Dikembe Mutombo may not have aspired to be an NBA player when he joined Georgetown University (he actually got a scholarship to become a doctor) but his skills and talent made him the fourth pick of the 1991 NBA Draft.
An immediate impact player for the Denver Nuggets starting from the first game he played, he was drawing rave reviews early in the 1991 season. But Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls were fresh off their first Championship and looking for more. The two stars met for the first time on November 23, 1991.
The Bulls led pretty much wire to wire as the Chicago team was a more complete and cohesive unit. Jordan was having a typical MJ game with 37 points on 54% shooting, 6 boards, 3 dimes, and a perfect 7-for-7 from the free-throw line. On his feet were the eye-catching Air Jordan 6 “Carmines” which he wore a lot during the 1991-92 season.
That didn’t mean Mutombo didn’t make his presence felt. He played a game-high 44 minutes, altering shots and keeping his team in the game as best he could. But his team was filled with names that even that most hardcore basketball fan have a hard time remembering. Still, Mutombo kept his team in it and had talked some smack to MJ while doing it.
With 3.5 seconds left in the game, the Nuggets intentionally fouled MJ in a prayer he would miss both. He would make the first easily putting the game further out of reach. During the second shot, while verbally going back and forth with Dikembe, MJ decided to have some fun. He motioned to Dikembe, smiled and closed his eyes.
Swish. Classic MJ.