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Michael Jordan Said That Zone Defenses Would Have Changed His Career


Michael Jordan apparently had a strong position against zone defenses and he claimed that if he played with that system, his career wouldn't have been as it was. MJ was always going one-on-one with rivals and that allowed him to do whatever he wanted with the opponents. 

He was a complete show on the court, doing impressive plays every game and scoring a lot of points in 15 years of career. If there was something he wasn't a fan of, that was zone defenses and back in 2001 he made it clear. As the league was getting readying to make some changes in the rules, MJ explained that allowing zone defenses would be bad for the offenses. 

Sam Smith wrote in 2001:

The subject was defense in the NBA, and Michael Jordan was speaking, although more about offense, especially his. We know few defenses could do anything about that.

But there was one that might be bothersome, the zone defense. It was the topic du jour at last month's All-Star Game, and Jordan was making an impassioned plea before the competition committee that had gathered to consider rules changes to enliven the NBA game. Jordan spoke passionately. If teams were able to play zone defenses, he said, he never would have had the career he did.

In the end, the league changed the rules, including the defensive three-second rule that doesn't allow big men to stay a lot of time under the basket, trying to get advantage of their size. 

Other recommendations: reducing from 10 seconds to eight seconds the time required for the ball to be advanced to the frontcourt, limiting fouls on incidental contact and allowing the ball to be touched while on the rim, as it is in international play.

Well, Jordan then played with these rules with the Washington Wizards and although he didn't take the capital team to the championship, he played well and was even considered an MVP candidate during his second return to the league

Jordan was incredibly talented and competitive and he would have succeeded even with these defenses but we'll never know if he would have been as good as he was before these changes took place.