Michael Jordan reveals how he earned Celtics legend Larry Bird’s respect after recording a 63-point playoff game, and that too in his second season.
Michael Jordan had to play his best to earn the legends’ respect. And that’s what he did in Game 2 of the 1986 Eastern Conference quarterfinals. MJ lost that match and the series but he earned Larry Legend’s respect.
He dropped 63 points on the Celtics. Remembering the aftermath of that match Jordan said “He paid me the highest compliment. And I think that was very gratifying that I earned Larry Bird’s respect”.
Michael Jordan had one of the greatest playoffs performances ever at Boston Garden
Still to this day, that’s the highest scoring by a player in an NBA playoffs match. As a matter of fact, MJ appears 4 times in the top 10 highest individual scoring games in the playoffs.
After the match, Larry said: “I think he’s God disguised as Michael Jordan”. He further added ” he put on one of the greatest shows of all time. I couldn’t believe anybody could do that against the Boston Celtics”
7 players from the Celtics tried to guard MJ that game, out of which 5 are Hall of Famers. But despite that feat, Jordan said “I’d much rather be scoreless and win the game than lose the game and score 63 points.”
It was a hard-fought match. The Celtics beat the Chicago Bulls by 135-131 in double OT. Boston swept the Bulls in that series and went on to win the championship that year.
Jordan only played 18 games that season due to injury. But in that series against the Celtics, he averaged 43.7 points in 3 games. What transcended in that series still continues to this day. MJ is still going strong in the G.O.A.T conversions.