23 years ago today Michael Jordan played in Game 1 of the 1992 NBA Finals between the Chicago Bulls and the Portland Trail Blazers. A game in which he was so hot that he could only shrug at the beating he was putting on the Blazers that day.
Leading into the Finals, it was MJ versus his rival Clyde Drexler. The big story was that Clyde had grown and was possibly even on the same level as his Airness. Well, Jordan wasn’t haven’t any of that and didn’t waste any time to show who was the best player. Laced up in a pair of the Black/True Red (not Raptors!) Air Jordan 7s, he started off making 7 of his first 12 shots, including 3 three-pointers. That trend would continue as the Blazers lagged off of him defensesively and even invited him to shoot the 3-ball.
Fueled by the “talk,” MJ kept shooting the rock partly to prove a point, partly because the Blazers weren’t playing tough defense and partly because he was (insert NBA Jam voice) on fire. Continuing his assault from the three-point line, he hit his fourth, then fifth shot. The home crowd was a bit stunned, but mostly in awe of the performance they were witnessing. After making his sixth 3-pointer the half the crowd went crazy, along with the Bulls’ team. MJ turned around and shrugged–even he wasn’t sure what was going on. Breaking records, he finished the half with 35 points.
He would go on to finish with 39 points and 11 assists with only one free throw in 34 minutes of play. The Bulls easily won 122-89 and eventually won their second Championship in a row in 6 games.