some of the most physical and intense playoff series in NBA history. The Pistons were the mountain Jordan was unable to climb early in his career. Once Jordan was able to knock off the Pistons, he did it with little grace. After knocking the Pistons out of the playoffs for the first time in his career, Jordan refused to shake hands with the “Bad Boys” after the final game.
There was also the freeze-out of Jordan in the All-Star Game. Thomas was the best PG in the NBA at the time, and he instructed his Eastern Conference All-Star teammates to freeze out MJ, as in, don’t give him the ball. Needless to say, that didn’t go over well with MJ, and Jordan hung onto that anger, unleashing it when he had the chance.
In 1992, the USA Men’s Basketball team was being formed and aging greats like Larry Bird and Magic Johnson were welcomed as captains of the team. In 1992, Jordan was at the height of his powers, and he seemingly had final say in who would represent the Red, White, and Blue. Well Jordan remembered the freeze-out All-Star game too. The story goes that Jordan told Team USA that he would not be part of the team if Isiah was on the roster. When the roster was released, Isiah was the glaring omission, and the rest is now history.
1. Love: Donald Trump
The man running for President has always touted himself as a great businessman. Part of his business expertise was owning several casinos, including the Trump Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. As we all know, Jordan is a big time gambler.
One of MJ’s best stories comes from the 1993 playoffs when he was playing the New York Knicks. Jordan and his Bulls were in New York and it was an off day between Games One and Two, the Bulls having lost Game One. The night before Game Two, Jordan was spotted at a New Jersey Casino, likely one of Trump’s many classy establishments. Jordan was seen gambling large sums of money long into the morning hours. After giving who knows how much money to Trump’s casino, Jordan went out and laid an egg in Game Two. The Bulls however, did go on to win the series, and the Championship that season.