In NBA Entertainment’s Michael Jordan’s Playground, Danny Ainge paid incredible homage to Jordan by saying the two-time Slam Dunk champion had no weaknesses.
Danny Ainge: Michael Jordan has no weaknesses
Michael Jordan’s Playground came out in 1990. Jordan hadn’t won a title yet, but that didn’t stop Ainge from calling him a complete player for the Bulls.
“He can do so many things,” Ainge said. “He’s a player in the league, probably the only player in the league I can think of that just has no weaknesses.”
Jordan scored 63 points on Ainge and the Boston Celtics in the 1986 playoffs, the most points in a postseason game. Even though the Celtics swept the Bulls, MJ put the league on notice that he was the best scorer in the game. From there, Black Jesus worked on his defense and passing since he knew scoring couldn’t be the only thing he was elite at.
Two years later, Jordan had arguably the best individual season in NBA history.
Michael Jordan was beyond belief in 1987-88
The Bulls didn’t win the championship in 1987-88. However, Jordan had a season for the ages. He won the scoring title and steals title and was named MVP and Defensive Player of the Year. The All-Star averaged 35.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and 3.2 steals and played in all 82 regular-season games. Superman shot 53.5% from the field and 84.1% from the free-throw line.
Thanks to Hall of Famer Larry Bird, Ainge — who won two championships with the Celtics — got the best of Jordan in the 1986 and 1987 playoffs. However, His Airness got his revenge on the Oregon native in 1992 and 1993 on the NBA’s biggest stage.
Danny Ainge lost to MJ in back-to-back Finals
Jordan averaged 35.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 6.5 assists against the Blazers. The 10-time scoring champion followed that up by averaging 41.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 6.3 assists versus the Suns. Even though Jordan and Ainge were friends and played golf together, they got into a mini scuffle during the 1993 Finals at Chicago Stadium in Game 4.
When he retired for the final time in 2003, Jordan left the NBA as the all-time leader in points per game and player efficiency rating. He won six championships, six Finals MVPs, and five regular-season MVPs and never lost in the Finals.
It takes a lot for a competitor like Ainge to say another player has no weaknesses, but Jordan proved time and time again that he was a flawless basketball player who could dominate games on both ends of the floor.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference