The results of SportsCenter’s (extremely informal) bracket of the greatest college basketball players of all time are in — and social media thinks Michael Jordan was the best collegian to ever play the sport.
It’s a great honor for the former Tar Heel, who already claims that moniker in the NBA and who beat out Indiana State’s Larry Bird to claim the college version of that title. But at least one other all-timer doesn’t put too much stock in the results of SportsCenter’s bracket:
Abdul-Jabbar (who went by Lew Alcindor when he played at UCLA) entered the bracket as a 1-seed alongside Duke’s Christian Laettner, UCLA’s Bill Walton and UConn’s Breanna Stewart. But he was unable to make the Final Four of SportsCenter’s bracket, getting edged by 9-seed Shaquille O’Neal of LSU, who was joined by 2-seed Jordan, 3-seed Bird and 3-seed Magic Johnson (Michigan State).
Just to be clear: Michael Jordan is not the greatest collegiate basketball player of all time, although his talent was already evident even as early as his North Carolina days. While it’s true he achieved just about everything a collegian can achieve (two-time consensus All-American, recipient of the Naismith, Rupp and Wooden awards and an NCAA Tournament title as a freshman), it’s most likely he was named the greatest collegian based off what he did in the NBA, where he was a six-time champion.
To compare: Abdul-Jabbar won three NCAA Tournaments as part of the greatest dynasty in college basketball; was named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player three times; won national player of the year honors three times; and was a three-time consensus All-American. And, if we’re still counting, he also out-produced Jordan in nearly every meaningful scoring metric in their respective college careers.
So for Jordan to be named the greatest college basketball player of all time … what else can Abdul-Jabbar do but laugh?
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