“James Jordan told Michael Jordan to lead from the front in the 1992 eastern conference semi-finals”: How MJ’s father’s advice helped him defeat the likes of Patrick Ewing and Charles Oakley
|Thu Oct 28 2021
Michael Jordan asked his father for advice ahead of Game Seven of the 1992 conference semi-finals. Jordan shared a special bond with his father and would go to him for guidance on several matters.
Michael Jordan fitted the role of a sports icon perfectly. The Bulls superstar was the perfect son, teammate, and athlete. The 6x NBA champion looked up to his father as his hero. MJ would often ask his dad for advice that included matters related to his NBA career as well.
One such occasion was the 1992 eastern conference semi-finals against the New York Knicks. The Bulls were coming off their first NBA championship and were looking to defend the crown. On the other side were the Knicks comprising Patrick Ewing, Charles Oakley, and Xavier McDaniel.
The series would go down to the wire with both teams battling for a spot in the conference finals. The Bulls had home court, being the top seed in the league. Jordan had won his third league MVP.
The series was a rollercoaster ride going till a Game Seven. The Bulls had lost Game Six at MSG, which made MJ turn to his father for advice in light of the elimination game.
Michael Jordan’s father’s advice to him proved to be highly valuable.
The Bulls lost to the Knicks by a considerable margin in Game Six of the conference semi-finals. It was one of the rare occasions where Jordan had a poor performance. MJ scored 21-points on 36.0% shooting from the field. He had seven turnovers during the game.
With Game Seven being at Chicago, expectations from the Bulls superstar were sky-rocketing. Thus he would turn to his father for advice to overcome the Knicks at home.
James Jordan’s (MJ’s father) wise words would help the 10x scoring champion put on a spectacle at home.
“The New York series was one of those fatherly advice type of series,” Jordan said in Michael Jordan Air Time. “So I kind of asked him, ‘What should I do? How should I attack? Should I feed off my teammates, or should I go out and be the leader and let them follow my lead?’ And like most fathers, he said, ‘Take the lead. If they don’t follow you, they don’t follow you, but you have to take the lead.’
(At 27:20 MJ talks about going to his father for advice)
Jordan’s 42-points performance led the Bulls to a 110-81 victory over the Knicks. The 14x All-Star was 51.7% from the field and had 2-blocks. Thus James Jordan’s advice to the Bulls superstar worked wonders for the latter.
Unfortunately, James Jordan was shot dead in 1993, having a long-lasting effect on Jordan, who would retire from the NBA consequently. However, he would return to the hardwood and 3-peat for the second time in his career.