NBA
June 25, 2020
BY Joey Pisciotti

Michael Jordan's 10 Greatest NBA Games Ever, Ranked

ESPN's The Last Dance documentary, based on Michael Jordan’s legendary Chicago Bulls' championship run, has basketball fans in a frenzy.

The powers that be could not have picked a better time to release one of the most anticipated sports documentaries ever. With the coronavirus abruptly halting the current NBA campaign, basketball fans have been searching for something — anything! — to fulfill that basketball-sized hole in their lives.

Thankfully, ESPN has quenched basketball fans' thirst in the form of an in-depth look at Jordan’s tenure with the Bulls, with a focus on Chicago's quest for a sixth title. The series has and will continue to give young folks an opportunity to see why Michael Jordan is known as the greatest of all time.

It's so darn easy to fall victim to the moment while we watch LeBron James and other current superstars take over our television sets. This blast from the past should help provide a strong reminder that Michael Jordan is the unquestioned GOAT.

But what if you want to experience the best Jordan had to offer over his Chicago career? Before you get your M.J. fix from The Last Dance, check out our ranking of His Airness' 10 greatest games ever. 

10. 2003: Jordan Tallies 40 at 40

Even though this game did not occur as a member of the Chicago Bulls, this was a memorable night for Jordan. On February 21, 2003, M.J. poured in 43 points only four days after he turned 40. On that night, Jordan proved he still had it.

This was one of his most memorable performances of his two-year stint as a member of the Washington Wizards. Jordan became the first player 40 years or older to score 40 or more points in a game. Jordan dropped 43 points thanks to an impressive shooting display. He also managed to tally 10 rebounds, four steals and three assists. Not bad for a 40 year old.

In typical Jordan fashion, he sealed the win with a go-ahead basket with 34 seconds remaining to capture an 89-86 win over the Nets.

9.  1995: Jordan Drops 55 Against the New York Knicks

After a 21-month hiatus from the NBA, the Black Cat triumphantly returned to the hardwood in 1995. If there was one thing Jordan loved about playing basketball, it was doing so against the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden.

Jordan played plenty of memorable games against New York, but this was by far his best performance at the Garden. Jordan led the Chicago Bulls with a 55-point barrage against the Eastern Conference's second-seeded New York Knicks. It's one of the most remarkable performances in New York. 

8. Game 2, 1991 NBA Finals: A Spectacular Shot — And Performance 

Replays of that absolutely insane shot still have NBA fans scratching their heads. Jordan drove to the hoop, and appeared to go up for a vintage MJ slam dunk, but then — at the last second — he switched the ball to his left hand and laid it in.

For a guy nicknamed "Air Jordan," he sure looked like he could fly. The hangtime and dexterity on the play seem unfathomable. That legendary highlight was only a piece of the masterpiece for Jordan’s 1991 NBA Finals Game 2. After losing Game One, the Bulls were in what amounted to a must-win situation for Chicago.

Jordan carried the team on his back with a vintage performance, tallying 33 points, 7 rebounds 13 assists, two steals. Jordan even nailed 13 straight shots.

This was just one of many video-game-like performances in the playoffs from Jordan.

7. Game 1, 1992 NBA Finals: The Shrug

When you hear the name Michael Jordan, there are probably three images imprinted into your memory: the Jordan logo pose, M.J. with his tongue out and The Shrug.

This was once again another legendary NBA Finals performance from Jordan. M.J. caught fire from downtown early, propelling him to a 35-point first half with the help of six three-pointers. Jordan was not necessarily known for his three-point shooting, but when he caught fire from beyond the arc in this game, he let everyone know with his iconic shrug of the shoulders.

Jordan’s 35-point first-half still stands as an NBA record. He closed out the hot start with 39 points, three rebounds, 11 assists, and two steals. 

6. Game 4, 1993 NBA Finals: Jordan's on Fire Against the Suns

It is starting to get old talking about all of the legendary NBA Finals performances from Air Jordan. In Game 4 of the 1993 NBA Finals, Jordan put on an absolute show.

Alongside Jordan's 55 points, he tallied eight rebounds and four assists. M.J. was relentless getting to the rim in this game, as he bludgeoned the Suns into a 3-1 series deficit. Did you guys really think you were stopping Jordan in the Finals? Think again

5. Game 5, 1989 Eastern Conference First Round: The Shot

In the first round of the 1989 Eastern Conference Playoffs, Jordan sent the Cleveland Cavaliers home early with his vintage bucket famously known around the world as “The Shot."

On the road, Jordan propelled the Bulls to the next round by sinking a buzzer-beating hanging jumper over the Cavaliers' Craig Ehlo.

The clutch basket topped off a 44-point performance that helped propel the perception that Jordan was not of this world.

4. Game 5, 1997 NBA Finals: The Flu Game 

 With the 1997 NBA Finals tied up heading into Game 5, the Bulls had their backs against the wall on the road in Utah. Unfortunately for Chicago, Jordan came down with a stomach virus and flu-like symptoms prior to the tilt.

Trailing by 16 points early, Jordan had no choice but to turn it up. M.J. was getting so fatigued at times that his teammates had to carry him off of the court.

Jordan still was able to drop 17 points in the second quarter to cut the Jazz lead to just four. And with under a minute to go in the game, Jordan buried a go-ahead three-pointer that eventually gave the Bulls the win.

Jordan tallied 38 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals in 44 minutes. Not to mention, he scored 15 of those 38 points in the fourth quarter. It's just another iconic performance that will always be remembered as the Flu Game.

3. 1990: Jordan Scores a Career-High 69 Points 

On March 28th, 1990, Jordan blessed fans with one to remember. The Bulls traveled to Cleveland to face Mark Price’s Cleveland Cavaliers.

That day will forever be remembered as Jordan's career-high scoring night. He exploded for a nice 69 points and added 18 rebounds, six dimes and four steals. The Cavaliers tried to make him earn it at the charity stripe, which he certainly did, scoring 21 points at the line. To add to the impressive night, Jordan dropped all those points while hitting just two three-pointers. 

Imagine if Jordan was able to play in today’s fast-paced NBA? Giddy up.

2. Game 2, 1986 Eastern Conference Playoffs: God Disguises Himself as Jordan

Do you remember that star-studded Boston Celtics squad from the '80s? You know, the team with five eventual Hall of Famers in Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, Bill Walton and Dennis Johnson? Well, Jordan torched those guys, too.

In Game 2 of the first round of the 1986 Eastern Conference Playoffs, M.J. went off for 63 points in a double-overtime battle. This still marks the record for the most points in a playoff game, and it might never be broken. This was just Jordan’s second season in the league, which helped him make his name rather quickly.

Jordan did so while burning past premier perimeter defender Dennis Johnson. Jordan also added five rebounds, six assists and three steals to his epici performance. 

1. Game 6, 1998 NBA Finals: The Last Shot

Get used to seeing this performance a lot in the near future. The Last Dance documentary series will surely focus on this legendary performance — and shot.

The Chicago Bulls had their sixth Championship so close that they could taste it. Jordan was 35 this season, and with a lot of problems in an otherwise successful organization, this was known to be the last season the championship Bulls would be together. They had to end it on a good note, but how? The Bulls led the Utah Jazz 3-2 in the series, and Game 6 was being played in Utah.

With 42 seconds remaining, John Stockton buried a huge, go-ahead bucket from beyond the arc to give the Jazz a three-point lead. Jordan quickly answered by knifing to the basket and scoring in just four seconds. That Jordan guy, yeah, he played defense, too. Jordan stripped Karl Malone and took the ball the other way. That’s where Jordan buried his vintage bucket known as “The Last Shot."

With 5.2 seconds remaining, Jordan blessed Chicago fans with one final game-winning shot. Splash. The Chicago Bulls were six-time NBA Champions, including two three-peats in eight years at the hands of Michael Jordan. That game-winner was just two of Jordan’s 16 fourth-quarter points. He dropped a total of 45 points in his final memorable moment as a Chicago Bull. 

Photo: Getty Images / Lines.com Illustration