In a career filled with memorable performances and achievements, these are our top ten.
10. Bulls vs. Cavaliers (Conference Finals, Game 4): May 17, 1993
The score was tied at 101 with the final seconds ticking away. Michael Jordan was one-on-one with Gerald Wilkins, approaching the free-throw line when he spun around, faded away and sunk the jumper over Wilkins’ arm as time expired. Bulls 103, Cavaliers 101.
9. Michael Jordan vs. Dominique Wilkins: 1988 Slam Dunk Contest
A dunk contest for the ages, Jordan clinched the victory with the iconic free-throw line dunk where he flies through the air in the way only His Airness can.
8. Bulls vs. Knicks (First Round, Game 3): April 30, 1991
The facial Patrick Ewing received from Jordan in this series-defining game must still give the big man nightmares. After dominating Ewing, Charles Oakley and the Knicks, the Bulls went on to win their second consecutive NBA title.
7. Bulls vs. Blazers (NBA Finals, Game 1): June 3, 1992
Jordan went berserk in the first half, scoring 35 of his 39 points to set an NBA Finals record for points in a half, a record that had stood for 30 years. The Bulls won 122-89 and claimed the three-peat soon after.
6. Bulls vs. Jazz (NBA Finals, Game 5): June 11, 1997
The Flu Game. Jordan battled dehydration, exhaustion, nausea, John Stockton and Karl Malone to drop 38 points and help the Bulls win the series-turning Game 5.
5. Bulls vs. Celtics (First Round, Game 2): April 20, 1986
After breaking his foot in the third game of the season, many expected Jordan to sit out until the next season. But M.J. insisted on returning and leading the Bulls to the playoffs, where he scored a playoff-record 63 points at the Boston Garden in Game 2.
4. Bulls vs. Lakers (NBA Finals, Game 2): June 5, 1991
In a finish in traffic that most kids are literally incapable of mimicking, Jordan switched the ball to his left hand in mid-air to avoid the Lakers defender and score his 13th consecutive made field goal in the game. Marv Albert followed with his iconic call, “Oh, a spectacular move by Michael Jordan.”
3. North Carolina vs. Georgetown (NCAA Championship): March 29, 1982
As a freshman, well, Jordan wasted no time being great. He sunk the game-winning shot in the NCAA championship game, with the more-established James Worthy and Sam Perkins working as decoys, to defeat the Hoyas.
2. Bulls vs. Cavaliers (First Round, Game 5): May 7, 1989
Perhaps even more famous than Jordan’s magnificent buzzer-beating game-winner from 15 feet is the celebration that followed, as M.J. leaped into the air and pumped his fist violently in an electrifying moment.
1. Bulls vs. Jazz (NBA Finals, Game 6): June 14, 1998
Maybe some Jazz fans will say he pushed off, but no matter: With Jordan holding his follow-through as his game-winning shot hit nothing but net with 5.2 seconds left, there was no better way for Jordan to leave the Bulls on top. Jordan finished the game with 45 points and six championships.