“Michael Jordan told me ‘I’m hot now, there’s nothing you can do'”: When the Bulls legend manifested his storied double nickel game at MSG

Ashish Priyadarshi
|Published 28/10/2021

Michael Jordan has had several legendary tales and stories over the course of his NBA career, and yet, there always seems to be some new twist to it.

The Bulls legend finished his career with six NBA titles (coming off of two three-peats), six NBA Finals MVPs, five NBA MVPs, finished as the NBA’s highest scorer (in career points per game average), and has a whole list of accolades that would be too long to list here.

You’ve probably heard about his ‘Flu Game’, his shot against Craig Ehlo, and his ‘Shrug Game’, but do you remember his ‘Double Nickel’ game? Well, there’s probably a good chance you do considering it is a Jordan stor, but even there are some great moments to look back on.

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Michael Jordan told Derek Harper he was going to be invincible at the Garden

Madison Square Garden is the mecca of basketball for good reason. Superstars have come and gone, celebrities regularly populate the games, and there’s been so many incredible performances there.

Jordan’s ‘Double Nickel’ game was one of them. Jordan had had his fair share of battles in MSG, but in 1993 the Bulls legend surprisingly retired from the NBA. Not for long, however. He’d come back two years later, and in his first game back at the MSG, he put on one of the most memorable performances at the venue ever.

Before the game, Knicks guard Derek Harper had arrived in the city to take in the atmosphere and his remarks echo how the city felt about the NBA. “If you know how the people feel about basketball in New York City, you can only imagine how fired up the city was,” Harper would comment. “There was a buzz like I have never felt in New York for the game.”

The Garden had no idea that they’d be witnessing something that’d go down in history. Jordan got off to an electric start, scoring a blistering 20 points in the first quarter.

He didn’t slow down before half either, finishing with 35 points on 14/19 shooting at the break. The Knicks had thrown everything they could at him, but on some nights, there’s nothing you can do but stand and watch. Still, Derek Harper felt like he might be able to give Jordan a new angle. After all, in his words, “What did I have to lose?”

Jordan waved Harper off like a pest. He disregarded him completely, even telling him to his face that he didn’t care about his presence. “He told me, ‘I’m hot now,’ ” Harper remembered. ” ‘There’s nothing you can do.’ ”

There really was nothing Harper could do. Although Jordan ‘slowed down’ a bit in the second half, he still finished the game with 55 points (hence the name ‘Double Nickel’ because of the two fives) on nearly 57% shooting while going 3/4 from three point range. The Bulls eeked out a 113-111 victory, and the crowd at New York was taken aback.

“We just didn’t have an answer,” Harper summed up. “When a game is on the line, there’s something about greatness that comes to the forefront. And Michael Jordan is the greatest.”

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About the author
Ashish Priyadarshi

Ashish Priyadarshi

Ashish Priyadarshi is The SportsRush's content manager and editor. Ashish freelanced for 1 year in the NFL division before taking on an editorial role in the company. He then tacked on managing content while adding on a writing role in the NBA division. Ashish has been closely following the NFL and NBA since the 2012 season when the Patriots lost the Super Bowl and Derrick Rose was at the height of his powers. Since then, Ashish has focused on honing his knowledge for both leagues in, even writing crossover pieces. In his free time, Ashish is an avid basketball player, he loves to watch movies and TV shows, immersing himself in the cinematic world. Ashish studies computer science and data science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and would love to mesh his love for sports with his technical skills.

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