Tag Archives: MJ Mondays

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.

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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.”

MJ Mondays- Air Jordan Brand

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      As we look at the latest kicks on the basketball court, players have the tendency to go with the Nike brand. At the top of the shoe chain, superstars such as Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and LeBron James have solidified themselves atop basketball shoe supremacy that is influenced by athletes today. However, Michael Jordan will always and forever reign as number one for opening the doors for others.

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     During the 1984-85 NBA season, Nike decided to debut the Air Jordan line with the debut of the Air Jordan 1. Most notably, the black and red sneaker was banned by Commissioner David Stern for violating the “uniformity of uniform” rule. By wearing this shoe, Jordan was risking a $5,000 fine from the league. It is safe to say, the risk was worth it.

Before the release of the Air Jordan shoe, basketball shoes were solely white. The franchise has became legendary and is notorious for their high performance shoe. Also, they became culturally iconic of Jordan and would start the revolution of sneakers being made.

     Since 1985, there has been a significant shoe annually released from the Jordan brand that is highly anticipated through media and the buying public. As of today, the brand of the jumpman continues to grow as a franchise by re-releasing retro sneakers and creating various footwear going forward into the future. Adding players to the brand such as Carmelo Anthony, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, expect to see the legacy of Air Jordan to continue to take off. 

MJ Mondays- 55 point game vs. New York Knicks

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During the 1994-1995 NBA season, Michael Jordan returned to the association after retiring following the 1992-93 season in order to pursue a baseball career. Wearing number 45, Jordan would continue to harass his hated rivals, the New York Knicks.

The game before Jordan would face the Knicks again, he sank the winning shot against the Atlanta Hawks, a positive harbinger of things to come. In just his fifth game back from retirement, Jordan put on a show for the Madison Square Garden faithful letting everyone know that he was back. In the game, Jordan erupted for an NBA season high 55 points. Displaying masterful ball handling and scoring at will, Jordan finished the game shooting 21-37 from the field and 10-11 from the free throw line.

Despite Jordan’s domination, the Bull needed a last minute bucket from center, Bill Wennington to clinch the 113-111 victory coming on the assist from Jordan. He would finish the last 17 games of the 94-95 season averaging 26.9 points per game, 7 rebounds and 5 assists leading Chicago to the Eastern Conference finals where they fell short of returning to the NBA finals.

History would repeat itself when Jordan would silence critics the next season by winning his fourth MVP and leading the Bulls to their fourth championship of the 90’s era defeating the Seattle Supersonics.