There's a thin line in this league between healthy confidence and over-the-top arrogance. Jordan Crawford, as you all know, is a supremely confident player. This latest quote, though, is him leaping miles and miles over that line. Via Michael Lee of the Washington Post:
"I don’t tell nobody, but I feel like I can be better than Michael Jordan," Crawford said, without the slightest hint of sarcasm. "When I’m done playing, I don’t want people to say, Michael Jordan is the best player. I want that to be me. That’s how I am. That’s how I was built."
"Yeah, I know that [people will think I'm crazy], I definitely know that. But I’m not settling for anything less," Crawford said. "I feel like I’m better than him, anyway. My mom is going to say I’m better than him.
I mean, maybe he's kidding, but ... jeez.
I'm sure many of you will come back saying they want Crawford to think he's the best and that confidence is a good thing. Here's the problem, though. Basketball is a game where one player who thinks he's better than he is can have a damaging effect on the team. In football, you can focus on being the best player at your position and just carry out those responsibilities as well as you can. In baseball, you're really just trying to win your individual matchup.
In basketball, though, the division of labor isn't clear and players need to be in harmony with each other. It's one thing for someone to spout off to the press that he thinks he can be Michael Jordan. It's entirely another for one to play like they are as good as Michael Jordan when they clearly are not. We all know Crawford's biggest problem is his propensity to force shots because his eyes get wide and he thinks he can do it all. If anything close to the mindset he displayed in this interview shows up on the court, we're going to see a lot more forced shots and a player who will never learn how to fit into a team setting.
That's why I'm worried. Normally, you could write this off as an athlete saying something nutty because he wants to amuse himself (like Rex Grossman's NFC East quote). With Crawford, though, I'm legitimately worried he thinks so highly of himself that his game won't develop to the point where it should. Crawford will never be good enough to play like Michael Jordan, so there's no reason to invoke his name as a comparison.