Former Phoenix Suns player, Channing Frye, was the latest to weigh in on Michael Jordan with a controversial opinion and the Internet let him know.
The Last Dance has reignited the discussion around who is the greatest basketball player of all time, and unsurprisingly, there have been a plethora of varied and passionate opinions on the matter. A couple of weeks ago, current Phoenix Suns player, Mikal Bridges, drew the Internet’s wrath when he speculated LeBron James would have scored as much as he wanted against the Celtics of the ’80s. Now, former Phoenix Suns 3-point specialist, Channing Frye, has drawn the ire of the pro-Jordan mafia.
On the Talkin’ Blazers podcast, Frye said of MJ:
He only had really one job. And that was to just score. And he did that at an amazing, amazing rate. But I don’t feel like his way of winning then would translate to what it is now. Guys wouldn’t want to play with him.
As much as I respect Frye and am neutral to a fault on the whole Jordan vs. LeBron topic, he says some stuff here that is just objectively incorrect.
Jordan had more than one job. Obviously, he was an elite scorer, but he was also a prolific defender. He wasn’t too shabby of a passer either and those are just tangible on-the-court skills.
He was also a leader off-the-court, which, when you’re the best player on the planet, is an important characteristic to help your team win. Jordan’s style, though, was to bully, chastise, and sometimes abuse his teammates into performing well.
Frye doesn’t think this ball-hogging, aggressive personality style would work today, and somewhere Kobe Bryant is turning over in his grave. Bryant, who retired recently enough to be considered “today,” was also known to be a bully in practice as well. Former teammate, Jeremy Lin, recently recalled a time when Bryant, who was injured at the time, came to practice just to, quote, “Say bye to some of you bums who will be traded tomorrow.”
And on the court, yeah, it is safe to say he was also volume scorer.
But we don’t have to look at former NBA players for comparisons; we can look no further than Frye’s former teammate, LeBron James.
The King has been known to demand greatness from his team in ways some have not exactly found pleasant. Granted, I’ve heard no stories where he punched the smallest player on the court in the face in practice, but still, we have all witnessed James rip into his teammates. And yet, he (like MJ and Kobe) has won at a tremendous rate in his career.
Frye knows current NBA players infinitely more than I ever will, but something tells me guys today would be perfectly okay playing with one of the best scorers to exist on planet Earth, even if that was his only job.
Regardless, and to Jerry Krause’s credit he did well, it is up to the General Manager to sign players that mesh with the team’s superstar.
You know, complementary role players like Channing Frye.