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MJ doesn't believe in load management: 'You're paid to play 82 games'

Kent Smith / National Basketball Association / Getty

The Los Angeles Clippers' decision to keep superstar Kawhi Leonard out of Wednesday's prime-time matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks has once again dragged the issue of load management back into the spotlight.

Orlando Magic head coach Steve Clifford says Michael Jordan was always clear about where he stood on the topic during their five seasons together with the Charlotte Hornets.

"Our guys aren't used to sitting on the second game of a back-to-back. ... We're not sitting guys just to sit," Clifford said, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. "For me, my background frankly, it all goes back to expectations. Being with Michael in Charlotte, Michael used to tell them every year, you're paid to play 82 games."

Jordan played a full 82-game slate in eight of his 15 NBA seasons while averaging 38.3 minutes of play throughout his career. He also logged the most total minutes in the Association from 1986 to 1989.

Ex-Hornets star Kemba Walker missed just six games over the past four seasons and played the third-most minutes in the NBA during two of those campaigns. The UConn product continued to produce amid the heavy workload, earning three All-Star appearances and All-NBA third-team honors once during that span.

Clifford shares the same views as his former boss and came to the defense of New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale, who recently drew criticism for playing rookie RJ Barrett for 41 minutes during the club's blowout loss to the Sacramento Kings.

"I've been doing this for 20 years and playing 82 games used to be a badge of courage for a lot of guys," Clifford said. "There were always a lot of guys who didn't want to play. They stood out more."

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