It’s common knowledge how prolific Michael Jordan’s Finals performances were; with a perfect 6/6 record in Finals appearances MJ stands as the gold standard of dominance. His shots have nicknames for Pete’s sake- almost everything Michael did was iconic but some iconic moments carry more weight than others. Today we’ll be talking about one of Jordan’s least memorable Finals runs (it feels comical just saying that because MJ’s “worst” championship still carries more substance than most other player’s best). I’m referring to the 1993 Finals between the Chicago Bulls and Phoenix Suns.
Jordan sought his third straight championship while his opponent, Charles Barkley thirsted for his first. During his lone MVP season (’93) Barkley elevated his game to new levels of completion and effectiveness; it truly felt like it was Sir Charles’s time, but… MJ, the Black Cat, wasn’t gonna have any of that. Honestly, “not having any of that” was probably Jordan’s greatest strength; he did not care about matchups, records or odds- winning by any means necessary was his singular focus.
Proof of MJ’s mindset came in Game 6 of the Finals, with the Bulls leading the series 3-2 they (Chicago) wanted to eliminate the Suns ASAP. For the series Jordan averaged a Finals record of 41.0 points per-game, a totally insane number, but Mike needed three points realllly bad towards the end of Game 6. Aforementioned points came via John Paxton with 3.9 seconds left; much like LeBron, MJ made the right play and found Paxton on the elbow for the game winning shot. With the win, Michael’s Bulls became the third team in league history to three-peat (Bill Russell’s Celtics and George Mikan’s MPLS Lakers). The Bulls would experience a major shake up the following season with Jordan’s early retirement, but worry not, he would return a year and a half later to wreck the league.
Let’s take a detailed look at some of the best shoes worn during the above mentioned close-out game. Which team had more ’90’s heat on? Tell us in the comments section below!
The Air Jordan VIII needs little introduction. The eighth installment has a distinct, comically ’90’s design and utilities a duel-strapped system for lockdown & stability. The shoe’s bootie-like fit still stands as one of the most comfortable Jays to wear.
Scottie Pippen and the Nike Air Maestro went together like peas and carrots. The Maestro was designed specifically for athletes like Pippen- they’re light, well cushioned and can do just about everything.
Horrace Grant did all of the little things during his tenure with the Bulls. We talked about Paxton’s game-winner but it’s important to mention that Grant blocked a potentially devastating Suns field goal attempt to ensure the Bulls held their one point lead. All of this was done wearing the 1993 variation of the Nike Air Force High. This model looked like a mix of the Air Raid and OG Air Force 1.
The man of the hour, Mr. John Paxton! John rocked the Reebok Pump D-Time; the signature shoe of Dee Brown. Throughout the ’90’s Reebok tinkered with their Pump line with two striking iterations bearing Dee Brown’s name.
We have to mention Sir Charles’s Air Force Max PE’s that he rocked throughout the Finals. The Force Max was the last ‘kinda Barkely’ shoe as the Air Max CB34 would release the following season. The white/ black/ purple PE pictured above are easily one of the best colorways of the Air Force Max.
Lastly, we should bring up that Dan Marjle was cooking in the Nike Air Dynamic Flight (one of the few Nike basketball gems yet to be retro’ed).