For a lot of sports fans, the ESPN documentary The Last Dance was a great reminder that Michael Jordan should still be considered the best basketball player of all-time. Of course, it also reminded us that Jordan had so many memorable moments that it’s almost impossible to keep track of all of them. Having said that, we’ve done the leg work and come up with the five best performances in Jordan’s illustrious career.
5. 1986 First Round, Game 2
This is one of the games that made it clear early in Jordan’s career that he was something special. People forget that Jordan missed a large chunk of the season with a foot injury but made it back in time for the playoffs.
Of course, Chicago was the no. 8 seed and had to face the mighty Boston Celtics in the First Round. In a series where the Bulls were clearly overmatched, Jordan went off in Game 2. He scored 63 points to set a new NBA playoff record and pushing the Celtics to double-overtime before Boston prevailed 135-131.
4. 1997 NBA Finals, Game 5
This was the infamous “Flu Game,” although we now know from The Last Dance that it was food poisoning from a pizza that had Jordan under the weather.
Regardless of the cause, Jordan was sick with something that would have sidelined a lot of athletes. Somehow, Jordan didn’t just gut it out, he dropped 38 points in a pivotal Game 5 to give the Bulls a 90-88 win and a 3-2 series lead.
3. 1989 First Round, Game 5
For a First Round series, the battle between the Bulls and Cavs was as good as it gets. Cleveland might have been the better team, but the Bulls had Jordan, who had 44 points, nine rebounds, and six assists in the decisive game of the series.
Of course, this game stands out above the rest because of Jordan’s iconic buzzer-beater that has been dubbed “The Shot.”
2. 1993 NBA Finals, Game 4
To be fair, Charles Barkley deserves some credit for this because he had a triple-double for the Suns. One could argue that it was Barkley’s performance that forced Jordan to take things to another level.
Of course, Jordan did just that, scoring 55 points in a 111-105 Chicago win to give the Bulls a 3-1 series lead. Ultimately, the head-to-head battle between Barkley and Jordan makes this among Michael’s most memorable games.
1. 1998 NBA Finals, Game 6
Fittingly, Jordan’s last game with the Bulls ended up being his greatest performance. We know from The Last Dance how tired and worn out Jordan was by this point. Plus, Utah was gaining momentum in the series, especially with the Jazz hosting Games 6 and 7.
But Jordan gutted it out, playing 44 minutes and scoring 45 points. Most importantly, he was vintage Jordan when he made Byron Russell look foolish on a nasty crossover to set up the game-winning shot for Chicago’s sixth NBA championship.