The Goat vs a Tiger: A Battle Between Michael Jordan and the Tiger King?

Goat vs a Tiger: Michael Jordan vs Joe Exotic

Alex Kielar | May 17th, 2020

I know what you’re thinking, this year has been crazy and weird enough without a hypothetical meeting between the greatest basketball player of all time (sit down LeBron riders) and a crazy tiger zoo owner. It’s May 2020 and I thought I would be writing about the Yankees being already at least ten games ahead in the AL East, not whatever this is. But here we are. “The Last Dance” and “Tiger King” have been the two most-watched shows during this quarantine, making this only right.

Now, this won’t be strictly a one-on-one battle on the court, because obviously MJ would torch Joe Exotic. I will be putting their qualities against each other to determine the winner. Before I get into this, be warned I have no idea where I’m going with this and if your get easily triggered, stop reading now.

Ball Handling Skills

Joe Exotic – He literally married two men at once, John Finlay and Travis Maldonado, in a three-way ceremony in 2014, and has had five total husbands. His most recent and perceived to be current husband is Dillon Passage, who is 24 while Exotic is 57. They got married in 2017, just a few months after Maldonado had died in an accidental suicide. I am fully convinced that all these men were straight and Exotic just had that much of an effect on them. Maybe it was the money, but I think it was a bit more than that.

Michael Jordan Wasn’t a flashy dribbler, as he used more off-the-ball and post moves to finish and make plays. He would often hit the easy quick jump shot rather than use dribble moves to get to the hoop. MJ didn’t need to rely on ball handling to succeed. He would be able to take a shot even with a defender in his face, drive to the hoop, or find an open teammate.

Advantage: Exotic


Exotic – Carole Baskin is the literal worst and she definitely killed her husband. If COVID-19 was a person, it would be her. Exotic isn’t all sunshine and rainbows either, but Baskin is even worse. She has always acted like she was up on this pedestal and so much better than Exotic. Baskin always pretends to own up to her mistakes while trying to gain sympathy for the horrible things she has done. She always acted like the victim in all the situations she created herself.

Jordan – The only true nemesis, or rival, that Jordan had was Isiah Thomas of the Detroit Pistons. As depicted on “The Last Dance”, Jordan hated the Pistons, especially Thomas. The Pistons eliminated the Bulls in both the 1989 and 1990 Eastern Conference Finals en route to back-to-back championships. The Pistons enforced the brutal “Jordan Rules”, beating the crap out of him. It was the Pistons who infamously walked off the court without shaking hands after the Bulls finally got over the hump and swept Detroit in the conference finals. A year later, Jordan had a part in Thomas being left off the 1992 Dream Team, which IT is still salty about today.

Advantage: Jordan


Exotic – Ran as an independent candidate in the 2016 Presidential Election, attained ballot access in Colorado, and received 962 votes nationwide, including write-ins. He ran as Joseph Allen Maldonado in that election and then ran as Joe Exotic in the primary election for the Libertarian Party in the 2018 election for Governor of Oklahoma. Exotic received 664 votes and finished last among the three candidates.

He actually has a lot of policies that I agree with, including people having the right to bear arms. He believes that felons, the mentally ill, physical abusers, or sexual abusers should not have guns, and he supports a universal healthcare system. On the issue of abortion he believes as long as the fetus is “not viable and not considered living or if there is a severe birth defect that is not going to allow it to have any quality of life” a woman should be allowed to choose.

Jordan – He never really focused on politics or views as he just “focused on his craft” of playing basketball. There were people that would get upset for him not choosing a side in political views, but he never saw himself as an activist. I really respect that, because I hate when politics cross over into everything. If someone doesn’t want to have a view, they don’t have to.

He had gotten backlash when he stated, “Republicans buy sneakers too”, but he said on “The Last Dance” that it was just an “off the cuff” joke to his teammates and there was really no reason for him to justify it. His quote about just focusing on playing basketball made people accuse him of being a “heartless capitalist who valued money over black advocacy.” A lot of people wanted him to endorse 1990 Democratic Senate candidate, African American Harvey Gantt, and were upset because he didn’t (even though Gantt wasn’t).

“It’s been blown way out of proportion,” said Gantt. “They make it sound almost as if had he endorsed my campaign, we would have won. We don’t know that,” he said. “I don’t hold it against him.”

Jordan gets the advantage here because I hate politics and since he didn’t want to have a stance on anything or pick one side, that gives him my respect.

Advantage: Jordan


Exotic –
“I’m Joe Exotic, otherwise known as the Tiger King, the gay, gun-carrying redneck with a mullet.”
“People don’t come to see the tigers; they come to see me.”
“I had my days of coke. I had my days of drinking. I had my days of. . . meth.”
“Political condoms. Vote for me or you’ll need these because you’re screwed.”
“I’m never gonna financially recover from this.”

Jordan –
“I walk in and practically the whole team was in there. And it was like, things I’ve never seen in my life, you know, as a young kid. You got your lines over here, you got your weed smokers over here, you got your women over here. So the first thing I said, ‘Look man, I’m out.'” (On “Travelling Cocaine Circus”)
“Winning has a price and leadership has a price.”
“One day you might look up and see me playing the game at 50. Don’t laugh. Never say never. Because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.”
“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.”
“Failure is acceptable, but not trying is a whole different ballpark.”

Advantage: Exotic 

Leadership Skills

Exotic – Was pretty much a cult leader and treated his employees terribly. He was cruel and forced them to do things they didn’t want to do. He alienated almost everyone who appeared on “Tiger King” and definitely was not fit to be in charge of animals.

Jordan – He was a tremendous leader, he was tough enough on teammates to push them, but not too tough to alienate them. He would always seek the best from his teammates and tried to make them the best players they could be. He trusted his teammates to meet his standards of hard work and made an effort to get to know them off the court as well. You could see how he trusted his teammates when he passed the ball off to John Paxson for the game-winning shot in Game 6 of the 1993 Finals.

Advantage: Jordan

Michael Jordan defeats Joe Exotic 3-2 to take the Quarantine Boredness Title. 

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Main Credit Image: Embed from Getty Images
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