Monday, April 6, 2009
Thanks for the memories, MJ
By Scoop Jackson
With Michael Jordan's election to the Hall of Fame, here are my 10 favorite MJ moments:
10. April 17, 1986. Game 1 of the first round of the playoffs versus the Boston Celtics. The game before the famous 63-point game. Scored 49 points in one of the greatest displays of shot-making ever seen. Actually a better performance than the 63-point game.
9. Oct. 26, 1984. His first pro game, versus the Washington Bullets. Scored only 16 points, but tried to do a baseline dunk on Jeff Ruland and Rick Mahorn that let everyone know what the future was to be like.
8. March 28, 1990. The 69-point game versus Cleveland. Only two dunks. Prelude to Phase 2: his jump shot. Also had 18 rebounds and six assists.
7. March 18, 1995. First game at Madison Square Garden after returning from retirement. "The double-nickel game." Two games later, on March 25, 1995, he hit the winner at the buzzer against Atlanta. Then slapped the floor at midcourt. He's baaacccckkkk.
6. Feb. 7, 1988. NBA All-Star Game in Chicago. Forty points. MVP. Won the dunk contest over Dominique Wilkins the day before. The introduction of Jordan 3, his first true signature shoe. Greatest individual weekend for any athlete.
5. June 12, 1996. Game 4 of the NBA Finals versus Seattle Sonics. "The fear factor game." Held to nine points in the second half. Scored only 23 points. One of his worst performances. And although the Sonics won the game, their players on the bench were pulling for Jordan to make shots because they were afraid he'd score 50 on them the next game.
4. (tie) Nov. 21, 1986, versus the New York Knicks. Scored the Bulls' last 18 points, including a jumper at the buzzer to win the game.
May 26, 1997. Game 4 of Eastern Conference finals versus the Miami Heat. Went 1-for-22 with nine points going into the fourth quarter, having missed his first 15 shots. Scored 20 in fourth. Almost won the game.
3. Nov. 16, 1988, versus Charles Barkley and the Sixers. Scored 52 and missed only five shots, while Barkley had 42 points and 16 boards. One of the best one-on-one battles of Jordan's career. This game cemented their friendship and respect for each other.
2. May 7, 1989. Game 5 of the first round of the playoffs versus Cleveland Cavaliers. "The shot."
1. June 11, 1997. Game 5 of the NBA Finals versus the Utah Jazz. "The flu game." A 103-degree fever. Vomiting. Couldn't walk off the court without help. Scored 38 points. The most dramatic performance of our time.
Scoop Jackson is a columnist for ESPN.com.