Michael Jordan is known as one of the greatest basketball players in history. He has won six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls.
He also has a successful business career. He is currently the majority owner and head of basketball operations for the Charlotte Bobcats.
1. Jordan’s first game in Seattle
If you’re a basketball fan, you know that Michael Jordan is the greatest player in NBA history. He won six NBA titles and was named Finals MVP all six times.
But he didn’t win a championship while playing for the Sonics, and it hurt a lot.
The best-of-seven series was a rematch of the 1996 Finals, and Seattle coach George Karl made the mistake of not having Gary Payton guard MJ until Game 4.
2. Jordan’s second game in Seattle
In the latest episode of ESPN’s 10-part documentary series on Jordan, “The Last Dance,” a segment involving the Bulls’ 1996 NBA Finals meeting with the super sonics included Gary Payton discussing going one-on-one with Michael.
In the course of 13 playoff trips, Payton played defense on Jordan that no other opponent held him to a lower points per game average. Not only that, but he held him to a lower shooting percentage from the field than any other opponent in Jordan’s career.
3. Jordan’s third game in Seattle
After an incredibly rough season for the Chicago Bulls, Michael Jordan was ready to take on the super sonics. The 1996 finals would be MJ’s first NBA championship against the Sonics and he was determined to win it.
The final game of the series was played in Seattle, where the defending champions led the Sonics by 17 points in the fourth quarter. It wasn’t a good game for MJ, though, as he only scored 23 points.
On a play that should have ended with a jumper, Jordan instead gets Gary Payton to foul him and goes to the line. He sinks two free throws to put the series out of reach for the Sonics.
4. Jordan’s fourth game in Seattle
In his fourth game in Seattle, Jordan scores 28 points on 9-of-18 shooting and hits 10 free throws. He also added 7 rebounds and 2 assists.
The Bulls go on to win that game by a score of 92-80, and they are up two games to none in the series. The Sonics are on the verge of an upset, but Jordan shows his defensive skills again. He stops the Sonics in OT by draining an 18-footer from downtown to give Chicago a 1-0 lead.
5. Jordan’s fifth game in Seattle
Michael Jordan tormented the super sonics since 1993, helping the Chicago Bulls win their fifth championship in 1996. They compiled a then-record 72 regular season wins, including a 2-0 victory in the NBA Finals over Gary Payton and the Seattle Super Sonics.
In the first game, Jordan put up a career-high 38 points on 15 of 26 shooting from the field, making six threes and adding nine assists and four rebounds. That was an all-time high in scoring and a good sign that the Bulls were a force to be reckoned with.
6. Jordan’s sixth game in Seattle
Michael Jordan’s sixth game in Seattle, which he played on Father’s Day, was an important one. It was the first game since his father was murdered in 1993, and he wanted to win a championship on that special day.
The Sonics held Jordan to a point per game average of 26.6 in the series, and he shot only 40% from the field. That’s the lowest points per game he’s ever scored in a playoff series, and it was largely due to Gary Payton’s play on defense.