Michael Jordan built his reputation as the greatest player of all time by dominating everyone on both sides of the court, and he let them know that.
Midway through the 1980s, Jordan had already built a reputation as one of the best players in the world. The Nike commercials were running in full swing, and Jumpman was in full flight. It wasn’t “I wanna be like Mike” time yet, but it definitely was getting close to it.
By his third season, Jordan had won his first scoring title and earned his first All-NBA First Team selection. Coaches, however, overlooked him from the All-Defensive Teams altogether. This didn’t sit right with MJ, who, as you can guess, took it really personally.
Swatting 2020 away like MJ.
Michael Jordan’s dominance on the defensive end was always a joy to watch.
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Michael Jordan asks people to take note of his defense, wins Defensive Player of the Year
The very next season we saw Jordan put together an even crazier 82-game stretch. This time, nobody could ignore his defensive prowess as MJ bumped his steals average up from 2.9 to 3.2, and his blocks average from 1.5 to 1.6.
He won the Defensive Player of the Year award in a landslide with 37 first-place votes. Mark Eaton, who finished second, had 28 fewer first-place votes at 9. He began a stretch of 9 full seasons in which he made 9 straight All-NBA First Teams and All-Defensive First Teams while winning the scoring title.
In the highlights video above, you can see countless instances from Jordan’s career of stellar defensive highlights. He finished 3rd all time in steals per game, and despite playing 5 whole seasons less than LeBron James, has a lead of over 500 steals on him. With 893 blocks, he is still the most prolific shotblocking guard of all time.