Views
1706
Comments
139
  • 03/28/2011, 10:13PM ET

FTW: Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretzky... SWITCHED AT BIRTH.

YODA (89-8-13) vs Darth Maim (76-21-7)
12
Votes
12
Votes
12
Votes
12
Votes


MJ and Wayne may be "The Greatest Ever" in their respective sports. This TD compares sports' icons...with a twist.

Topic: Who would've been better: Michael Jordan at Hockey or Wayne Gretzky at Basketball?


The answer: "His Airness", Michael Jordan.


I'll focus on 3 reasons for my conclusion...


1. Tale of the Tape: MJ: 6'6", Wayne: 6'0".
Both were avg height for their own sport in the 80s/90s. But when roles are reversed, it's advantage MJ.
A 6'6" frame is an asset in hockey, both because of the physicality of the game and the reach advantage of a longer stick.
Conversely, Wayne's tiny stature (as an NBA player) is an obstacle and affects the facets of the game where he could effectively compete.


2. Athletic Versatility: Wayne was a hockey prodigy, a specialist since age 5. MJ was an all around athlete (Baseball, Track, Football, Basketball) up to the HS level.
Bith guys had the timing, creativity, and finesse that theoretically "should" have allowed them to achieve elite status in a different sport.
But with MJ, we some evidence that he CAN cross over.


Reason 3: Next Arg.


Good luck, Sith Lord.


Topic: Who would've been better: Michael Jordan at Hockey or Wayne Gretzky at Basketball?

I will utilize the format Yoda has used in the first argument.

Glad you picked Jordan, because I would have selected Gretzky if I had the first choice. Why wouldn't I have chosen Jordan?

1. Tale of the Tape: Gretzky 6'0", Jordan 6'6"

a) How many 6'0 and under players have had success in the NBA?.....A.I., Michael Adams, Calvin Murphy to name a few.
b) How many 6'6" players have had success in the NHL?.....There are currently 25 players in the NHL right now. Bet you can't name 3!

2. Athletic Versatility: While it may be true that Jordan played other sports, Gretzky actually was an incredible box lacrosse player. He scored 158 goals as a 10 year-old player. And while it can be argued that hockey and lacrosse are similar, one takes place on ice and the other on solid ground....it takes a different skill set to succeed on different surfaces.
ps-and we were able to enjoy watching Jordan "play" baseball.


So which seems more outlandish...Gretzky scoring for the NBA, or Jordan skating in the NHL?


Best of luck Yoda. May the force be with you.....


"How many 6'6" players have had success in the NHL...Bet you can't name 3!"

I bet I can.

Zdeno Chara - 6'11" (09-10 Norris trophy, Top D-man).
Tyler Myers - 6'8" (09-10 Rookie of the Year)
Chris Pronger - 6'6" - former MVP

Height simply doesn't impede skating ability. NHL recruits are getting taller each year. Would Mario have been more Super at 6'1" instead of 6'4"?

You're right about Gretz and his early LaCrosse success. Apologies for the ommission. Both were athletic as kids. I still feel more confident in MJ's sample as he played mutliple sports to ages 14-15 at Elmsley Laney HS in NC.


Reason # 3 for MJ: "Approach to Winning"

As Argos' correctly mentioned in the thread, Gretz's strength was his offensive "vision". He antipicated the play with uncanny ability and rewrote the record books on offense. But as we all know, offense is just half the battle.
Jordan had offensive gifts but it was coupled with an unsatiable desire to shut down his foes on defense. MJ was a 9 time All Defensive NBA First Teamer.
While Gretz could fill a specific role in the NBA, MJ would have had multiple options/opportunities in the NHL.


Good counterpoint with the tall NHL players, however comparing the size of Zdeno Chara - 6'11" 255 lbs. to Jordan 6'6" 215 lbs. just illustrates that Jordan might become a defenseman in hockey with his size instead of the scoring machine he was in basketball. The average size of an NHL player is 6' - 6'1". Jordan would have most likely been an enforcer.


Not sure how defense in basketball translates into defense for hockey. Basketball players are "expected" to play defense...hockey has defensemen who's primary task is to play defense. Gretzky wasn't considered a defensive stopper because he didn't need to be.


And I have to add that Jordan was cut from his varsity basketball team when he was a sophomore. If he was the "all-around athlete" he should have made the team.


3.VisionYou alluded to Gretzky's rink vision. "He anticipated the play with uncanny ability...". This skill is a primary reason that Wayne would be able to translate his skills into becoming a premier point guard.


Argument 3: Summary and conclusion.....


Jordan an enforcer? That's pretty funny.
But YES, MJ's size provides more options than Lil' Wayne's.
MJ could have been a nifty Selke-type winger or like you've now put forth, an NHL D-man. The next Bobby Orr? Ha - Not too shabby.
It's daffy to think that tall NHL forwards (eg. Staal, Jagr, Mario) are at any disadvantage to avg height ones.

As for an NHL player's duties, I also have to disagree.
This isn't the NFL; Hockey's an end-to-end game (like basketball). If the other team has the puck, forwards play an important defensive role. (Likewise, D-men contribute on offense.)
Gretz wasn't defensively "irresponsible" but it was certainly not a strength. He didn't have a 2-way game like several other NHL centers in the era (eg. Messier, Yzerman, Trottier). Gretz's "vision" didn't translate to defensive prowess in his own league - the NHL. I don't think he'd bring it to the NBA.

We've discussed MJ in some detail, but you've not yet illustrated the potential advantages for #99. As such, I have little left to rebut.


So in this battle of probabilities, I will just say...

"Always bet on black!" - Wesley Snipes, Passenger 57


Good TD, Darth.


Why do I believe that Gretzky would have been better at basketball than Jordan at hockey?


1) Gretzky was obsessed with his game. He practiced hours and hours each day and developed his skills through hard work and repetition. Wayne would have brought this same determination to improving his skills as a basketball star.

2) He played in multiple leagues usually against players who were older, bigger, and more experienced...and he handled everything everyone dished out and he still was the best player on the "field".

3) His court vision would have been unmatched, to the same degree that his rink vision was superior.


Why do I believe that Jordan would not have been as successful as Gretzky.

1) Jordan was an average athlete until his junior year in high school. He wasn't even gifted enough to make his varsity basketball team his sophomore year. He was only 5'11" as a 10th grader.

2) Lack of hockey opportunity in North Carolina. How many rinks, leagues, and games would he have had access to?

3) Only a handful of minorities played during his heyday.


Well, there you have it.

Excellent TD Yoda...you always bring your A-Game.....

March 28, 2011  10:17 PM ET

Epic.

March 28, 2011  11:36 PM ET

Wow.

March 28, 2011  11:37 PM ET

Bith?

Comment #4 has been removed
March 29, 2011  12:18 AM ET

Wasn't Wayne Gretzky a great baseball player too? I think both MJ and Gretzky were all-round great athletes.

I would take Wayne for one reason though, his vision. He always say the game one or two plays ahead, and that vision made him a great playmaker on the ice and would probably make him a great playmaker on the court.

March 29, 2011  12:20 AM ET

Jordan was tall, but wasn't he kinda skinny? Height in the NHL isn't much of an advantage if your skinny.

March 29, 2011  12:21 AM ET

Gretzky was also a great lacrosse player.

March 29, 2011  12:35 AM ET
QUOTE(#6):

Jordan was tall, but wasn't he kinda skinny? Height in the NHL isn't much of an advantage if your skinny.

It's a bigger advantage than lack of height.

March 29, 2011  12:36 AM ET
QUOTE(#5):

Wasn't Wayne Gretzky a great baseball player too?

No.

March 29, 2011  12:36 AM ET
QUOTE(#7):

Gretzky was also a great lacrosse player.

True enough. He played organize summer league as kid.

March 29, 2011  12:37 AM ET

*organized

March 29, 2011  12:38 AM ET
QUOTE(#5):

Wasn't Wayne Gretzky a great baseball player too? I think both MJ and Gretzky were all-round great athletes.I would take Wayne for one reason though, his vision. He always say the game one or two plays ahead, and that vision made him a great playmaker on the ice and would probably make him a great playmaker on the court.

Let Maim make an opening argument before you start yapping, please.
And MJ's vision also made him a great playmaker.

March 29, 2011  12:42 AM ET

Should be good! Star wars battle FTW!

March 29, 2011  01:47 AM ET
QUOTE(#3):

Bith?

You're my bith.

Comment #16 has been removed
March 29, 2011  03:43 AM ET

If only Yoda had been there to fight Darth Maul... Qui Gon would not have perished :'(

March 29, 2011  05:36 AM ET

Surprised to see Darth Maim take this one. Can't wait for the arguments.

March 29, 2011  07:25 AM ET

I give Maim a lot of credit for taking this TD. I think he was the more difficult case to make, and it's not as if he's arguing against an inferior opponent.

March 29, 2011  07:26 AM ET

I give Maim a lot of credit for taking this TD. I think he has the more difficult position to argue and it's not as if he's against an inferior opponent.

 
March 29, 2011  07:26 AM ET

Darn computer.

Comment

Remember to keep your posts clean. Profanity will get filtered, and offensive comments will be removed.


Leaderboard

  Fan W L T Win %
1 fvkasm2x 193 58 12 75.7%
2 7#bag _ Com 997 338 74 73.4%
3 HOOTZ 33 14 9 67.0%
4 Marlins Fan 156 78 31 64.7%
5 Argos. 184 101 29 63.2%
6 Goodell: Fannation Savior 644 430 71 59.3%
7 J-Business 78 66 19 53.7%
8 Highway... 175 852 64 19.0%

The Si.com Cover Hub Go to the Cover Hub

Truth & Rumors

MOST POPULAR

  1. 1
    Clippers, Warriors exchange barbs
    Views
    776
    Comments
    436
  2. 2
    Time to penalize NHL's perennial losers?
    Views
    986
    Comments
    273
  3. 3
    Report: Raiders to release Terrelle Pryor on Monday
    Views
    1295
    Comments
    59
  4. 4
    Will NFL owners blackball Donald Trump?
    Views
    1097
    Comments
    54
  5. 5
    Packers lovers have own dating site
    Views
    990
    Comments
    45

Most Active Users

Comments + Blog Posts + Throwdowns

  1. 1
    Robataille
  2. 2
    ~Mother-Marge~
  3. 3
    TxHeat
  4. 4
    buddhaa.luck
  5. 5
    Deep Creek

Message Boards

  1. MLB > Seattle Mariners

    HOUSTON (5-14) @ SEA (7-11) …
    Views
    19
    Replies
    3

Blogs