Originally Posted by Heilige
Loki, what do you think is Jordan's singular best game?
Oh wow, that's tough. Depends on if you're talking statistically or overall in terms of "the moment" etc. Here are some that stand out off the top of my head:
-- 69/18/6/4 vs. Cleveland, 1990
-- 44/9/6/3 vs. Cleveland in game 5 of the 1989 EC first round. 17 points in the 4th, including 4 consecutive baskets and an assist on the last 5 Chicago possessions, culminating in "The Shot" over Craig Ehlo.
-- 57 points and 10 assists vs. Washington in 1993. One of only two times in the last 17 years that a player has had a 50+/10+ game (the other was Stephon Marbury in '01).
-- 46/7/5/5/3 vs. Detroit in the '89 ECF, where he had 17 in the 4th including the game-winner and absolutely shut down Isiah Thomas, holding him to 7 points and 6 assists on 2-11 shooting, well below his 20/10 postseason averages.
-- 63/5/6 vs. Boston in a losing effort in the '86 playoffs (he lost, but you've got to put the all-time playoff record on here)
-- 46/4/6 vs. Philly in game 3 of the '91 playoffs. Bulls were down big and Jordan scored 26 (yes, 26) points in the 4th (and a couple of assists) to pull them within one at one point. They lost, but Jordan put the fear of God into Philly's hearts.
-- 33/7/13 vs. LA in game 2 of the '91 Finals. He hit 13 consecutive shots, the last of which was the famous "switch hands in mid-air" move, and the Bulls blew the Lakers out
-- 38/19/7/4/2 vs. Philly in the '91 playoffs. Outrebounded Barkley and Gilliam combined and dropped 16 in the 4th to close out the series.
-- 56/5/5/3/1 vs Miami in the '92 playoffs, just for the sheer bad-assedness of it. As I said earlier, he had just 2 points in the first when some Miami player started mouthing off to him, saying "we've got your number tonight, Mike; we're shutting you down!" He then dropped 54 over the next 3 quarters on an assortment of spectacular moves. Dominance.
-- 39/3/11 against Portland in game 1 of the '92 Finals. This was the game where he set the record for most points in a half in a Finals game (35). What's amazing is that he sat out about 7-8 minutes that first half-- he conceivably could have had 40+ first-half points. He was on fire.
-- 54 points vs. NY in the '93 playoffs. It was coming off a very poor shooting game, and there was a lot of talk that NY had his number defensively and that he was struggling, and he goes and scores 54 mainly on long jumpers (including 6 threes). A shooting exhibition and another example of his mental dominance. Jordan always answered.
-- 42/12/9 and 55/8/4 vs. Phoenix in the '93 Finals. The first was just a fantastic all-around game on the biggest of stages, and the second was a dominating performance which included the go-ahead basket (and-1) over Barkley with 10 seconds to go. Going into this game, Jordan was furious that some papers were saying that Majerle and KJ had "stopped him" in the previous game (where he had a poor shooting night, like 17-43 iirc), and he came out with a vengeance to prove that such a thing wasn't possible.
-- 55 vs. NY in his fifth game back from retirement in '95. Self-explanatory.
-- 48/9/8 vs. Charlotte in the '95 playoffs. Amazing that he could do that against a contending team having just returned from nearly a two year layoff just 17 games prior. He has a sick reverse in this game on Parish and Mourning, and one of my favorite jumpers ever by him, where 3 Hornets track him as he dribbles and goes for the 15-foot fadeaway off the glass, with all 3 (Mourning, LJ, and Hawkins) of their hands in his face nearly blocking the shot.
-- Game 3 of the '96 Knicks series, where he scored 19 points in the Final 6:30 to force overtime. He then scored 7 in OT, but Chicago lost. This is another game that shows Jordan's nigh indomitable will.
-- 51 points vs. NY after Jeff Van Gundy had called him a "con man" in the NY papers. Jordan destroyed
the Knick defenders that night, and, in the 4th, was visibly talking to Van Gundy after every made basket. Also memorable because Jordan punked Chris Childs earlier in the game after Childs stepped to him-- he sonned him with the "hand on the forehead and push" thing as if to say "back up off me."
-- Games 2 and 3 vs. Washington in the '97 EC first round. Game 2 was his 55-point explosion, and game 3 was when he scored 16 points in the final 4:00-4:30 to bring Chicago back for the victory. It was amazing-- it was like he just turned a switch late in the 4th and started hitting everything. Pippen made the game-winner on a dunk and a foul, but Jordan was the reason they won that game.
-- 45 points vs. Seattle in 1997 on 19-28 shooting. Prior to this game, George Karl had made some comments about how Jordan was playing "like he was afraid of getting hurt" and that he had become basically a jump-shooter. Jordan didn't take kindly to the remarks (though he didn't say anything publicly) and came out on fire with 28 first half points in Gary Payton' grill, including a ridiculous halfcourt shot with perfect shooting form at the halftime buzzer. The Bulls went away from Jordan for about 7:00 in the third, but then came back to him as the Sonics gained ground, and he put in 17 more points. After his final couple of baskets he was glancing over at George Karl as if to say "now, what was that you were saying?"
After his final shot, a 3-pointer, Payton just threw his hands up in exasperation.
-- Game 5 vs. Utah, 1997 Finals. The "Flu Game." Self-explanatory. 38/7/5, including 17 in the 4th and the game-winning 3-pointer on fumes.
-- Game 7 of the 1998 ECF vs. Indiana. Jordan had a poor shooting night (9-25) but still managed to finish with 28/9/8 because he stayed aggressive down the stretch by rpeatedly driving and getting to the line, grabbing big offensive rebounds (including a crucial one with 1:00 to go over 3 Pacers off a free throw) and making key passes (including the one to Longley for a baseline J that sealed the game). Even though he was exhausted, he still found ways to contribute and pull out the game; that's what made him great.
-- Game 6 vs. Utah, 1998 Finals, for the final 1:00 alone. You know the deal.
Originally Posted by Heilige
What year do you think was Jordan's best?
Either 1988 (35/5.5/5.9/3.2/1.6/54% FG; DPOY/MVP/ASG MVP) or 1991 (his first championship; absurd PER, season MVP, crazy postseason stats and Finals MVP, defensive first team and all-NBA). Third would be 1996 because he reasserted his dominance over the league, won MVP, ASG MVP, and Finals MVP, and led his team to the best record of all-time.
Originally Posted by Heilige
Is the Ultimate Jordan DVD set the best one out there? If not what is the best DVD/VHS to get of Jordan?
Ultimate Jordan is good, but the Chicago Bulls 1990's Commemorative Set is better imo, since it has lots of rare footage, even if it's is not strictly focused on Jordan.
Among the VHS videos, I like "Airtime: The Jordan Years" the best, followed by "Michael Jordan to the Max" and "Above and Beyond."
What year did you think Jordan became the greatest player ever?
After his first retirement, really. After the 1996 season at the very latest.