Michael Jordan scored 42 points on both Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1988 after the Los Angeles Lakers had just won a title.
Michael Jordan entered the league as one of the top dogs and never looked back. His second season in the NBA saw him drop 63 points on Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics, prompting the 3x champ to say MJ was God in disguise. By the time the 1988-89 season rolled around, a certain narrative had built up around the Bulls superstar.
Michael Jordan has won 10 scoring titles in his career, many of which came in seasons where he did not progress further in the Playoffs. So, he was labelled as a sort of ‘empty stats’ kind of player prior to his 1991 NBA Finals victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
1988 saw Jordan secure his first ever MVP, a scoring title, an All-Star and All-NBA nod, and a DPOY. The only thing missing was postseason success.
Michael Jordan scores 42 in a losing effort to Magic Johnson and the Lakers.
December 20th, 1988 saw Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls host the defending champ, Los Angeles Lakers. There isn’t all much significance to this game in a historical standpoint but it was simply incredible to see a mid-20s, athletic Jordan go up against both Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
It was a classic young Michael Jordan game as he relied on his quick first step for everything from getting to the basket through traffic to bursting out into the open floor for a steal. He snagged stole the rock from magic and dunked it on the other end of the floor. Light work for the reigning DPOY from what it seemed like.
Michael Jordan would keep the game close, even cutting the Lakers lead to 4 in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter but Magic’s 31 points coupled with James Worthy’s 24 led to a 13-point victory for the purple and gold. Jordan did however score 42 points in the losing effort.