When the Chicago Bulls drafted Michael Jordan with the third overall pick in the 1984 NBA Draft, no one alive thought the UNC product would become what he ultimately became. NBA experts and even some players in the league didn’t believe one guy could come in and turn an organization around by himself.
While Jordan never made it out of the first round of the playoffs or won a championship without Scottie Pippen, he was the catalyst for the turnaround in Chicago. Before MJ got drafted by the Bulls, the team was one of the worst squads in the NBA and didn’t make the playoffs from 1981-82 to 1983-84.
Jordan not only turned the Bulls into a hallmark franchise, but he also made one of the best players in NBA history look like an absolute fool.
Michael Jordan made Walt Frazier look foolish
After the Bulls drafted Jordan, seven-time All-Star and two-time champion Walt Frazier said, “Michael gotta realize he’s not seven-foot, so he’s not gonna carry a team.” The New York Knicks legend’s final season in the NBA was in 1979-80 with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but he had heard about Jordan and his prolific skills since he was a basketball fanatic.
Jordan made an immediate impact on the Bulls. He won the 1984-85 Rookie of the Year by averaging 28.2 points and guiding them to the playoffs. Frazier stated Jordan wouldn’t be able to carry a team in the NBA, and His Airness did precisely that. The Bulls never missed the playoffs during the Jordan era and turned into one of the top dynasties in sports history during the ’90s.
Chicago was a joke of a franchise before Jordan got there. It turned into a championship-level organization after getting Black Jesus, and the superstar shooting guard was the match that started the whole fire.
Michael Jordan led the Bulls to six titles
When the Bulls drafted Jordan, no one thought he would lead the franchise to six championships. However, that’s exactly what he did. During an eight-year span, Chicago won six titles, three-peating twice and never losing in the Finals. Jordan won all six Finals MVPs and prevented several Hall of Famers from winning rings.
Along with team success, Jordan enjoyed tremendous individual success. He won 10 scoring titles, five regular-season MVPs, and one Defensive Player of the Year Award, and he made 14 All-Star teams. Jordan is arguably the best scorer in NBA history. He’s first all-time in points per game and player efficiency rating and still holds the record for most points in a playoff game with 63.
While we can’t blame Frazier for saying that Jordan wouldn’t carry the Bulls since it was a reach to say he would turn into the GOAT before he played in an NBA game, Air Jordan still made Clyde look mindless. Also, don’t be surprised if Mike heard Frazier’s comments. After all, as we learned in The Last Dance, Jordan took everything personally.
Everything was personal for MJ
Jordan may be the most competitive athlete in sports history. Even the slightest jab toward him was deep, and he took everything personally.
From attacking Clyde Drexler in the 1992 Finals because pundits compared the Portland Trail Blazers guard to him, to destroying the Seattle SuperSonics in the 1996 Finals after George Karl didn’t say hello to him at dinner, Jordan always did whatever it took to get an edge over this opponent and get to the mental place he needed to be in to become an assassin.
Jordan never faced Frazier in the NBA. However, we can only imagine how aggressive he would have been against the Knicks great considering his history of going after players who talked negatively about him in any capacity.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.