The ESPN Daily delivers the biggest sports news and moments every weekday. Jordan is the best there ever was, no doubt. Plus, Jordan hit the winning shot to win that championship, taking down Georgetown in 1982. There is no one player more identifiable with Carolina basketball than Michael Jordan, and it is hard to argue against his inclusion here in the finals even though you could make an argument that *not* winning a title his junior season qualifies as a disappointment. The NCAA final battle with Magic Johnson is arguably the most important college basketball game ever played, a fulcrum in the history of the game that took the sport out of the small gyms and niche fan base and brought the tournament to the masses. College basketball's 'greatest of all time' bracket: Championship breakdown, Why fouls are down everywhere in college basketball ... except the SEC, Famed Minnesota columnist Hartman dies at 100, KU's de Sousa opts out, citing 'personal issues', UMass penalized for hoops, tennis violations, Purdue to start practices after retests negative, Alabama's Oats says he had positive test in July, Ex-Texas State coach Kaspar denies being racist, CAA releases limited-travel basketball schedules, Rick Pitino and college basketball's second-chance coaches discuss new challenges, The power of the 'Tre Jones Effect' in men's college hoops, The coronavirus and college sports: NCAA reopening plans, latest news, program cuts, more, NCAA grants extra year for winter sport athletes, Survey: Coaches, athletes think racism an issue, Las Vegas to host men's regional for first time, Ohio State, Memphis in Crossover Classic field, Survey: Majority of Power 5 favor restructuring, Kepnang, No. Adelson: I spent a lot of time thinking about this question, because it is so difficult to answer. These polls are so incredibly subjective, and it is so hard to separate the college Jordan, starting to come into his own as a dominant force, and the NBA Jordan, turning his dominant force into a stranglehold on the entire league and country. Jeff Borzello: Aside from the fact they were two transcendent basketball players at both the college and pro level, it does show that they're in the sweet spot of the voting public. Both Jordan and Bird were superstars in college -- Jordan, a marquee name at a marquee school, and Bird, the Hick from French Lick who took little old Indiana State to the brink of a title. But Jordan has one thing Bird doesn't: a national championship. Hyper competitive at everything, but also eminently likeable. It is hard to separate collegiate from NBA impact, but that brand remains alive and strong in both games. The NCAA tournament is all about the big, bad blue bloods against the lovable, fighting underdogs. But Bird's impact on college basketball and the tournament in particular is incalculable. Christian Laettner had a storied career at Duke, but his NBA career didn't move the needle. View, download, and print up-to-the-minute Men's NCAA March Madness Basketball Tournament brackets on ESPN.com Part of me wants to suggest that, at least a bit of this voting is more about legendary NBA careers than collegiate greatness, but that's really beside the point. Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim reflects on the legacy of his friend and rival John Thompson Jr., and the standard the legendary Georgetown coach set for defensive basketball. Bird has better counting stats, but Jordan can match him in individual honors -- and has a ring as the tiebreaker. You simply know greatness. Plus, it's MJ. (3 East) Larry Bird vs. (2 Midwest) Michael Jordan -- VOTE HERE.
Adelson: It is hard to go against Jordan, who remains the GOAT, period. David Hale: Clearly, a lot of folks had "Jordan vs. Bird" for Nintendo in the 1980s and are feeling nostalgic.
Jeff Borzello explains the plan the NCAA put in place for the college basketball seasons to begin Nov. 25. The way in which he played the game, there was an aura about him when he was on the floor. Both players were two-time first-team All-Americans, and both won Wooden Awards in their final year in college. There's a reason every potentially transcendent talent to come into the game in the past three decades is compared to Jordan. 1 seed », ESPN: 172 teams that were still bracket-eligible when 2019-20 ended ». Bird was a part of perhaps *the* most heralded national title game in the sport's history, and though he elevated Indiana State during his career there, the program itself remains among the mid-majors still looking for a leg up on programs like North Carolina. Borzello: Michael Jordan is synonymous with basketball over the past 40 years, and he also laid the groundwork for the modern basketball player.
Kentucky head coach John Calipari discusses his expectations for a full college basketball season and whether the NCAA tournament can go on amid the coronavirus pandemic. On the one hand, I am fairly confident North Carolina would *still* be North Carolina even without Michael Jordan because it had a storied tradition before him and continues to have a storied tradition after him.
Hey, I can't help but root for the underdog. That's a pretty important achievement in itself. No exceptions. Jordan and Bird represent both in the final. Bird won Player of the Year in 1979 over Magic Johnson, while Jordan won in 1984 with Patrick Ewing and Akeem Olajuwon also in college.
Borzello: Jordan, on both accounts.
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