Christian Laettner Reveals Surprising Insight on Michael Jordan Defensive Dedication

Exploring the Untold Side of a Basketball Legend's Game.

by Nouman Rasool
Christian Laettner Reveals Surprising Insight on Michael Jordan Defensive Dedication
© Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The name of Michael Jordan resounds with unquestioned offensive might in the annals of basketball, as testified to by his remarkable career average of 30.1 points per game. That stat alone placed him into his mythical reputation as an all-devouring and uncompromising force on a basketball court.

However, to view Jordan through the single lens of being a scorer overlooks his multidimensional talent, which allowed him to earn the title of one of the most complete players in the NBA. While his scoring abilities have been lauded, his domination in defense is an area that should receive equal, if not more, share of the plaudits.

Fellow 1992 Dream Team athlete Christian Lajsonner pointed that side of his game out while appearing on The Dan Patrick Show. His own words, Laettner gives his perspective on Jordan's great work ethic on defense that is often overshadowed by his scoring display.

"The first impression that I have gotten, and the lasting impression that I continue to have, of Jordan is just how much he tries at the defensive end of the court," Laettner said, drawing attention to the lack of his defensive edge throughout his career, despite being one of the guards to have secured the Defensive Player of the Year accolade.

The accolades are impressive: a 1988 Defensive Player of the Year win and leading the league in steals three times, with nine All-Defensive team selections. His achievement underlines his prowess, showing he is among the NBA's best perimeter defenders a part of the game that public discussion often sidelines by the high ceilings of his attack.

Jordan wanted recognition for his defensive efforts, which he thought would have essentially completed the portrait of his basketball excellence. Speaking to Roy Firestone on Up Close Classic, defense is the cradle of his legacy.

"Defense was always important to me. But maybe, yeah, I wanted to be remembered for my defense," said Jordan about the overall trend of playing down this side of his game instead of his points-scoring heroics.

Jordan's Defensive Mastery

Jordan's approach to defense was characterized by patience and discipline, waiting for the perfect moment to strike.

That was the approach that showed off his strategic mind and his in-depth knowledge of the game. Today, Laettner coaches young basketball players, and he admires Jordan for his defense mindset as instructional. He noted the challenge of teaching defense to young players who are most of the time mindful of three-point shooting when it comes to their offensive skills.

His two-way excellence of Jordan stood as evidence that he is one of the greatest players to play the game. The defensive accomplishments to pair with his offensive greatness showed a player whose influence is felt way beyond just scoring to epitomize the true spirit of basketball excellence.

Michael Jordan