As for whether or not Jordan was the best ever, don't take my word for it; listen to those who actually coached him and played against him: (But I'm sure that some of you know more about basketball than Bob Knight, Dean Smith, Phil Jackson, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird.
“It’s one thing to hope to be like him, it’s another thing to be like him. We have to take Michael Jordan out of the equation. Stop comparing anyone to Michael Jordan. It’s just not fair.” –Phil Jackson-
“Michael Jordan is God disguised as a basketball player.” –Larry Bird-
“Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player that will ever play this game.”
“Michael is the greatest ever — point blank." -Magic Johnson-
“There’s no question that Michael is head and shoulders above everybody else. He not only dominated on offense and defense, but there will never be another basketball player like him. He will go down in history like Muhammad Ali, maybe even bigger.”
“Jordan possessed the perfect combination of the will to win with the skill to win.”
“Michael Jordan was the best defensive player who played during our era.”
“Jordan’s will to win drove his teammates will to win. Scotty Pippen, Horace Grant, B.J. Armstrong all developed stronger wills because of Jordan. His will was contagious. That’s what makes his so special- not only what he did on the court, but because he made everyone around him better.”
“There are no players today who can dominate a game without scoring 30 like Jordan could. There were games where Jordan didn’t score 30 and yet he dominated the game with his defense, assists, and rebounds. He was the total package.” -Kenny Smith-
“Michael Jordan was the best fundamental player in basketball. He was always trying to improve, and he always wanted everyone to know that he was trying to improve.” –Kenny Smith-
"One thing about Michael that stood out was how hard he worked. We expected he'd get better because of that, and he did, year after year. A player with that kind of talent who works as hard as Michael did has a chance to do great things, and he was smart about it. He'd listen closely to what the coaches said and then go do it. I don't know that anybody ever combined the physical and the mental sides with the effort the way Michael did.” –Dean Smith-
“In my opinion, Jordan was clearly the best basketball player ever. But more importantly, he was the best competitor ever.” –P.J. Carlisimo-
“We all say, ‘This is the guy. This is the best.’ And we say it with great pride. It was an honor to compete against him.” -Isiah Thomas-
“When you see his competitive drive, his tremendous work ethic, and combine that with his athletic ability- to me, he is the greatest to ever play.” -Doug Collins-
In 1984, Coach Bobby Knight was coming off a gold-medal Olympic run with Michael Jordan. Knight was friends with then Portland Trailblazer GM, Stu Inman, and called to sell him on Jordan as their first pick in the upcoming NBA draft. With Clyde Drexler already on the team, Inman had other plans.
Inman: “We need a center.”
Bobby Knight: “Then draft Jordan, and play him at center.”
A humorous story about Bob Knight coaching Michael Jordan on the 1984 U.S. Olympic team:
The Americans were up big at halftime in the gold medal and Knight wanted to make sure his team didn't get complacent. He decided to get on Jordan, who was playing well, to send a message to the rest of the team. He told Jordan he was the only U.S. player who wasn't setting screens. Jordan responded:
"Coach, didn't I read recently where you thought I was the quickest player you'd ever been around?"
"I said, 'Michael, what does that have to do with you screening?' He said, 'I think I'm setting them quicker than you can see them.'"