NBA veteran Dikembe Mutombo always looked forward to facing Michael Jordan. The former Nuggets player talks about his incredible performance against his Airness.
It was no secret that Michael Jordan was the biggest thing in the NBA from the late 80s till 1998. The Bulls superstar was a generational talent with a larger-than-life personality.
The 6x NBA champion had an intense competitive drive and zen-like focus that made him an unstoppable force. Besides basketball, another skill that MJ excelled in was trash-talking.
The Bulls superstar was often seen engaging in verbal spats with his opponents, which he used as fuel to help him perform better. However, one such player that always found his trash talk amusing was Dikembe Mutombo. The 8x All-Star was always excited to play against MJ.
Mutombo had one of his best games during the 1992-93 NBA season against the Jordan-led Chicago Bulls, which resulted in the Nuggets defeating the Bulls.
Dikembe Mutombo talks about his iconic performance against Michael Jordan in 1993
Mutombo would notch a double-double against the Bulls that included 29-points and 22 rebounds. The 4x DPOY shot an impressive 64.9% from the field during the game and had 3 blocks.
However, this would never stop MJ from trash-talking on the court that Mutombo found really amusing. The former Nuggets player felt playing against Jordan helped him elevate his game.
El fenómeno llamado Michael Jordan 🏀😎✌️
— Juan Carlos Flores A (@floresaquino) November 23, 2019
Everybody was looking (forward) to play against Michael Jordan. That’s the reason why the day we played the Chicago Bulls (in 93), I think I had like my 29 points and then 22 rebounds because you can see the excitement after what’s going on with me, and we end up beating them which was great. I think those are the games that gave me a chance also to elevate myself as an All-Star… But Michael was as funny as he was always and pleasing his friends by closing his eyes and shooting free throws. I was like what is this guy doing, what the heck.
While many feared facing Jordan, that wasn’t the case with Mutombo, who always hoped to face the 10x scoring champion. The 7″2′ center averaged 12.3 PPG, 11.5 RPG, and 2.9 BPG in his 18 matches against Jordan.
MJ is considered to be as good a trash talker as he’s a basketball player. The 5x MVP had a way of getting into his opponent’s head to bring the best in himself.