It's not really a secret that Michael Jordan is a super-famous person who loves cigars (see: picture two inches above this). So he seems like as good a choice as anyone to put on the cover of Cigar Aficionado's 25th anniversary issue. Yup—that's probably why they did it.
In addition to landing a cover spot, Jordan also granted the magazine a rare interview where (among other things) he shared his two cents on the most polarizing topic in the NBA today: super teams. MJ, like many who disapprove of the growing trend, thinks building mini-All-Star squads sucks because it throws the competitive balance of the whole league straight out of the window.
"I think it's going to hurt the overall aspect of the league from a competitive standpoint," the Hornets owner said. "You’re going to have one or two teams that are going to be great, and another 28 teams that are going to be garbage. Or they’re going to have a tough time surviving in the business environment."
Wonder what he'd think if he was the chairman in Golden State...
Previously—as in a bit over seven years ago, when LeBron James took his talents to South Beach—Jordan said he would have never teamed up with the greats of his era. But he also refused to outright condemn James for teaming up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami. "There's no way, with hindsight, I would've ever called up Larry [Bird], called up Magic [Johnson] and said, 'Hey, look, let's get together and play on one team,'" Jordan said at the time, back in 2010. "But that's... things are different. I can't say that's a bad thing. It's an opportunity these kids have today. In all honesty, I was trying to beat those guys."
Also during this recent sit-down for cigar enthusiasts, Jordan spoke on who he thinks is the GOAT... kind of:
"I never played against Wilt Chamberlain. I never played against Jerry West. To now say that one's greater than the other is being a little bit unfair... I won six championships. Bill Russell won 11. Does that make Bill Russell better than me or make me better than him? No, because we played in different eras."
On Tiger Woods, and whether he thinks he could play in today's invasive era where social media usage is rampant:
"Tiger played at his peak somewhere towards the end of my career. What changes between that time to now? Social media, Twitter, all types of things that have invaded the personal time of individuals. I don't know if I could survive in this Twitter time."
On his favorite sport growing up:
"I was more into stock-car racing than I was into anything else."
On Derek Jeter, who's now a fellow team owner:
"He's like my little brother. We hang out a lot."
On his stint in the Minor Leagues, and how it refreshed him:
"Everybody says it was a failed opportunity to play baseball. For me, it was the best thing to happen to me, because it allowed me to go back to the game [of basketball] with a stronger passion... When we won those championships [in 1996, 1997 and 1998] those things mattered to me far more than what I did in '91, '92 and '93. People don’t see that. All they think about is he batted .200, and he struck out a certain number of times. Yeah, OK."
On if he'd like to be a coach some day:
"No. I have no patience for coaching. My biggest problem from a competitive standpoint is the focus of today's athlete. For me to ask an individual to focus on the game the way I played would, in some ways, be unfair. And if he didn't do it, there's no telling where my emotions would be."
On what's on his bucket list:
"Winning a championship in Charlotte."
And, of course, on how much he smokes:
"I smoke six cigars a day, maybe."
Damn. Can't say it doesn't make perfect sense to put him on the quarter-of-a-century anniversary cover. You can read the whole interview when the issue hits newsstands on Oct. 31.