Michael Jordan walked away from the game in 2003 following a disappointing season with the Washington Wizards, but to this day, he remains as relevant as ever. Now more than ever in past years, his reign as the greatest of all-time has come into question with many arguing that LeBron James has surpassed him. And while some find that outrageous, believing that Jordan will always reign supreme. As the owner of the Charlotte Hornets, Jordan is still highly involved in today's league as he hasn't completely walked away from the league yet.
That's not to mention the Jordan Brand which is extremely important for him, and has led to some friendly relationships with current NBA players, as well as sour feelings towards those who turned the offer. Jordan still commands respect more than anybody else and has a certain aura about him that is hard to put into words. Today's players still admire him despite the fact that many of them never even watched him play - but that goes to show his overall impact on the game of basketball that can still be felt today.
And while he seems to respect many of today's active players, Jordan doesn't have quite the positive relationship with everyone as many have unfortunately landed on the wrong side of his approval. His relationships with past peers are well-known by this point, but not many happen to be aware about his feelings towards current players. Here are NBA players Michael Jordan respects and who he does not.
20 Respects: Kobe Bryant
Many believe to this day that Kobe Bryant is in fact the closest player to Michael Jordan on the all-time list, rather than LeBron.
MJ clearly hold Kobe in high regard as well and goes so far as to call Kobe his "little brother".
When Kobe was on his retirement tour in the NBA, Michael Jordan released a video praising Kobe, whose ascension coincided with Jordan's career winding down:
"I'm pretty sure you're just like me," he said. "You're going to have to find other ways to utilize that competitive drive." Jordan doesn't throw praise to just anybody. You could tell how genuine he was in his praise for Kobe.
19 Does Not: Draymond Green
Draymond Green's on and off court antics haven't exactly made him one of the most popular players among his peers. A few years ago, while everyone was arguing about the best players in the league on Twitter as usual, Green decided to give his 2 cents on the debate by throwing a shot towards Michael Jordan - which didn't go too well with some of his followers. Green claimed that the name Michael Jordan comes up in these conversations way too often, indicating that he doesn't understand why since he has been retired for so many years. Based on that tweet as well as his antics, it doesn't seem like Jordan is too fond of him.
18 Respects: Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook earned the respect of Michael Jordan a long time ago when he inked a deal with the Jordan brand. But that has only increased in recent years following his MVP year, while also choosing to remain in Oklahoma City Thunder.
A few years ago, Jordan praised Westbrook for his loyalty to the team and leading the way, which many viewed as a subliminal shot towards his former teammate Kevin Durant.
It is rare for Jordan to compliment players in interviews, so his praise towards Westbrook speaks high volumes as he seems to hold him in the highest regards.
17 Does Not: Lonzo Ball
Being the son of LaVar Ball, it is fair to assume that Michael Jordan dislikes him by association. In his rookie season, Ball didn't exactly come across as the most likable guy either - disrespecting many past legends from rappers to athletes. As for LaVar, he was constantly talking trash about Jordan and went as far to claim that he would beat him in a one on one. Jordan hasn't exactly given him the time of the day, nor is it likely that he ever will. Thanks to his father's high involvement in his career, Lonzo Ball has already made some enemies on the court as well as outside it.
16 Respects: Kemba Walker
Michael Jordan may not be an active player anymore but he is still highly involved as the owner and chairman of the Charlotte Hornets.
Over the years, he has had nothing but praise towards Kemba Walker - claiming that he is a true professional in every sense of the word.
Jordan even responded to rumors regarding a possible trade by claiming that he loves everything about Kemba, and would only listen to teams offering an All-Star player - adding that he is more than happy to keep Kemba around since he isn't shopping him around. In 2015, Kemba also joined the Jordan Brand where he remains a sponsored player as of today.
15 Does Not: J.R. Smith
If you are a hardcore fan of Michael Jordan, you probably became a fan of JR Smith who cost the Cleveland Cavaliers Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals with a ridiculous blunder - and thus putting an end to LeBron James' hopes of closing up on Jordan as far as championship rings. But when it comes to MJ, we can't imagine him being much of a fan of JR Smith - who famously declared that LeBron had surpassed him two years ago as the greatest player of all-time. Such comments are guaranteed to land on MJ's wrong side of the list.
14 Respects: Carmelo Anthony
When it comes to the Jordan brand, Michael Jordan tends to recruit the best players in the league as well as his favorites from various teams. It is no surprise that Carmelo Anthony landed a deal years ago when he was just a rookie, as Jordan seems to have plenty of respect towards him. At the time, he even went as far to say that Carmelo was better than LeBron and a more complete player. Of course a lot has changed since then, and while Melo has had a great career, the debate from their rookie years is no longer relevant. To this day, Carmelo is still signed to the Jordan brand and he gets yearly released kicks.
13 Does Not: Vince Carter
The 2003 NBA All-Star Game is known for being one of the absolute best of the competition due to the constant back and forth between both teams. And that's not to mention that it was Michael Jordan's 14th and very last All-Star appearance, so it was quite the special night.
While he wasn't voted in as a starter, there was high pressure for one of the starters from the East to relinquish their spot to Jordan.
Given Allen Iverson's ego, that was likely not going to happen so fans were expecting Vince Carter to do so. And while he finally ended up doing it, Carter wasn't necessarily on board and had to be convinced to let MJ take his spot - which reportedly rubbed him the wrong way.
12 Respects: Chris Paul
It didn't take Chris Paul long to earn a deal with the Jordan Brand after joining the league. Since then, he has been one of the best players in the NBA, as well as a great representative for the brand. Jordan has always spoken highly of Paul as a player and person - and the pair have done many photo shoots over the years. Not to mention that Paul has also been apart of many Jordan-led camps, which led to friendly competitions between the two. Paul should certainly consider himself lucky as not many NBA players get that treatment from Jordan.
11 Does Not: Dwyane Wade
There was a time when Dwyane Wade would have landed on the other side of this list as Michael Jordan was quite fond of him back when he was a sponsored athlete by the brand. But once he surprisingly rejected an extension, and opted to sign a deal with Li-Ning - it seems like MJ has had some bitter feelings towards Wade. These days, he is a businessman who prioritizes the iconic shoe brand over anything else - so he didn't exactly receive the news of Wade's departure from the brand with great respect - which was possibly made even worse following his disappointing stint with the Chicago Bulls.
10 Respects: Blake Griffin
Blake Griffin isn't nearly as popular or praised as he once was, but Michael Jordan has had some positive comments to share towards him over the years. Griffin came off an impressive rookie season, followed by some great years with the Los Angeles Clippers - but it appears like injuries may have taken their toll on him.
With so much ongoing discussion about a sequel to Space Jam a few years ago, and fans linking LeBron James to the project, Jordan surprised everyone when he said that Griffin would be much more suitable for the role.
And considering that he has been signed to the Jordan brand for so long, that goes to show how much respect Jordan has towards him.
9 Does Not: Nick Young
It is understandable as to why Michael Jordan would dislike Nick Young given his immature antics over the years. But Young has gone out of his way to get on Jordan's bad side by talking trash about the Jordan Brand, and claiming that he wouldn't wear their shoes anymore. A few years later, he stated his belief about Kobe Bryant being a greater player than Jordan - which is probably the ultimate disrespect for the latter. And while Young may not be interested in rocking Jordan's anymore, we highly doubt that MJ even wants him associated with the brand at all.
8 Respects: Jimmy Butler
Two years ago, Jimmy Butler became a Jordan Brand sponsored athlete and has had some signature shoes released since then. Given that Michael Jordan had invited him to attend many of his camps, it's safe to say that he holds him in high regards. At some point, there was a strong connection between the two since Butler played for the Chicago Bulls - and while Jordan may have been disappointed to see him traded, there is no doubt that he also respects what he has done by leading the Minnesota Timberwolves to the playoffs for the first time in a decade.
7 Does Not: Joel Embiid
Known for his sense of humor, Joel Embiid does have the tendency to take things too far every now and then. And considering how protective Michael Jordan happens to be regarding his legacy, he certainly doesn't appreciate when someone attempts to call him out or discredit his accomplishments.
Embiid has cracked way too many jokes on Twitter that have probably landed him on Jordan's wrong side of the list, although he certainly has to admire his talent.
And if that wasn't enough, then the video of him discussing the GOAT at the All-Star game with Al Horford - in which Embiid questions as to why Jordan is the greatest - will have surely done the trick.
6 Respects: Dirk Nowitzki
As a young kid, Dirk Nowitzki idolized Michael Jordan and even had posters of him across his walls as he dreamed of reaching the NBA. Once the dream became a reality, Dirk instantly the respect of his peers as he became one of the greatest Power Forwards of all-time, as well as one of the most influential as a big who can score from anywhere. A few years ago, Jordan gave an interview in which he was asked which of the current players would truly succeed in the 90s - and he included Dirk as one of the only four along with LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan.
5 Does Not: Kevin Durant
Two years since joining the Golden State Warriors, fans are still constantly criticizing Kevin Durant for joining the team that had already won the title - especially since his previous team had just been eliminated against them in the playoffs.
Michael Jordan was asked about the move and he indicated that Durant has the right to go wherever he wants as a free agent - although he did throw some jabs towards him.
Jordan indicated that he wouldn't have done it that way, and went on to repeat it twice - which should tell you that how he truly feels about Durant even if he chose to not put him on blast.
4 Respects: LeBron James
Since MJ's retirement from the league, LeBron James has certainly been the biggest threat to Michael Jordan's claim as the greatest of all-time. And while he may have thrown some subtle jabs over the years, Jordan certainly respects LeBron's talent and accomplishments. In LeBron's rookie year, he did show plenty of respect while somewhat dismissing him at the same time by claiming that Carmelo Anthony was a more complete player. But over the years, LeBron has come to truly earn Jordan's respect as one of the best players of all-time. These days, the debate for the GOAT between them has been once again heating up following LeBron's impressive performances in the 2018 Playoffs.
3 Does Not: Stephon Marbury
Marbury and Jordan's beef goes to their shoe brands, as MJ obviously has the most popular shoe brand in all of sports. Stephen Marbury became a huge star in China after his NBA career fizzled out and he has touted his shoes as being more affordable, while also taking shots at Jordan's shoes in the process. He questioned how Jordan's shoes are made and he accused Jordan of ripping kids off with overpriced shoes. Clearly, he didn't hold Jordan's ethics in high regard. Jordan didn't respond to the shots fired, but since he didn't bother to answer, he obviously doesn't hold Marbury in high regard.
2 Respects: Charles Oakley
Michael Jordan played with Charles Oakley who was somewhat of an on-court bodyguard to him and all these years later, Oakley is one of the few people Jordan has remained friends with. When Oakley got in some turmoil with James Dolan and the New York Knicks a while ago, Jordan feverishly came to Oakley's defense and was quick to denounce how his friend was being treated by the Knicks organization. In fact when Adam Silver issued a statement on the situation, Jordan was there alongside the commissioner. The fact that Jordan went so far as to defend Oakley shows how highly he regards him.
1 Does Not: Golden State Warriors
We've already covered how Jordan threw some shade at Kevin Durant for jumping ship in order to win an NBA Championship, but following the Warriors' 73 win season in which they failed to cap it off with a title, Jordan threw some shade at the Warriors' owner Joe Lacob. During a card game, Lacob was bragging about how successful his team was, but MJ gave him a reality check, by telling Lacob their 73-win season was worthless without a championship and that the 1995-96 Bulls still can't be touched. Considering the Warriors couldn't finish the job, it's hard to argue with MJ's logic there.