Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal had a duel for the ages in the Lakers legend’s rookie season. Jordan scored 64, but Shaq led the Magic to an OT win.
Jordan and Shaq are the last two NBA players to win a threepeat of Finals MVP titles. When Shaq entered the league in 1992 as a 20-year-old it was owned by Jordan’s Bulls. They’d won 2 championships in a row, while MJ and Scottie were coming off a gold medal run in Barcelona.
The Bulls were a must-watch spectacle. Every night they took the floor, Jordan wowed viewers and spectators with stuff you’d only see him do. There were many players with his skill, his strength, his speed, his energy and his drive to win. But his level of artistry remains unmatched to this day.
How Shaquille O’Neal measured up to Michael Jordan in this famous duel
Shaquille O’Neal, meanwhile, was the upstart of the league. Coming off a great season in college with LSU, he was tipped to be the next great center of the league. He dominated right off the bat in the league, making the All Star game as a starter.
The Bulls won their first game of the season against the Magic 4 days prior to this game. The Magic were thirsting for revenge, and they got it via a great performance offensively. Scott Skiles had a team high 31 points and 10 assists. Shaq put in a monster 29 point, 24 rebound, 5 block performance.
The Bulls weren’t great as a team apart from MJ on the night. But he almost willed them to victory all by himself. Jordan had 55 points in the first 4 quarters of the night. But a defensive slip-up allowed Orlando to tie the game with a 3-pointer. Despite 9 more points scored for a total of 64, MJ was unable to prevent a 124-128 loss.
On this day in 1993, Michael Jordan dropped 64 points on Shaq and the Magic in “Cardinal” Air Jordan 7s. pic.twitter.com/344V7iEFza
— Complex Sneakers (@ComplexSneakers) January 16, 2021
This game was only a sign of things to come. Jordan and Shaq met each other in the playoffs twice. Both swept the other while having home court advantage.