Michael Jordan had a shot at winning his third consecutive MVP in 1992-93, but he didn’t. In fact, the Chicago Bulls legend didn’t even finish in second place. Phoenix Suns superstar Charles Barkley won the award, with Houston Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon finishing in second.
Jordan is one of the most intense competitors in NBA history, so he was angry when he didn’t win the 1992-93 MVP. Fortunately for His Airness, he was able to get revenge against Chuck and the voters at the same time.
Michael Jordan: I was upset they gave MVP to Charles Barkley
In Episode 6 of ESPN’s The Last Dance docuseries, Jordan told director Jason Hehir he was “upset” Barkley won the 1992-93 MVP over him. Even though Jordan and Barkley were close friends, the former wanted his third MVP.
The Bulls and Suns wound up meeting in the 1993 NBA Finals, and Jordan couldn’t wait to defeat Barkley.
“I was a little bit upset that I didn’t get the MVP that year, and they gave it to Charles Barkley,” Jordan said. “But with that said, OK, fine. You can have that. I’m gonna get this.”
The Suns had homecourt advantage in the ’93 Finals since they had the best record in the regular season. However, they had zero answers for Jordan, who put on a staggering show in the six-game series.
Michael Jordan was unstoppable against the Suns
Jordan played like an alien in the ’93 Finals. He didn’t look human. The 10-time scoring champion averaged 41.0 points while shooting 50.8% from the field and 40.0% from beyond the arc.
Jordan not only made it a point to destroy Barkley, but he also went after Dan Majerle.
“I knew that Jerry Krause loved Dan Majerle,” Jordan said in The Last Dance. And just because Krause liked him was enough for me. You think he’s a great defensive player? OK, fine. I’mma show you that he’s not.”
The Bulls defeated the Suns in six games to capture their third straight championship. Jordan won his third Finals MVP and prevented his pal Barkley from reaching the promised land.
The Round Mound of Rebound may have beat Black Jesus in the MVP voting, but he couldn’t defeat him when it mattered most, and he blames himself.
Charles Barkley: Suns weren’t ready to play Game 1
During an interview with Sam Amick of The Athletic in June 2021, Barkley said it was his fault the Suns weren’t ready to play Game 1 of the ’93 Finals. Everyone on the team was nervous since it was their first Finals and Barkley believes he should have done a better job to prepare his group against Jordan and Co.
“The other games (after Game 1) were really good games, but I thought the one bad game we had was Game One,” Barkley said. “I thought we were nervous, and I think that was my fault for not having us ready to play. I had been in big moments before, but nobody else on our team had been in big moments. I just felt that I should’ve had us better prepared, or I should’ve been more aggressive, to be honest with you. It’s so interesting. Michael actually talked about it in the documentary (The Last Dance). He was talking about his first championship (in 1991), and (how the Bulls) lost their first game to the Lakers (before winning in five games) — people forget. And he said, ‘We were kind of in shock how intense it was in Game 1,’ and he said, ‘We weren’t ready for Game 1.’ And I had never talked to him about that before, to be honest with you, but I thought it was funny that he said that in the documentary.”
Barkley averaged 27.3 points, 13.0 rebounds, and 5.5 assists in the ’93 Finals. However, the Suns lost all three of their home games.
Sir Charles never got back to the Finals after losing to Chicago. Meanwhile, Jordan finished his career with six championships and six Finals MVPs while going undefeated in the Finals.