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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 April, 2003, 12:33 GMT 13:33 UK
Jordan is simply the best

By John Amaechi
Utah Jazz forward/centre

Michael Jordan has many admirers
Michael Jordan is loved by fans of all ages

My first ever game in the NBA was against the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan back in 1995.

I was playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers and there are two things that stick in my mind.

I remember getting my first shot blocked by Jordan's team-mate Scottie Pippen, which was not fun.

I also remember looking at Jordan and just thinking "wow".

I had seen him on TV and the thing that struck me was he actually looked smaller in real life.

But I was just in awe that I was about to play against someone of his standing.

We lost that game quite heavily.

I don't remember how many points he had or any particular move he made, just the fact that when he was out on the floor he was unstoppable.

Jordan does not try to impress you with his fancy moves

There are lots of players in this league that say they play for the love of the game - it is one of the things that annoys me the most.

It is the epitome of the game when you show up when you're sick, when you are tired, when you think the team you are playing against is bad.

There are plenty of stars who can show up and play well when they are up against the best.

The mark of a true champion is a person who plays every single day - and Michael Jordan is one of the few that does.

He has a workman-like attitude to basketball. He is not trying to impress you with his fancy moves - he does that in the course of beating you.

When he shows up it is all business until you are despatched, and then he can enjoy the game.

Jordan has proved he is the best ever because he has won time and time again

I was always a fan of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson - they were players more my size.

The thing with Jordan is you really do not imagine you could ever get close to him.

I certainly didn't look at him and think "I could be like that" because I knew I couldn't.

On a personal level Bird is still my favourite, but Jordan has the overall package.

People often concentrate on his offence, but I think when he was in his heyday there wasn't anyone playing defence as aggressively or as hard as he did.

And when he is in the game in the dying minutes and it is close then you feel like you have lost.

Jordan is the best ever because he has proven himself a winner time and time again.

When he was on good teams he stood out, and when he was on bad teams he made everyone else better.

The NBA will not be the same without him.

John Amaechi, Britain's most successful basketballer, plys his trade for the Jazz. He will be writing a monthly column about life in the NBA for the BBC Sport website.



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