Michael Jordan once promised Bulls coach Doug Collins he wouldn’t lose his first game, even when they were down by five in the fourth quarter.
Jordan’s clutch genes are something to behold. The Bulls legend had an uncanny ability to win games, no matter the opposition.
Today, we will take a look at one instance, where Michael first displayed his clutchness.
Rewind to the 1986-87 season, the Bulls are not winning, it is Michael’s third season. To change the formula, Jerry Krause has hired a new head coach. Doug Collins.
Michael Jordan goes to work against the New York Knicks
While every coach will face jitters during their first games, it is absolutely horrifying to think that for Doug’s first game, the Bulls faced off against the Knicks!
At the time, the Twin Towers of New York, aka, Bill Cartwright and Patrick Ewing were fearsome. Both of them combined well to give the Knicks a solid 5 point lead through the middle of the fourth quarter.
Collins was visibly nervous and shaken. In a timeout, Jordan looked at Collins and said “Coach, I’m not gonna let you lose your first game.”
“Michael looked at me and said ‘Coach.. I’m not gonna let you lose your first game’… and he went out & scored like the last 10 points of the game, ended up with 50.” -Michael Jordan to Doug Collins, 11/1/1986.
The Last Dance on ESPN pic.twitter.com/HCLi6PMcJ9
— NBA (@NBA) April 27, 2020
He went to work, scoring the Bulls’ final 18 points. They won the game 108-103. He also scored 50 points. This was the first time he broke the 50-pt barrier.
While his double nickel game might be the talking point for most people that think Michael Jordan vs the New York Knicks, this game is more instrumental.
This game marked a coming of age for MJ. The next season he would go on to win his first NBA MVP award. He also racked up a remarkable 31 50-point games, second only to Wilt Chamberlain.
Happy 58th birthday to the 🐐.
To celebrate, heres a crazy stat:
If you were to watch any random Michael Jordan playoff game, there’s a higher chance that he scored 50 or more in that game than there is he scored less than 20 points. pic.twitter.com/MGu9z16u4c
— Goat Jordan (@GOATJordan_23) February 17, 2021