There have been many great NBA players over the years, but even among those are a select few who stand out. Despite the large number of all-timers in today’s game, none of them quite match up to the greatness of Michael Jordan.
The Bulls legend is widely considered the greatest player of all time, and for good reason. In the following sections, I will break down his best scoring performances and look at his sheer consistency to show why so many hold him in such high regard.
The Middle Man
To be a top scorer in today’s NBA, players need to be a deep threat. However, it wasn’t always that way. The three pointer has only become overly important throughout the last decade. Before that, there was a wide range of different specialists. Jordan was one of them.
While the hall of famer could hit the deep ball when needed, he made a living through his midrange game. In fact, he still has one of the best pull up jumpers of all time. That, alongside his strong athleticism, helped him put up big numbers in a wide number of games.
He wasn’t just a great scorer, he hit a peak almost no other player could ever match.
Jordan always thrived in the NBA. Even when he was young, the guard put up big games and seemed to be able to score on just about anyone. That was apparent during his first few years in the league when he put up sixty points multiple times across multiple contests.
The first instance occurred on April 20th, 1986 when Jordan, only in his third year, hung 63 points on the Celtic during a tough double overtime loss in the first round of the playoffs. Despite the result, it was a coming out game for Jordan and a great showing of what he could do.
He followed his first sixty point game up with two more the following season. Only getting better with each passing year, Jordan put up 61 on March 4th, 1987 against the Pistons and then he did it again on April 16th, 1987 when facing the Hawks.
In both games, he went above and beyond the call of duty. Not only that, but two such performances so close to each other was a suggestion of how good he would eventually become.
Raising the Bar
Jordan blew the doors off again on January 16th, 1993 when he put up 64 points against a strong Magic team in Chicago. Though the Bulls would lose the contest, the final result didn’t diminish Jordan’s performance.
The G.O.A.T was almost unstoppable that night, adding another strong game to what would end up being one of the best years of his career. In addition to the points, he dished out an assist, grabbed six rebounds, and had five steals before it was all said and done.
However, while 64 points is one of the highest individual scoring efforts from any player, it wasn’t quite Jordan’s best. That came during his contest against Cleveland during the 1989-1990 season.
During that game the legend didn’t just score in bunches, he put up almost 70 points (69) in a thrilling overtime win. As with his other top performances, Jordan was almost unstoppable.
He shot 23 of 37 from the field, nabbed four steals, passed six assists, and even grabbed 18 rebounds. It was a showing for the ages, and a big moment for both him and the Bulls. It also put him in the top fifteen highest scoring games of all time.
Cementing a Legacy
Throughout NBA history there have been a wide range of superstars who have scored fifty or more points in a game. It’s an incredible mark that’s hard to reach for most athletes. Jordan was a completely different story.
Besides Wilt Chamberlain, Jordan hit the fifty point mark more than anyone else in history. He didn’t just do it a few times, he tied or surpassed it a staggering 31 times throughout his amazing career.
The next closest player to that is Kobe Bryant, who had 25. That’s a good number, but surpassing thirty puts Jordan into an entirely different category. When it came to big time performances, nobody has ever been able to match up.
Jordan has a few amazing games from a scoring perspective. However, they are quickly overshadowed by his sheer number of incredible offensive performances. He didn’t just hit fifty points, he did it again and again and again.
The above games are a testament to just how dominant the Bulls legend was during his time in the NBA. He was almost unstoppable one on one, and defenses had no answer for his quick shooting. It paid off, cementing him as one of the (if not the) most efficient scorers of all time.