- Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters
- NBA Rookie of the Year front runner Ja Morant said watching “The Last Dance” helped him realize that Michael Jordan, not LeBron James, is the greatest basketball player in the history of the game.
- Morant noted that since he hadn’t “seen Jordan play in-person,” his “focus was LeBron” since “that’s who [he] grew up watching.”
- “‘The Last Dance’ actually gave me an opportunity to see how [Jordan] actually was, like how he actually played, his mindset,” Morant said. “Just watching that, taking everything out of that, I think he’s the GOAT.”
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Ja Morant has weighed in on the debate over which player is the NBA’s greatest of all time.
The front runner for this season’s rookie of the year award did not hesitate in declaring Michael Jordan the GOAT, but he didn’t always feel that way.
Morant, who is 20, never had the chance to watch His Airness play in his prime, so he wasn’t fully aware of just how dominant the Chicago Bulls icon truly was. In an interview with Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks, the Memphis Grizzlies point guard said “The Last Dance” – ESPN’s 10-part documentary series about Jordan and his 1997-98 championship team – helped open his eyes to MJ’s greatness.
“I haven’t seen Jordan play in-person, other than highlights,” Morant told Rooks on her digital series “Take it There with Taylor Rooks.” “You hear people talk about him. ‘The Last Dance’ actually gave me an opportunity to see how he actually was, like how he actually played, his mindset.”
“Just watching that, taking everything out of that, I think he’s the GOAT,” he added.
Prior to the documentary series, Morant said his “focus was LeBron [James]” since “that’s who [he] grew up watching.”
- Brandon Dill/Getty Images
“My focus was LeBron. I watched Bron. He was my generation,” Morant said. “That’s who I grew up watching on so I couldn’t speak on somebody I haven’t seen or anything. At that point, I was just saying, of his generation, it’s [Jordan]. Of ours, it’s Bron.”
“But all around, it’s Jordan,” he added.
In the same interview, Morant acknowledged that he had underestimated James heading into his first season playing in the NBA. Last time he spoke with Rooks, Morant left King James out of his “dream starting five” lineup featuring modern NBA players. Initially, Morant named himself, Paul George, Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Anthony Davis.
- Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Most of an NBA season later, the rookie has thought better of that choice.
“I’d probably say I’ll add Bron in there,” Morant said. “[Because of] his feel for the game and how he can affect the game in so many ways.”
Check out the full interview below:
“I deserve it.” @JaMorant says he’s ROY over Zion ????
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 21, 2020
- Read more:
- ‘The Last Dance’ was my first real look into Michael Jordan’s greatness, and it’s shifted my perspective on the GOAT debate
- ‘The Last Dance’ is over, and now Michael Jordan’s ex-teammates are lining up to bash the documentary
- The surprise feel-good story of Kevin Durant’s new documentary on PG County basketball was Quinn Cook’s NBA breakthrough
- Agent Rich Kleiman reflects on Kevin Durant’s famous 2014 MVP speech: ‘You’re never going to replicate that moment’