Michael Jordan was the man to go to when it came to big games – Assistant coach Tex Winter didn’t like his play style in the 1992 NBA finals.
En route to winning his second NBA title with the Bulls, Michael Jordan played like a different man compared to the man he was just a year before. While in 1991 he was nervous because it was his first trip, the second time around he was chock full of confidence. It was against his strong rival, Clyde Drexler too, so he had a point to prove.
Portland had the second-best team in the league, right behind the Bulls. But it was a relatively easy affair for Chicago, winning the title in 6 games. The match-up between Drexler and Jordan was a tightly contested one, but the game isn’t a 1-v-1. The coaching team of the Chicago Bulls had it dialed in, except for one piece of the puzzle.
Michael Jordan took his match-up with “The Glide” way too personally. He was playing a lot of iso ball, making it a game between him and Drexler. He was playing his heart out no doubt, but the coaching principles were taking a beating, and the team was suffering, being 12 minutes away from being the only game 7 Jordan would have had to play.
Michael Jordan was not above the team – if he did not play according to the system, even he could be taken out of the game
Nobody is bigger than the team – not LeBron James, not Kobe Bryant, and not Michael Jordan. If someone is the reason for the team’s poor performance, you get taken out. That is exactly the reason Tex Winter pointed out to Phil Jackson and was taken out for the 4th quarter. Right after he was out, the Bulls went on a 14-2 run, justifying the action.
He got back into the game and steered the game away from the Trail Blazers, but he understood what happened wrong. Even greats like Jordan are constantly learning the game, and he learned at the worst possible time. This particular aspect of this game was conveniently left out of the “Last Dance“, which has caused great distress to Scottie Pippen.
He was always that guy who never got his recognition, and even when he was the main reason for winning a championship, he did not get his flowers. “The only footage of Game 6 was showing the final seconds ticking off”, Pippen said. Scottie had every right to be angry, and he was fully justified in doing so. The other things that irk him, may be questionable though.