Electing Michael Jordan as the National Basketball Association's most valuable player is like recognizing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as television's most valuable reptiles. In either case, there isn't much serious competition.
Schwarzkopf in combat boots; Baryshnikov in ballet shoes; Michael Jordan in sneakers . . . Whatever the footgear, there's always some guy who stands above the crowd. And nowhere in professional sports does an athlete stand taller than Jordan, the 6-6 spacewalker employed by the Chicago Bulls.
For the second time in his seven-year pro career, Jordan was voted the NBA's most valuable human asset Monday. Of the 96 basketball reporters and broadcasters who participated, 77 voted for Jordan.What are his credentials? Check these:
- Jordan was the highest-scoring player in the NBA this season, averaging 31.5 points a game. He now is tied with Wilt Chamberlain for the lead in career scoring titles with five.
- In spite of being tracked by the most sophisticated radar systems that NBA defenses were able to devise, Jordan hit 53.9 percent of his shots from the floor, the most accurate shooting performance of his NBA life.
- Taking care of business in departments other than scoring, Jordan averaged six rebounds and 5.5 assists a game.
About a week before handing Jordan the MVP trophy, the NBA announced its 1990-91 all-defensive team. One of the first-teamers: Michael Jordan.
Yet it is with the basketball in his custody that Jordan rises - literally - above his earthbound rivals. If violating the law of gravity were a punishable offense, this guy could get life without parole. Physicists, mathematicians and other proponents of logical thinking insist that Jordan actually cannot hang in the air longer than other players. But then they don't have to guard him.