As former President Barack Obama famously said, “there is a reason you call somebody ‘the Michael Jordan of‘…He is the definition of somebody so good at what they do that everybody recognizes it. That’s pretty rare.”
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was no doubt in touch with this line of thinking when he spoke at his press conference today. Ahead of tomorrow’s Champions League clash against his former club, Bayern Munich, Guardiola was asked about his failure to win the competition since his FC Barcelona days.
Manchester City vs Bayern Munich FYIs
Competition: UCL Quarterfinals Leg 1/2
Kickoff: Tue April 11, 8pm, Etihad Stadium, Manchester, UK
Team News for Both Sides: go here
Starting XI Predictions for both teams: go here
Transatlantic Passage: How the Premier League Redefined Soccer in America: LINK
90 Min Win Probability: Bayern Munich 22% Extra Time 23% Manchester City 55%
Despite leading these two powerhouse clubs, which are facing each other tomorrow, Guardiola hasn’t won the UCL since 2011.
He won it twice in Barcelona, but he was hired at City for one simple reason- deliver the club’s first UCL title ever. When pressed to defend his recent track record, Guardiola cited Michael Jordan, but also Jack Nicklaus as well.
“Yesterday, it was the Masters,” Guardiola said to the media today.
“How many Masters has Jack Nicklaus played or how many majors has he played in his career? In 30 or 40 years as a golfer? In 30 or 40 years as a golfer of four majors [a year], like in the Champions League. How many wins? 18 wins. Wow. He loses more than he wins. That is sport.
“In football, in golf, in basketball; Michael Jordan, the best athlete for me in basketball, won six NBA titles out of 15 [seasons]. He loses more than he wins. This game, all games, are so difficult.”
Pep Guardiola is right- even the best of the best aren’t elite every single season of their career. Michael Jordan was drafted by the Chicago Bulls in 1984, played there until 1998, with that inexplicable baseball hiatus in 1994 and the first half of 1995. He also came back later, for a brief period with the Washington Wizards, but that spell was pretty awful.
At the end of the day, he is still the G.O.A.T. and always will be. And he holds this status despite not winning in the title in way more seasons than he did win it all.
That’s the point. Give Pep his due.
As for Nicklaus, in addition to his being the celebrity crush of Marge Simpson, he’s won 18 Majors titles. That’s a lot, obviously, but he also played in a high multiple of that number tournaments. Meaning he competed in many more events where he didn’t win.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Sports Bank. He’s also the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He’s written for numerous publications, including the New York Daily News, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune. He regularly appears on NTD News and WGN News Now. Follow the website on Twitter and Instagram.
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