Anthony Edwards-Michael Jordan comparison, explained: Why legends keep comparing Timberwolves star to Bulls icon

The Timberwolves had high expectations for Anthony Edwards when they selected him with the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. The 22-year-old is more than living up to them.

Edwards earned his first All-Star selection in the 2022-23 season. He followed it up with his best season yet, earning his second All-Star selection behind averages of 25.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game. He led the Timberwolves to 52 wins, marking the franchise’s best record in two decades.

Edwards has proven himself to be not only one of the league’s best young players but an MVP candidate with the potential to be the face of the league. That has led to some lofty comparisons, including to Michael Jordan.

It isn’t some joke, either. While the internet has had fun with the comparison, a number of legends — some of whom actually played against Jordan — have talked about the similarities in their games.

Here’s what you need to know about the comparison.

MORE: Complete list of winners for NBA’s end-of-season awards

Why Anthony Edwards is compared to Michael Jordan

Like Jordan, Edwards is a score-first shooting guard who likes to operate from midrange and has the athleticism to dunk on just about anyone. The two are a similar build, with Edwards being listed as two inches shorter but nine pounds heavier than Jordan.

Timberwolves legend and Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett, who faced Jordan nine times in his career, said how Edwards attacks the basket reminds him of Jordan in his standout rookie season. Edwards is in only his fourth season with the Timberwolves, but he’s already put together a career’s worth of poster dunks.

“He’s like a young ’84 Jordan,” Garnett said of Edwards. “I’m watching how he’s coming through the lane … he turn the corner, if you ain’t there, he’s throwing you in.”

Here’s one example of Edwards dunking in a similar fashion as Jordan — and no, they’re not related:

Former NBA player and current ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins compared Edwards to a later version of Jordan, noting not only their similarities on offense but their ability to change the game with their defense.

“We’re witnessing, right now, the ’88 version of Michael Jordan. He’s ’88 MJ,” Perkins explained. “Like, raw talent and what he brings on both sides of the court. Offensively, we know that he’s going to get a bucket — he’s averaging nearly 27 points per game and he’s not a selfish guy, he’ll let his guys cook.

Perkins went on to say that Edwards has the potential to be the face of the NBA after LeBron James.

In addition to the stylistic similarities, some have pointed out that Edwards has the same mentality as Jordan.

During the 2024 NBA Playoffs, Edwards told ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt that he wanted to “kill everything in front of me.” That reminded Hall of Famer and NBA on TNT analyst Charles Barkley, who battled with Jordan many times in his NBA career, of both Jordan and Kobe Bryant. 

“It reminded me so much of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, they would kill you to win a game,” Barkley said about Edwards’ comment. “It’s not many players in today’s game — everybody wants to be buddy-buddy.

“Anthony Edwards is [putting] everybody on notice. ‘Yeah, I’m not going to wait for y’all to give me anything. I’m going to take it all.’ I love it.”

Edwards is only 22, so the Jordan comparisons aren’t going anywhere as he continues his ascent.

What has Michael Jordan said about Anthony Edwards?

Jordan appears to be a fan of Edwards’ game.

Following Minnesota’s Game 1 victory against Phoenix in the 2024 NBA Playoffs, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said Jordan called Edwards “special” during a phone conversation.

Earlier in the year, Chris Broussard of FOX Sports said Jordan told him “there are similarities” in their games.

Anthony Edwards vs. Michael Jordan stats

Here’s how Edwards compares to Jordan statistically through the first four seasons of their careers:

Stat Anthony Edwards Michael Jordan
PPG 22.9 32.7
RPG 5.2 5.6
APG 4.1 5.3
SPG 1.4 2.8
BPG 0.6 1.3
FG% 44.6 50.6
3PT% 35.3 16.4
FT% 79.3 84.8

There’s a reason why Jordan is widely considered to be the greatest player of all time. In addition to being an All-Star in each of his first four seasons, he became the first player in NBA history to be named MVP and DPOY in the same season in his fourth year with the Bulls.

Edwards earned the second All-Star selection of his career in 2023-24. He’s expected to make his first All-NBA team this season.

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