Michael Jordan has remained mum on LaVar Ball’s boast that Ball could’ve schooled Jordan in a game of one-on-one and on Lonzo Ball’s claim that he could beat Jordan today. But a couple of Jordan’s pals are sounding off.
Clyde Drexler and Dominique Wilkins, Hall of Famers whose careers overlapped with Jordan’s, scoffed at the Balls’ talk about beating Jordan.
“It’s stupid,’’ Wilkins told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday. “Are they joking?”
"Let me tell you something. They both would get embarrassed.”
Drexler, who played with Jordan on “The Dream Team” at the 1992 Olympics where the U.S. squad won the gold medal, said LaVar Ball simply is trying to drum up publicity.
“Everything he’s doing is for attention and I’m not mad at him because that’s how people know who his son is,’’ Drexler told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday. “Think about it. Out of all the kids in the draft this season, whose name does everybody know more than anyone’s? See?
“We came up when you actually had to do something for people to know who you are. So I have a different perspective on that.’’
Drexler helped lead the University of Houston to the Final Four in 1982 and 1983 and entered the NBA draft after his junior season, whereas Lonzo Ball is going pro after leading UCLA to the Sweet 16.
Jordan apparently is in no rush to join Wilkins and Drexler in sounding off.
Last week, after LaVar Ball said Jordan would’ve scored only two points if they’d played one on one in their prime, USA TODAY Sports requested a comment through Jordan’s publicist, Estee Portnoy.
“Thanks but he is not available,” she replied by email. “Sorry!’’
Then, after LaVar’s son Lonzo appeared on the Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Monday and said he would beat Jordan if they played one-on-one today, USA TODAY Sports made another request for comment.
“Must be a slow news day?’’ Portnoy wrote.
Drexler said he thinks Jordan has refrained from comment because of the era in which they both played.
“Michael’s from that era when guys were real,’’ Drexler said. “You respected the heck out of your competition because they were gentlemen and they were darn good basketball players. And so when guys say nonsensical things about guys who played then, we don’t give it any credibility because it’s laughable.’’
Meanwhile, Wilkins, who played with Jordan in eight NBA All-Star games and famously dueled with Jordan in the 1988 NBA Slam Dunk Contest before losing, conceded that Lonzo Ball, 19, might have a chance against Jordan, 54.
“But I’ll tell you what,’’ Wilkins said, “it’s still a safe bet for me that (Jordan) may win at his age.’’