Tag Archives: Michael Jordan

MJ Mondays- 1992 Olympics vs. Lithuania

 

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       The performance of the 1992 USA Dream Team has started the revolution of countries around the world to assemble their best talent to compete as the world’s best basketball team. With the many names committed to head coach Chuck Daly and his team, none were more important than Michael Jordan.

     Jordan would embrace a different role during his second stint with Team USA. Being the main catalyst for the 1984 team, an influx of talent featuring NBA stars Charles Barkley, Magic Johnson and fellow teammate Scottie Pippen would be reassurance for him. As a result, this meant a less workload for him.

 

The Dream Team would annihilate all competition standing in their way as Jordan would have one of his best all around performances versus Lithuania led by Arvydas Sabonis and Sarunas Marciulionis.

 

Michael would set the tone on both sides of the ball, finishing with 21 points, 3 rebounds along with the suffocating defense resulting into 6 steals and 2 blocks to lead USA to a 127-76 win to advance Gold Medal Game where they would meet Croatia.

 

 

USA would go on to victory, defeating future teammate Toni Kukoc and Croatia 117-85 to claim the gold medal.

MJ Mondays- 2003 NBA All-Star Game

      The NBA All-Star game has been significant to the association. A weekend of celebration for fans to appreciate the many talents of star players being put on display. As the NBA festivities approaches, we revisit Michael Jordan’s last appearance as a player during All-Star Weekend.

   During the 2002-03 season, Jordan averaged a career low 20 points per game that would essentially lead to voters not electing the six-time champion into the game as a starter. However, he would be given the opportunity to start the all-star game one last time.

     Voted by the fans as a starting guard, Allen Iverson was the first player to offer his starting position to Jordan followed by Tracy McGrady, which he declined respectively. While many wanted to see him start his final all-star game, the spotlight shifted to Vince Carter who was resistant in giving his starting spot to MJ. Prior to the game, Carter would offer his spot to Jordan as he would accept.

     Jordan would come out missing his first seven shots, being blocked on four attempts. He would finish the game with 20 points shooting 9 for 27 from the field. Nevertheless, we would see him turn back the clock during the game with, ironically, the shot of the game.

 

Michael Jordan would shoot the fadeaway jump shot over Shawn Marion that could have potentially clinched the game for the Eastern Conference All-Stars. Instead, the game would be sent to double overtime due to a Jermaine O’Neal foul that sent Kobe Bryant to the free throw line where he would make both free throws.

 

The Western Conference All-Stars would go on to spoil the Cinderella ending of Michael Jordan and the Eastern Conference as they would prevail with a 155-145 win. Kevin Garnett would become the game’s MVP with 37 points, 9 rebounds and 5 steals. Jordan would give NBA fans one last hurrah before closing the curtain on the all-star stage where we all gave him a standing ovation for what he had done during the course of that weekend.

MJ Mondays- Rookie of the Year

As we take a look at recent NBA Draft history, there have been few selected in the upper echelon that have had an immediate impact on their respective teams while many are considered as a ‘bust’ for not living up to expectations. The bar has been set at a high level when young players are selected in the top 10 due to the early success for many rookies in the past. However, look no further than the debut season of Michael Jordan.

In a rookie class with the likes of Charles Barkley, Hakeem Olajuwon, and John Stockton, Jordan would be named Rookie of the Year during the 1984-85 NBA season.

“This award is nice, but I just feel it is very important for each individual to go out and contribute to this team,” Jordan said.

Michael Jordan earned many accolades during his debut season including All-NBA Second Team, All-NBA Rookie Team, and an All-Star berth. MJ would lead the Bulls in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals, as he led the team into the postseason for the first time since 1981 as they would be eliminated in the first round by the Milwaukee Bucks.

Michael Jordan earned many accolades during his debut season including All-NBA Second Team, All-NBA Rookie Team and an All-Star berth. MJ would lead the Bulls in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals, leading the team into the postseason since 1981 as they would be eliminated in the first round to the Milwaukee Bucks.

MJ Mondays- 1988 NBA All-Star Weekend

Michael Jordan would use this All-Star weekend as a platform to display his talents to the basketball world. Not only would he win his second consecutive NBA Slam Dunk Contest, Jordan would put on one of the most dominant performances in All-Star game history.

With competitors such as Clyde Drexler, Jerome Kersey, and Spud Webb, MJ would retain his NBA Slam Dunk Contest title, defeating the “Human Highlight Film”, Dominique Wilkins, in an unforgettable showdown that would be forever embedded in NBA history.

In the 38th annual All-Star game, being played in Chicago Stadium, various high caliber players were selected and performed in this matchup including Larry Bird, Dominique Wilkins, Isaiah Thomas, and Patrick Ewing to represent the Eastern Conference against the talents of Magic Johnson, Karl Malone, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Hakeem Olajuwon to headline the Western Conference. However, it would be Michael Jordan to reign supremacy to end the weekend.

Jordan showcased what he was able to do on the basketball court. Being honored as the Most Valuable Player, he would go on to finish with 40 points, eight rebounds while showcasing his defensive skills as he contributed with fours steals and four blocks. MJ would score his finals 16 points in the final six minutes of the game as the Eastern All-Stars would defeat the West All-Stars 138-133. Wilkins contributed to the victory with 29 points as the starters for the Western Conference finished in double figures. In his 17th All-Star selection, Abdul-Jabbar would score 10 points, passing Oscar Robertson as the all-time leading scorer in All-Star Game history.

With Michael Jordan’s scintillating performance in one weekend, the NBA may never see such dominance on display by one superstar in multiple events. With many big names withdrawing their names from Slam Dunk Contest, or players not competing at a 100% level throughout the entire All-Star game, MJ jumpstarted his legacy and opened the eyes of many across the league.

MJ Mondays- First NBA Championship

     The 1990-91 season in the association would begin a new era of a dynasty as Michael Jordan would lead the Chicago Bulls to their first NBA Championship in franchise history.

     Having seven years since entering the league, Jordan would begin his title run in the postseason against the rival New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers that would ultimately set up a match between Isaiah Thomas and the Detroit Pistons. Chicago would sweep the two-time defending champions who had eliminated the Bulls in the previous three seasons. They would close out Game 4 while advancing to the NBA Finals winning 115-94 that led to the famous walk off the court by the “Bad Boys” Pistons without congratulating the newly crowned Eastern Conference Finals Champions.

     Chicago would face the Los Angeles Lakers where Jordan would continue to work his magic. In Game 2 of the Finals, Jordan would probe into the defense to the basket while switching hands mid air to the basket for the layup. A move we would never forget in NBA history.

The Bulls would defeat the Lakers 4-1 to become NBA Champions. Jordan would win his first NBA Finals MVP award averaging 31.2 points, 11.4 assists, 6.6 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game throughout the series. He would also become Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year in 1991 for his postseason heroics.

MJ Mondays- Father’s Day Title Game

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    After a three year hiatus from the NBA Finals, the Chicago Bulls would reach the promise land against Gary Payton and the Seattle Supersonics where they would go on to clinch the series to reclaim the 1996 NBA Finals Championship. It was not just Michael Jordan’s fourth NBA championship ring, but the first without his father by his side.

     July 23, 1993 is the day Michael Jordan’s father, James Jordan Sr. was murdered in the state of North Carolina. Later that year, Jordan made the decision to walk away from the game of basketball in order to fulfill his fathers dream of playing professional baseball.

  On June 16, 1996, the day would belong to Michael. Coming into the series up 3-0, Seattle would win two straight games to make it an interesting series. Jordan would put on a scintillating performance for the Chicago faithful crowd as he scored 22 points, grabbed 9 rebounds, dished 7 assists, and picked an opposing player’s pocket twice during the course of 43 minutes in a 87-75 victory. He would lead the Bulls to their 4th NBA title in a 6 year span, also capturing his fourth Finals MVP becoming the only player to accomplish such a task (’91-’93).

However, the emotions hit Jordan after winning his first title without his father by his side. When the final buzzer would sound, Jordan would go on to lay on the United Center court where he would lay for several seconds as teammates celebrate around him. Moments later, he would get up and run to the locker room where he continued to sob.

Michael Jordan would have a difficult three years before this day upon him. His father being killed, a brief retirement from basketball, a failed attempt at baseball, and a return back to the hardwood floor that would end in a early defeat in the postseason.

“This is probably the hardest time for me to play the game of basketball,” Jordan said. “I had a lot of things on my heart, on my mind.

“I just had a lot to think about and maybe my mind wasn’t geared to where it was. But I think deep down inside it was geared to what was most important to me, which was my family and my father not being here to see this.”

Mamba Mondays- Top 10 Kobe Bryant Moments

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    After a 8 month hiatus sidelined by an achilles injury, Kobe Bryant made his return to the Lakers hardwood floor. It was not his best performance to date, but Bryant’s return to the floor is a step closer towards being the new & improved Black Mamba we are not accustomed to seeing. As he embarks on a new chapter in his career, let’s take a look at the top 10 memorable moments of Kobe Bryant’s legacy.

10. 1997- Kobe leads Lakers in scoring for first time in career vs. Detroit Pistons

Coming off the bench in the early part of his career, Kobe Bryant would lead the Lakers in scoring with 21 points in a lost 100-97. It would become a significant moment for Bryant as he would establish himself as an opposing threat in the league.

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9. 1997- Slam Dunk Contest Champion

Kobe Bryant would capture many people’s eye for his leaping ability in the 1997 NBA Slam Dunk Contest. Competing against guys such as Ray Allen and Michael Finley, Bryant would do his best Isaiah Rider impression of the between the legs dunk that would elevate him into being first place.

 

8. 2006- 30 points in the Third Quarter vs. Utah Jazz

Some NBA players can say they have scored 30 points in a half. However, very few can say they have done it, let alone in a quarter. It was not Thanksgiving, but the Black Mamba would show us why Lakers fans would be thankful for him. On November 30, he would score 30 points in a quarter leaving the Utah Jazz hopeless as they searched for answers. Los Angeles would secure the victory 132-102 with Bryant scoring 52 points that night.

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7. 1997- Kobe vs. MJ Part One

In a matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers vs. the Chicago Bulls, the marquee matchup to watch was between Michael Jordan vs. Kobe Bryant. Chicago would go on to win by 21 points behind Jordan’s 36 points. However, Bryant would not go away with his head down, scoring 33 points against His Airness. Bryant put many on notice that he was next in line to dethrone the king of the NBA.

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6. 2006- Game 4 vs. Phoenix Suns

Going into Game 4 of the 2006 NBA Playoffs, Los Angeles Lakers had a 2-1 series lead against the higher seeded Phoenix Suns led by Steve Nash. Down by 8 and no timeouts, the Lakers were down and out at home. With seconds remaining in the game, former Lakers point guard Smush Parker would come up with an unexpected steal with a pass to Kobe Bryant that would lead to the unbelievable game tying layup, which would send the game to overtime. In the last moments of overtime, Bryant would get to his hot spot sinking the game winning shot over two defenders to win the game and ultimately taking a commanding 3-1 series lead. Interesting enough, Bryant would not be the leading scorer of this game as it was Lamar Odom with 25 points.

5. 2003- Kobe Bryant vs. Vincent Yarbrough

On a fastbreak, the only thing separating Kobe Bryant and the basket was Denver Nuggets’ Vincent Yarbrough. Displaying his greatness with his talents, Bryant would go behind the back and finish with a 360 slam dunk that would excite the Staples Center crowd as one of the best moments of the season to watch. The play was a pleasure to witness as we mourn for Yarbrough being a victim to the list of those who attempted to “stop” Bryant.

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4. 2005- Kobe Bryant scores 62 points through 3 quarters vs. Dallas Mavericks

In the previous game, the Lakers would manage to score only 74 points which ultimately left Kobe Bryant frustrated with his teams play. The next game, he would have a performance that many of us will never forget. In a matchup against the Dallas Mavericks, Bryant would showcase his scoring abilities once again. Scoring 62 points through three quarters, he would outscore the Dallas Mavericks with 61 as the Lakers would capture the victory.

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3. 2003- Kobe vs. MJ Part Two

The latest saga between Kobe Bryant vs Michael Jordan would all end well for Bryant. During the early part of the game, Michael Jordan would appear to take the game in his own hands. However, over the course of the game, the pupil would school the teacher. The younger and more exuberant Bryant would take over the game as he would finish the game scoring 55 points in a win vs. the Washington Wizards. Many can and will argue the fact that Jordan was in his later days in his career. With that being said, this is a significant moment in the NBA as we would see the torch being passed to Bryant from MJ this day.

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2. 2009- 61 point game vs. New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden

In the mecca of basketball on the biggest stage of them all, Kobe Bryant was the prime ticket to see on Broadway. At Madison Square Garden, the Mamba would put on the greatest performance that would convince doubters that he was the best player in the world. On this night, he would drop 61 points in a demanding win over the Knicks that left the NBA world on standby for what was next. Bryant holds the record for the most points to be scored by any player in MSG, leaving legendary director Spike Lee to create a documentary in his honor.

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1. 2006- 81 point game vs. Toronto Raptors

Coinsedently, on the date of the return of the Mamba against the Toronto Raptors, Kobe Bryant would have the greatest game that we have ever witnessed in our generation. With a roster of Chris Mihm and Smush Parker, Bryant would have to carry the team on his back in order to get a win and remain in the hunt for the NBA Playoffs. He would ONLY have 26 points as the team would have 42 points collectively. Bryant would take matters into his own hands as he would erupt in the second half scoring 55 points. Kobe would walk off the floor in the final seconds receiving a standing ovation as the Lakers would win the game 122-104. He would finish with 81 points, becoming the second highest point total by a player in a single game shooting over 50% from the field.

We may not see the old Kobe Bryant filled with exciting highlights, astronomical numbers, and extraordinary plays. On the bright side, we should all be appreciative for what he has done during his time in the association.