Gervin advises Jordan to remain retired
As Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley keep everyone guessing if they’ll end their retirements, Hall of Famer George Gervin has some advice for, well, one of them.
“I’m hoping Mike don’t come back for the simple fact that as great of a ballplayer as he was, leave it like that. There ain’t nothing he can do to take over what his accomplishments are already,” said Gervin following his American Century Celebrity-Amateur round Thursday at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.
“From a former ballplayer and Hall of Famer, I say stay home with the kids and wife. That’s who you owe. You don’t owe the fans or corporate America nothing. You owe your wife, your family and your babies. Stay at home and take care of them because if you come back and you get hurt and break a neck or break a leg, you can’t go chase your babies. Ten years from now you’re gonna be real sad.”
The four-time NBA scoring champion has watched Jordan’s career closely and believes MJ has done more than his share to elevate the game.
“He’s one of my heroes. For a young guy to come up and play like he played, we don’t want to see him lose that,” Gervin said. “Listen to the old folks. He did a lot for basketball, him, Magic and them guys. They’re sitting on top, so I’m saying stay on top.
“The one we love the most – Muhammad Ali – and we think he took one punch too many. So we’ve got us an example.”
Gervin, however, is reluctant to tell the “Round Mound of Rebound” what to do.
“Charles will do what he wants to do, that’s what I like about Charles,” Gervin said. “Charles was great in his own right, too. I done saw him go to work on folks. For his size he done some things a guy his size can’t do.”
The “Iceman” also has some opinions on the recent trend of tall high school players to skip college and head for the NBA. Gervin only needed a year and a half of college ball at Eastern Michigan before he bolted to the NBA.
“The floodgates was open a long time ago,” Gervin said. “I think the kids in this era are getting bigger and stronger and looking like men, but we all know that they still kids. But the opportunity is there. Why deprive a kid of an opportunity like this to make millions and take care of his family and hopefully set for a future for his self so he don’t have to work no more? I’m real glad for them.”
He’s also happy that NBC and American Century keep inviting him back for the 54-hole championship.
“For them to continue to want me a part of it, that’s special to me,” he said.
The 6-handicap player believes that eventually he or Truck Robinson can win this tournament. He reasons that basketball players have been shut out in this event because most of them don’t take up golf until after they retire.
“You have to be realistic, too,” he said. “You look at hockey, they play with a stick in their hands. Baseball players play with a stick in their hands, too.
“How many times does a baseball pitcher pitch a year? Most of them that’s all they do is play golf when they’re not pitching. You can’t put me in a category with guys who have been working on their games for 25-30 years.”
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“Let Them Play,” rallies are taking place across California with a mission to bring back high school and youth sports.