Charlotte Hornets owner and Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan said he was surprised when two of the game's biggest stars suggested that the NBA should consider having the league’s 82-game regular season reduced.
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James said that teams could play 50-minute games if they had to, but 82 games was a lot to play, while Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki said that he would like to see the schedule trimmed down from 82 games to the “mid-60s.”
Nowitzki also said the NBA doesn’t need 82 games to determine which teams will make it into the playoffs.
"I love both of those guys, but as an owner who played the game, I loved playing,” Jordan told ESPN.com. "If I wasn't playing 82 games, I still would've been playing somewhere else because that's the love for the game I had. As a player, I never thought 82 games was an issue."
Of Jordan's 15 seasons in the NBA, he played 82 games nine times. Nowitzki has played 80 or more games seven times in his career and James has done it twice.
Jordan also questioned the point of possibly shortening the game by four minutes. The NBA will experiment with a 44-minute preseason game on Sunday, with 11 minute quarters and a reduction of time-outs.
“I would never shorten the game by four minutes,'' Jordan said, "unless guys were having physical issues. It's not like football. We don't really have to worry about concussions and some of the physical damage that football players deal with after they retire. I can understand football players wanting to play fewer games from a physical standpoint. But basketball's not the same.”
- Scooby Axson