Despite loving MSG, though, Jordan never had interest in signing with the Knicks.
Michael Jordan on playing for Knicks: Nah, that’s all right
Jordan was an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 1997 after winning his fifth championship with the Bulls. When SLAM Magazine writers Tony Gervino and Russ Bengtson asked him if he wanted to sign with the Knicks so he could play at Madison Square Garden 41 times a year, MJ gave a savage response.
“Nah, that’s all right,” Jordan said. “You guys got to do it on your own.”
Jordan re-signed with the Bulls on a one-year, $33.1 million deal before the 1997-98 season. Even though it would have been extraordinary to watch His Airness play with Patrick Ewing and call MSG home, the superstar shooting guard remained loyal to Chicago.
There were several stadiums Jordan enjoyed playing in. However, nothing came close to Madison Square Garden, an arena the 10-time scoring champion dominated in.
Michael Jordan on why he loved playing at MSG: This is where you come see the best basketball played
Jordan told SLAM Magazine in 1997 that he cherished playing at Madison Square Garden because of the bright lights and fans.
“Yeah, I love it ’cause the history. Everybody knows about basketball in New York City, and this is where you come see the best basketball played,” Jordan said. “That’s what Madison Square Garden has always meant to me, and they’re very loyal to their fans, yet they’re very honorable about good basketball. Every time I put up a big game in New York, it’s paying tribute to the respect they pay me. There’s some people that don’t want to see me come there, but tough shit.”
On March 28, 1995, Jordan scored 55 points at MSG while wearing No. 45. The contest is famously called the “Double Nickel” game.
Jordan seemingly always put on a show at Madison Square Garden. While everyone regularly talks about the 55-point game — and rightfully so — his final game in New York was pretty spectacular as well.
MJ scored 39 points at the age of 40
Jordan’s two years with the Washington Wizards were disappointing since he missed the playoffs both seasons. However, he turned back the clock a few times in 2001-02 and 2002-03.
In his final game at MSG on March 9, 2003, Jordan scored 39 points at the age of 40. The second-leading scorer for the Wizards was Larry Hughes, who only had 13. It was fascinating to watch an old Jordan carry Washington and almost lead the team to a road victory against New York.
During his legendary run with the Bulls, Jordan never lost to the Knicks in the playoffs. Even though he was close friends with Ewing, Black Jesus likely loved the fact that he prevented the big man from winning a championship.