Hall of Famer Michael Jordan put forth an incredible career that had many memorable performances along the way. Before he truly established himself as one of the game’s best talents and the legacy that he has today, Jordan was out to prove himself in his couple of seasons. One of those early defining moments was his legendary 63-point outing against the Boston Celtics in Game 2 of the first-round playoff matchup in 1986. That led fellow Hall of Famer to proclaim an incredible statement about Jordan‘s performance against him and the Celtics.
Michael Jordan’s quick rise to stardom
Jordan quickly found success in the NBA from the get-go as he became the Bulls’ top-scoring option in his rookie campaign.
He had a meteoric rise that saw him quickly become one of the game’s best talents on the floor. However, his second campaign was significantly hampered by injury as he suffered a broken foot in the third game of the year that forced him to miss 64 games.
However, Jordan willed his way back to the floor that season helping guide Chicago to earn the eighth seed in the 1986 playoffs despite holding a 30-52 record. He led the way when he came back to the floor proving to be their guiding offensive factor.
Jordan’s performance helped the Bulls get into the playoffs, earning a first-round matchup against the stacked Boston Celtics. That would set the stage for Jordan to put forth one of the most legendary performances of his career.
Larry Bird says Michael Jordan “was disguised as god” in 63-point outing against Celtics
Following an impressive 49-point outburst in Game 1 of the first-round series, Jordan brought out his best in Game 2.
There was no stopping him that night as he torched the powerhouse Celtics for a playoff career-high 63 points on 22-of-41 shooting from the floor and 19-of-21 from the free-throw line. There was no stopping Jordan that night as he single-handedly willed his team to overtime but fell short.
In “The Last Dance” documentary on The 1997-98 Bulls, Larry Bird voiced that Jordan’s performance against the Celtics in the 1986 playoffs was like playing “god in disguise.
“Our whole thing was just do what we can do to hold Michael down, but you don’t hold the great ones down.”
“That wasn’t Michael Jordan out there, that was God disguised as Michael Jordan.
The Celtics had no answers for Jordan in that series despite advancing to the next round as he averaged 43.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 2.3 steals, and 1.3 blocks while shooting 50.5% from the floor. What was also phenomenal about his performance was that he didn’t take a single 3-pointer, which his only attempt in the series came in Game 3. It was early in Jordan’s career, but that performance made it crystal clear that he was going to put forth an incredible career ahead.
Michael Jordan was unmatched
Jordan’s 63-point performance against the Celtics was one of the early markers in his career that showcased the tremendous talent that he had.
His transition from the collegiate level to the NBA was seamless while he continued to ascend to greater heights as his career progressed. Jordan was a one-of-a-kind talent that was a game-changing factor on both ends of the floor.
He was not only one of the greatest scorers in NBA history as he holds the record with 10 scoring titles and holds the fifth-most points scored, but he also clamped down defensively. Jordan is the lone player to win both the MVP award and the Defensive Player of the Year award in the same here.
There hasn’t been a talent like Jordan in NBA history, and his stellar outing against the Celtics back in 1986 was an early indication of what was to come over his illustrious career.