During the end of his legendary career with the Chicago Bulls, Michael Jordan had a fierce rivalry with the Indiana Pacers. The Bulls and Pacers faced each other in the 1998 Eastern Conference Finals, and the series went seven games, with the Bulls winning Game 7 at the United Center.
Pacers star shooting guard Reggie Miller was the player Jordan had intense battles with. However, a young Jalen Rose wasn’t afraid of MJ either.
Since he grew up in Detroit, Jalen Rose hated Michael Jordan. The lefty followed the Detroit Pistons as a kid and rooted against MJ his entire career. That hate once fueled Rose to call Jordan overrated, and he dealt with the consequences of talking trash to Black Jesus.
Michael Jordan needed seven games to get past Jalen Rose and the Pacers in ’98
The Bulls and Pacers played a hard-fought series in the ’98 Eastern Conference Finals. Neither team won on the road, and every game was close except for Game 5 in Chicago.
Behind Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, the Bulls defeated the Pacers in seven games. MJ averaged 31.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 4.1 assists in the series, while Pippen put up 16.6 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 5.3 assists.
The Pacers were led in scoring by Reggie Miller, who averaged 17.4 points and hit the game-winning 3-pointer in Game 4. Meanwhile, a young Jalen Rose put up 7.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 2.2 assists.
Speaking of Rose, he had a lot of confidence going up against Jordan since he despised everything about MJ and the Bulls. The Michigan alum rooted for the Pistons as a kid and never wanted to see Jordan have success.
Talking smack to Michael Jordan is a mistake since he takes everything personally, and Jalen Rose found that out the hard way.
Jalen Rose called Michael Jordan overrated
During an interview with DJ Vlad of Vlad TV, Jalen Rose talked about how he called Michael Jordan overrated during a Bulls-Pacers game. The former Most Improved Player of the Year also mentioned how Jordan elbowed him in the back of the head and got away with it.
“He did elbow me in the head one time, I vividly remember at Market Square Arena,” Rose said. “I’m going up for a rebound, he (hits me) right in the back of the head. I know you saw that (to the ref).”
Knowing Jordan, he likely knew he was elbowing Rose since he heard the overrated quote by the Pacers guard. Nothing got past the six-time champion, and he always found a way to get the best of his opponent.
After defeating Jalen Rose and the Pacers in the ’98 conference finals, Michael Jordan and the Bulls beat the Utah Jazz in the NBA Finals to complete their second three-peat.
His Airness never lost in the Finals
Michael Jordan went 6-0 in the NBA Finals with the Bulls. He won all six Finals MVPs and prevented several Hall of Famers from winning a championship.
The Bulls defeated the LA Lakers, Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns, Seattle SuperSonics, and Jazz (twice). Jordan never played in a Game 7 in the Finals and only trailed twice in a series.
Michael Jordan finished his NBA career with averages of 30.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 5.3 assists. He’s universally recognized as the greatest player in NBA history.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.