Michael Jordan had a reputation for taking things personally, and so when Shaq got the better of him in the playoffs in 1995, he made sure to come back even stronger.
Jordan is widely considered the NBA GOAT by fans and players alike. There’s obviously good reason too. He’s 6-0 in the Finals with 6 Finals MVPs, he’s a 5 time MVP, the NBA’s highest scorer on a per game basis, and he holds a list of other accolades which would be too long to include in this article alone.
Jordan has been the gold standard for greatness in the NBA, and it’s who everyone is looking to pass when they enter the league. LeBron James is perhaps the closest anyone has come to surpassing Jordan, and he’s admitted that he’s chasing after Jordan’s ghost.
It’s a tough battle, but that’s just how incredible Jordan’s playing career was. His legacy was defined by him being the best player on the court on any given day against any given team.
However, that doesn’t mean that there weren’t situations where he failed. Stories of Jordan making a habit out of destroying opponents who got an upper hand against him once in a while are all part of his fabled career, including this one.
37 YEARS AGO TODAY🐐
Michael Jordan won Rookie Of The Year after leading the NBA in total PTS & the Bulls in PTS, REB, AST & 2nd in BLKS.
Akeem: 20.5 pic.twitter.com/9jetxlpaba
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) May 16, 2022
Michael Jordan didn’t take a single day off after Shaq humbled him in the playoffs
Jordan’s six championships came in the form of two three-peats. The first was from 1991-1993, and the second was from 1996-1998. In between, there were two seasons where Jordan had taken a step away from basketball.
After winning his third title in 1993, Jordan shockingly announced that he would be retiring from the NBA. The news came after Jordan’s father passed away in the same year. Jordan cited his father’s death as one of the reasons he’d be walking away from the game.
Jordan tried to pursue baseball for a short while, but he wasn’t very good at it. Then, all of a sudden in the midst of the 1995 season, he announced that he was back.
It was an incredible moment, and many people feared that the Bulls dynasty was back. Chicago had remained a competitive team without Jordan, making the playoffs in the first season without their franchise star and were well on their way to making it in the second year as well. So when Jordan rejoined the Bulls in 1995, they were ready to compete in the playoffs.
The Bulls ended up in a series against the Orlando Magic in the conference semis with an up-and-coming dominant force in Shaquille O’Neal. Jordan’s return meant fans were expecting another title run, but it wasn’t meant to be. Shaq sent the Bulls packing, and that led to four of the most dangerous words spoken in NBA history.
After the loss, Jordan’s trainer, Tim Grover, reached out to Jordan to ask him when he would want to train again. “Let me know when you want me to see you,” Grover told Jordan. Jordan’s reply? “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
The very next season the Bulls would set a then-NBA record for wins in a season, going 72-10, and would matchup against Shaq and the Magic once again in the playoffs. This time, Jordan and the Bulls were all over Orlando and made easy work out of them, en-route to another Finals win. When Jordan takes things personally, there’s no stopping him.
27 YEARS AGO TODAY
The Magic eliminated the Bulls in the 95 Playoffs. This was the last time a Michael Jordan team lost a series.
After the game, trainer Tim Grover said: “Let me know when you want me to see you.”
MJ’s response: “I’ll see you tomorrow” pic.twitter.com/TAg5WSoU9J
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) May 18, 2022