The 1992-93 NBA season was a successful one for Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. Phil Jackson‘s group went 57-25 in the regular season, and they defeated the Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers, and New York Knicks in the Eastern Conference playoffs to advance to their third consecutive Finals, where they faced Charles Barkley and the Phoenix Suns.
Jordan led the NBA in scoring to capture his seventh straight scoring title. Although he lost the MVP to Barkley, he wound up getting the last laugh in the Finals against his pal.
However, Jordan was the butt of the joke on November 20, 1992, against the Los Angeles Lakers after humiliating himself. Jackson made him talk about the embarrassing moment two days later on national television to make matters even funnier.
Michael Jordan averaged 32.6 points in 1992-93
Jordan played in 78 games during the 1992-93 regular season. He averaged 32.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 2.8 steals while shooting 49.5% from the field, 35.2% from beyond the arc, and 83.7% from the free-throw line. Not only did he lead the NBA in scoring, but he was also first in steals per game.
The Bulls finished with the third-best record in the NBA. Jordan scored over 50 points four times, including a 64-point game against the Orlando Magic. He also registered 17 double-doubles and four triple-doubles.
Jordan rarely had moments where you could laugh at him since he was the best basketball player in the world and a global icon. However, on November 20, 1992, against the Lakers, he humiliated himself.
Michael Jordan lost the ball on a breakaway dunk attempt
Against the Lakers, Jordan dropped 54 points on 21-of-39 shooting from the field. However, the Bulls lost by two points.
Jordan had the Lakers crowd oohing and aahing all night with his scoring prowess except on one play where he lost the ball on a breakaway dunk attempt. When the ball went out of bounds, the LA crowd cheered at Jordan’s mistake and loved every second of it.
That error proved to be costly since the Bulls lost by two points. If Jordan had finished the play with a dunk, there’s a chance Chicago either takes the game into overtime or wins in regulation.
In classic Jordan fashion, he made it a point to make up for his blunder in the Bulls’ next game against the Suns on November 22. He scored 40 points in Chicago’s 128-111 victory over Phoenix. The two teams met again in the Finals later that season, with MJ and Co. winning the series in six games.
Jackson and Jordan had a strong relationship. They won six championships together in an eight-year span and are universally recognized as the best coach-player duo in NBA history. Due to their rapport, Jackson could tease Jordan from time to time, and he made sure to bring up the superstar’s gaffe against the Lakers on live television.
Phil Jackson made MJ talk about his error
Before the Bulls faced the Suns following their loss to LA, Jordan and Jackson sat down with Dan Roan for a pregame chat. During the discussion, Jackson asked Jordan about his slip-up versus the Lakers on the breakaway, and the shooting guard couldn’t help but laugh at himself.
“I was thinking too much,” Jordan said. “In my mind, I think I was gonna throw it off the backboard as I did in Miami, and I just got so damn anxious with the ball. I just couldn’t grab it, and I kept trying to grab it, and next thing you know, it’s gone. It was really embarrassing, but everybody makes mistakes.”
This is the type of relationship every star player and coach should have. Even though Jordan was the biggest superstar in the NBA, he had no problem being humbled by his head coach.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.