Michael Jordan is without any kind of question the greatest basketball player of all times, and anybody who tries and debate that is only trying to have a hot take and create a silly narrative. As simple as that.
What Jordan did for this game is something that may never be matched, and of course, it’s quite entertaining to see LeBron, Davis, Durant or Antetokounmpo, but they’re still no match for The Black Cat.
Ever since MJ came into the league and completely dominated every single aspect of the game, scouts, fans and general managers have been patiently waiting to watch a player as talented, dominant and influential as he ever was, and even though we’ve been quite close, we’re still yet to find the next Jordan.
Obviously, this doesn’t mean scouts haven’t tried though, as there have been a lot of players compared to the GOAT that have mighty struck out afterward, and today, we’re going to let you know about the top 10 players that were supposed to be the next Michael Jordan.
10. Len Bias
Len Bias has one of the saddest stories this league has ever seen, passing away due to a heart condition caused by cocaine overdose just a couple of days after being drafted 2nd overall by the Boston Celtics.
Bias was one of the most talented players in the nation at that time, was a terrific scorer at both the shooting guard and the small forward spot, and even coach Red Auerbach stated that he had been scouting him for three years and that he was set to be the team’s focal offensive point for the long run.
9. Harold Miner
Thanks to Harold Miner’s outstanding tenure at the University of South Carolina, he was even acknowledged as the “Baby Jordan”, being drafted 12th overall by the Miami Heat in 1992 to be the team’s leading scorer for the future.
Nonetheless, other than winning a couple of Slam Dunk contests, Miner’s NBA career was pretty much a failure, playing for the Heat and Cavs over a 4 season span with averages of 9 points and 1.2 assists, not flashy numbers for a combo guard.
8. Jerry Stackhouse
Spending his NCAA stint as the UNC comparing Tar Heels’ go-to-guy at the shooting guard spot, it was only natural to see people Jerry Stackhouse to Michael Jordan, and his offensive outbursts were enough for the Philadelphia 76ers to draft him with the 3rd overall pick in 1995.
Stack would go on to become an offensive stud throughout his entire career, but he was never able to settle down at one place and successfully lead a team to distance. Playing for the Sixers, Pistons, Wizards, Mavs, Bucks, Heat, Hawks and Nets, he would post career averages of 16.9 points, 3.2 boards and 3.3 dimes per game.
7. Michael Finley
Finley was another guy that drew a lot of comparisons with MJ but not just because of his offensive repertoire, but also because of his great impact on the defensive end as well as a terrific wing stopper.
Sadly, he was kind of a late bloomer and even though he spent 15 full seasons in the NBA, other than being a 2-time All-Star and an NBA Champion, he didn’t do much for himself to even be close to Jordan. Throughout his career, he averaged 15.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 0.9 steals per game for the Suns, Spurs, Mavs and Celtics.
6. Derrick Rose
Derrick Rose was called to do at least half of what Jordan did for the Chicago Bulls, but other than winning one MVP and leading them to the 1st spot in the Eastern Conference, the injury-prone point guard mightily failed to deliver for his hometown.
Rose has never been able to stay healthy after his first major injury, and he’s lost most of his speed and explosiveness, up to the point where no team wanted to offer him more than a 10-day contract after being waived by the Jazz. So far, he’s averaged 19.1 points and 5.8 assists per game.
5. Grant Hill
Grant Hill is one of the league’s biggest what-ifs, as he was one of the most talented two-way players in the game during his prime but constant injuries took a major toll on his career and he was never able to take that next step towards dominance.
Hill was a terrific passer and rebounder for his size and could score in bunches, but his career took a major downfall after being traded away from the Detroit Pistons. Also spending some time with the Magic, Suns and Clippers, Hill would go on to average 16.7 points, 6 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game.
4. Vince Carter
People tend to forget how much of an incredibly dominant scorer Vince Carter used to be back in the day, and obviously, after Stackhouse left UNC and he took the reins of the team, it didn’t take too long before everybody was calling him the next Jordan also.
Carter is no Michael Jordan but is one of the best scorers in the history of the game, and he was pretty much unstoppable during his New Jersey tenure. Over his long and great career, the greatest dunker in history has averaged 18.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game to go along with 1.1 steals.
3. Penny Hardaway
Back in the day, there were few shooting guards as capable as filling the stat sheet on a nightly basis as Anfernee “Penny Hardaway”, and even most Orlando Magic fans believe his jersey should be retired ahead of Tracy McGrady’s (because they both used the same number during different eras).
Hardaway led the Magic next to Shaq to the Finals but constantly struggled to shake off nagging pains and injuries, and he was just never able to gain back full strength after missing an entire season right after he left Orlando. Also playing for the Suns, Knicks and Heat, Penny posted career averages of 15.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5 assists and 1.6 steals per game.
2. Tracy McGrady
According to some of the greatest defenders in the world, there was no player harder to stop than Tracy McGrady during his prime, and truth to be told, his offensive versatility and skill set made him virtually unstoppable, either attacking the rim or shooting from three-point territory.
McGrady was a master of the crossover, was extremely fast, athletic and strong and also featured a terrific shooting stroke, and he’s one of the best scorers in the history of the game. Sadly, he was never able to put the cherry on top of the sundae with actually transcending in the playoffs. Playing for Toronto, Orlando, Houston, New York, Detroit, Atlanta and San Antonio, he left career averages of 19.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game.
1. Kobe Bryant
And obviously, the closest we ever had to Michael Jordan was definitely Kobe Bryant, and not only because he took a lot of his moves and made a living out of them, but because of his relentless mentality, focus on the defensive end of the court and competitive personality as one of the greatest players ever.
Bryant is the most memorable player in Los Angeles Lakers history, a 5 time NBA Champion, MVP, 18-time All-Star, 2 times Finals MVP, 2 times Scoring Champion, 4 times All-Star MVP and member of 5 All-Defensive squads, leaving career averages of 25 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game. Bryant was the closest one and even Michael Jordan said that Kobe stole all his moves.