Jordan: 'No one great player in NBA'

Updated: November 20, 2009, 7:44 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

If the NBA were to retire Michael Jordan's No. 23 leaguewide, there are several more players just as worthy of the distinction, the newly inducted Hall of Famer says.

Jordan
Jordan

LeBron James, who wears No. 23 for the Cleveland Cavaliers, said last week he would change jersey numbers next season in honor of Jordan, and said no other players should wear it, either.

Jordan, speaking via phone to "All Access with Ahmad" on NBA TV, said he was grateful to James for the consideration but that he would have to be among a group of players to receive such an honor.

"It was very nice, I totally understand that," Jordan said on NBA TV. "But I'm a guy that says there is no one great player in the NBA. The NBA lasts a lot longer than one particular person so I understand what his point is."

A leaguewide retirement is unlikely, since the NBA leaves the decisions on retiring numbers to the teams.

"Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Bill Russell, all those guys should have their jerseys retired, too," Jordan said. "I understand his gesture, but I am in the same group as those guys so I wouldn't want to see my jersey retired unless you retire those guys. It is a compliment. I totally understand that. I appreciate LeBron for doing that and it is very thoughtful."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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