As we celebrate the birthday of Michael Jordan – the man who made us all want to follow our dreams and buy his shoes – we take a look back at his best games and the sneakers he rocked during them.
The “Double Nickel” Game
Sneakers: Jordan 10 “Chicago”
Date: March 18th, 1995
This game still hurts Knicks fans to this day. In only his fifth game back after his first retirement, Jordan scored 55 points at the Garden. Is there a better way to let the world know “I’m back”?
His Career High 63-Point Game
Sneakers: Jordan 1 “Chicago”
Date: May 1986
Beating the team at the top has to feel good. Back the mid ’80s, the Bulls entered hostile territory when they played the Celtics at Boston Garden. Facing arguably one of the best basketball teams of all time, Jordan dropped 63 points on ’em.
The “Shrug” Game
Sneakers: Jordan 7 Olympics
Date: June 3, 1992
Everyone remembers the infamous shrug. During the first game of the 1992 NBA Finals, the Bulls put a beating on the Trailblazers, ending in a 33-point win. After hitting his sixth three-pointer in the first half, MJ looked at the announcers’ table and shrugged; almost as if he wasn’t in control of his own greatness.
The Journey to his First Ring
Sneakers: Air Jordan 6 Infrared
Date: June, 1991
It was the 1991 NBA Finals and it was time for the Bulls to put on for Chi-town. Up against Magic Johnson and the Lakers, Jordan scored 33 points and shot an amazing 83.3 percent from the field. It was then that the Bulls, who were down 0-1 in the Finals, went on the win 4 games in a row and get their first ring.
The “Last Shot” Game
Sneakers: Air Jordan 14 Black/Red
Date: June 14, 1998
Whether or not the Chicago Bulls won the 1998 NBA Finals, the series would be legendary because it was Jordan’s last time in a Bulls jersey. Often known as the “last shot,” this move was an exciting jumper from the top of the key right after he tripped up the Utah Jazz defense. Of course, he made the shot.
Clinching his First NBA 3-Peat
Sneakers: Air Jordan 8 “OG Bred”
Date: June 16, 1993
Obviously, a “3 Peat” game had to be on this list. While playing dominant big man Charles Barkley, Jordan didn’t back down. During Game 4 of the Finals, he dropped a cool 55 points. What’s better than this performance would be asking the comedian Chuck how he managed to lose this game.
The Flu Game
Sneakers: Air Jordan 12 “Black/Red”
Date: June 11, 1997
While no one is sure if Michael had the flu or if he was food poisoned, the one thing we do know is that he put on a hell of a show. Like most of his best moments, it came during the playoffs and Jordan stepped up to the plate. Hours after he was curled up in the fetal position in his hotel room, Jordan miraculously scored 38 points. In the end, he literally leaned on Scottie Pippen for support, but so it goes for the legend that is Michael Jordan.
Dropping 69 Points and Winning
Sneakers: Air Jordan 5 Fire Red
Date: March 29, 1990
Before LeBron James, Cleveland wasn’t the powerhouse that it is today. So when Jordan stepped into that Ohio arena, he went off and scored a career high 69 points. Jordan himself has expressed his love for that particular game, telling the New York Times, ”This would have to be my greatest game. When I scored 63 against Boston, we lost. It sure feels a lot better.” What made this game so great was how close it was; the Bulls won 117-113.
Sneakers: Air Jordan 4 “Bred”
Date: May 7, 1989
For a game that gave us “The Shot,” Jordan had better put on a show throughout. The iconic moment in which Jordan jumped for joy after beating Cleveland – who had defeated them four times during the regular season – is ingrained in sports fans’ heads. With three seconds left on the clock, Jordan pulled up for the jumper that put the Bulls up by one point.
Scoring 51 Points as a 38-Year-Old with the Wizards
Sneakers: Jordan 17s
Date: December 29, 2001
Jordan wasn’t just a beast on the Bulls, he put in work on the Wizards, too. At the age of 38, he dropped 51 points in a game against the Hornets. He didn’t let fatigue get in the way, though; he also made 45 points the next game against the Nets. Keep in mind he only played 38 minutes.