Michael Jordan played in 13 All-Star games and was named MVP three times during his Hall of Fame career. The Chicago Bulls legend was a 14-time All-Star, but he didn’t play in the 1986 All-Star Game since he was recovering from his broken foot.
In the 1988 All-Star Game, Jordan poured in 40 points, good for the sixth-most points ever scored in an All-Star Game. Although that was Jordan’s highest-scoring outing in an All-Star Game, Chicago sports historian Jack M Silverstein reminds us that it wasn’t his most complete game.
Michael Jordan recorded NBA’s first All-Star Game triple-double
During the 1997 All-Star Game in Cleveland, Ohio, Jordan made NBA history by recording the first triple-double in an All-Star Game. He finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists in 26 minutes to help the East defeat the West by a final score of 132-120.
Jordan only shot 5-of-14 from the field. However, he was still able to make history by notching the triple-double, proving there is no such thing as a “bad” MJ game. Despite registering a triple-double, Jordan didn’t win MVP. Glen Rice, who scored 26 points off the bench, took home the award.
His Airness is one of four players in NBA history to rack up a triple-double in an All-Star Game. The other three will join Jordan in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame one day.
Who else besides Michael Jordan has recorded a triple-double in an All-Star Game?
Jordan, Kevin Durant, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James are the only players to get a triple-double in an All-Star Game. LeBron did it in 2011, Wade got his in 2012, and Durant joined the crew in 2017.
Jordan may have been the first player to record a triple-double in an All-Star Game, but LeBron, Durant, and Wade finished with better numbers. LeBron had 29 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists, Wade had 24 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists, and Durant had 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists.
After the 1997 All-Star Game, Jordan continued on his quest to lead the Bulls to their fifth championship. He finished the 1996-97 season by winning his ninth scoring title with a scoring average of 29.6. Chicago defeated the Washington Bullets, Atlanta Hawks, and Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference playoffs to advance to the NBA Finals.
Jordan and the Bulls faced the Utah Jazz in the 1997 Finals, and Superman admitted in ESPN’s The Last Dance docuseries that Karl Malone motivated him to win the championship.
Karl Malone won 1996-97 MVP
Malone beat Jordan in the 1996-97 MVP voting. The Jazz star received 63 first-place votes, while Air Jordan got 52. Jordan talked about losing the MVP to Malone in Episode 8 of The Last Dance.
“Karl Malone getting MVP,” Jordan said when he was asked what the biggest motivating factor was for him heading into the 1997 Finals. “I’m not saying he wasn’t deserving of it. All I’m saying is that fueled the fire in me. I said, ‘OK, you think he’s the MVP? OK, fine. No problem.'”
Malone averaged 27.4 points and 9.9 rebounds for the Jazz in 1996-97. Meanwhile, Jordan put up 29.6 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game for the Bulls. The voters may have given Malone more first-place votes since Jordan won MVP in 1995-96.
The 1997 Finals went six games, with the Bulls winning the series. Jordan averaged 32.3 points en route to winning his fifth Finals MVP. He scored 38 points in Game 5 despite dealing with food poisoning.
1997 was a good year for Jordan. He not only made history by recording the first All-Star Game triple-double, but he also captured his fifth title and fifth Finals MVP.