Michael, Manny, Money and the Dream: Whatever won’t be won’t be

Michael and HakeemOne of my favorite hypothetical sports arguments of all-time is who would have won a Finals match-up between Michael Jordan’s Bulls and Hakeem Olajuwon’s Houston Rockets.  Strictly speaking, it’s an argument nobody can prove hence my use of the word hypothetical.

In 1993, Michael Jordan basically decided that nobody in the league could cover him anymore.  He retired from the NBA and embarked upon a quest to play professional baseball.

We all know this.

But the tragedy of that decision, aside from not being able to see His Airness play professional hoops for nearly two years of his prime, is that we never got so see his Bulls play the Houston Rockets, the team that took full advantage of Michael’s absence by winning back-to-back championships while he was gone.

Those were very good teams.

Hakeem blocks MichaelJordan homers, of which I am one just not when it comes to this argument, blindly proclaim that Chicago would have beaten Houston both of those years.  Of course those are merely opinions, one of sports’ greatest ‘What If’ questions that will never be answered.

But that’s not the point of this piece.

The point is that those two Finals match-ups are something we never got to see.

Neither is the boxing match that could have single-handedly renewed worldwide interest in the sport: Pacquiao-Mayweather.

Years ago, despite not being in the heavyweight division (what’s that?), Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather were the biggest draws in boxing.  One could argue they still are, despite both being in their mid-to-late thirties and despite nobody giving a shit about the sport anymore.

The fight between the two was supposed to happen.  For a number of reasons, it did not.  It would have been the biggest purse in sports history.  Jerry Jones alone was going to pony up $100 million just to host the fight.  More importantly, it would have simultaneously brought back old fans yearning for a bout of relevance while introducing a new generation to a sport that, at this pace, they will never know.

Pacquaio MayweatherDrug testing, purse squabbling and a total lack of leadership in not only in the boxers’ corners but within the sport itself denied us what would have been the most captivating sporting event in the last decade.

We’ve discussed for years what’s wrong with boxing and whose fault it is.  This is what modern-day boxing has become: continued talks of a fight nobody wants to see anymore with both fighters continuing to fight men nobody has ever heard of.  When they’re not doing that, Pacquiao is recording love songs and Money May is posing for selfies with Justin Bieber.  Jack Johnson is currently rolling over in his grave.

Renewed talk of this fight is once again taking place.  We’ll watch if it happens but we won’t care, at least not as much as we would have.  That’s because it won’t matter.  That carrot has been held in front of us for far too long.  It’s gone rotten.

Don King nice jacketWe talk about Bud Selig and Roger Goodell being among the worst commissioners in sports history but if there was ever a man who singlehandedly became immeasurably rich off a sport’s fame while simultaneously making it irrelevant, it’s Don King, perhaps the worst human being to ever be associated with professional sports.

Do you realize that there are men in the country old enough to drink that have never seen a meaningful boxing match?  That’s a sad state of affairs.

I don’t feel bad for boxing.  I just miss it.

What’s worse is there hasn’t been a single person within the sport who gave a crap enough to save it.  So go ahead, boxing.  Have your Pacquiao-Mayweather match and good luck making what you would have made when it was supposed to take place years ago.  And I hope you get people to watch.  It may very well be the last meaningful bout we ever see.

At least with Michael and Hakeem, it was a match-up we wanted to watch… in their prime.  These days, Manny vs. Money, not so much.

Hypothetically speaking.

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9 Replies to “Michael, Manny, Money and the Dream: Whatever won’t be won’t be”

  1. They met (Jordan and Hakeem) during their illustrious careers , but hypothetical’ asides , these were by far two of the best players at their respective positions in NBA history . Definitely among the fifty greatest players in the game’s history.

    Pacquiao and Money (Mayweather) have been fighting and beating up on tomato cans for the past two-and a half years . So are suggesting you’d be willing to pay $55.00 for the privilege of seeing these two “has-been’s fight for a meaningless title ?

    Two of boxing’s best fighters during the seventies recently faced differing paths concerning their health . Former heavyweight champion Ernie Terrell died at the age of seventy-five , while Muhammad Ali has been hospitalized with severe respiratory problems and pneumonia . Ali might see out the rest of 2014 much less ring in m 2015 , even if family are putting a brave face on things .

    Trust you and the immediate members of the family had a wonderful Christmas ? Have a safe and peaceful New Year’s eve celebration and festive period ! It’s been great reading all of your anecdotal pieces . Well worth the pleasure and reading ! Thanks very much for the content you’ve provided this year and in years past . Keep up the great work Chris ……… just keep it going .


  2. They obviously met, Al, but not in a seven-game series with history on the line.

    And if you think fifty-five bones is all they’re going to charge for that fight, you’re sorely mistaken. I don’t care if no one wants to see it or not, they’ll be charging more than that.

    Sad news about Ali, that’s for sure.

    And thanks as always for the kind words. Hope Santa got you all you wanted and more.

  3. Let me second Tophatal/Al’s sentiment in saying thanks for another great year of SportsChump and here’s looking forward to more in 2015. Hope Santa was good to you Chris and best wishes to you and yours, Bruce

  4. Chris

    I know they’ll charge more than $55 .00 , but that’s been the market norm for major title bouts . Mayweather’s bouts of late have been as high as $75.00 (Europe &African continent ) .

    A seven-game postseason series between Jordan and Hakeem would have proven to be phenomenal ! They remain two of my favorite players of all-time . To my mind ” The Dream ” is the best center to play of his era and to date in the NBA, since he stepped unto the court . His all round game is far superior to that of Shaq’s .

    Haven’t been able to speak to family back in the UK , but have managed to speak with former military buddies . A number of us will be meeting up in Orlando in mid January coinciding with my birthday .

    Ali’s time is coming to an end and we ought to expect it , revere him as an athlete , humanitarian and a human being . Something we can’t often say about many of today’s athletes. who are so damn afraid to speak out a number of social issues , because it’ll hurt their image and earning power . A bunch of pu##ies !

    Tophatal ………

  5. If Mayweather ever gets the balls to actually fight Manny, I’ll watch.

    I don’t care that it’s a decade late, I want Pacq-man to knock that pussy’s head off……That is.if Floyd is willing to actually fight. I doubt he will though…He’ll.do whathe always does and run away like a little bitch.

  6. Bleed…

    Unfortunately, as I alluded to in my piece, that’s what’s become of boxing.

    I mean, when the hell was the last time there was a fight, in any weight class, that we all dropped what we were doing to watch?

  7. …late to the party Chumpy but you hit the nail on the head with ‘that’ rant…

    Don King is a tired old worthless hustler.. with no one to promote

    Fayweather is a coward lacking even the slightest cajones to go with those lightning fast hands

    and Pacman ‘might’ be the only one left capable of smacking down Fayweather… which is why it’s taken years upon years and still we have no fight

    but… rumors once again ring quietly that because they met at a recent Heat game and then argued about contract terms for over an hour in Pacquiao’s hotel suite that maybe… just maybe we’ll see one of the few boxing matches left where anybody gives a damn… IMO

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