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Michael Jordan Shot 40% in ‘Clutch Time’, Despite Permanent Damage to his Index Finger

Achyuth Jayagopal

When it comes to silverware in the NBA, there aren’t many as accomplished as Michael Jordan. The former Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards star set the standard for quality and individual prowess during his time in the league.

While Jordan held quite the reputation for being one of the most well-rounded players in the history of basketball, one attribute stood out to a lot of followers. MJ’s clutch gene. His Airness was a beacon of confidence and no moment was too large for him.

Also read: “Michael Jordan of the Last Game in Utah”: Kobe Bryant Thought Only One Version of MJ Can Beat him One-on-one, and Nobody Else

The sheer number of iconic clutch moments throughout Michael Jordan’s career stands as proof of the same. And if the legacy isn’t sufficient, for the men of numbers out there, the stats don’t lie either.

But before we move on to stats, an important caveat is to be taken into account. The fact that Michael Jordan set himself up as the most clutch basketball player of his era, while his index finger was permanently damaged!

Michael Jordan had a permanently dislocated index finger

While most details about Jordan’s life are public information, the permanently dislocated finger remains a topic that isn’t spoken enough about. MJ had sustained the injury during the 1997-98 season and it was deemed permanently damaged in January 1999.

Despite the same, Jordan’s performances did not spiral downward. A permanent injury to one’s fingers ought to raise the alarm bells for any basketball player’s career. But again, as we all know, His Airness was no ordinary player.

The permanently damaged finger did nothing to dim Michael Jordan’s abilities in the clutch. Stats tracking shots were introduced in the NBA only in 1996-97, shortly after which, Jordan injured his index finger. And with that injured finger, Jordan continued to set the standards for clutch shooting in the NBA.

For the period of 7 years which included a hiatus after his second three-peat, MJ held the status of the clutch-est player in basketball. Jordan shot 40.9% in clutch moments, a league-leading stat even at the fag end of his career.

If statistics at his prime were recorded, this record would have arguably been expanded upon. From the moment he burst into the scene, Jordan had proven to be the guy for his teams. And his ability to deliver in the clutch even dated back to his college days.

Michael Jordan’s tournament-winning shot as a freshman was proof of his clutch gene

In 1982, with the NCAA tournament finale calling out for a hero, a freshman delivered. Michael Jordan, a baby-faced freshman wasn’t quite a known quantity in the basketball community yet.

But in a team led by future Hall 0f Famer James Worthy, it was MJ who stepped up and hit the dagger on Georgetown. This marked the first entry of Michael Jordan into basketball lore, and it clearly wasn’t his last either.

A normal freshman would have hesitated under the bright lights of the NCAA Championship game. But little did the basketball community or the Georgetown Hoyas know that the kid taking the final shot against them was set to be the most clutch player of all time.

A dislocated index finger was no hindrance, and nor was any opposition defense. When His Airness decided to take over, the game was mostly decided by him and him alone.

Also read: “Slow up, Man”: An Exasperated Scottie Pippen Once Learned Never to Challenge Michael Jordan

About the author

Achyuth Jayagopal

Achyuth Jayagopal

Achyuth Jayagopal is a creative writer with The Sportsrush. After previous freelance dabbles in the industry, Achyuth has authored over 300 pieces for TSR. Having followed the game of basketball for a considerable period, he pledges his allegiance to Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. Beyond speaking his mind on all things basketball, Achyuth is a Sports and Gaming Lawyer who is an ardent Chelsea fan and takes a shine to the culinary world and travelling too.

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