No defender in the NBA could guard Michael Jordan during his playing career. Plenty of guys tried to stop the Chicago Bulls legend, but he always found a way to win the individual battle, even when he was 40-years-old on the Washington Wizards.
As we learned in the Last Dance docuseries, Jordan took everything personally during his legendary run with the Bulls. Whether it was the media comparing Clyde Drexler to him or Seattle SuperSonics head coach George Karl ignoring him at dinner, the five-time MVP always found something to give him the extra edge over his opponents.
In episode 6 of the Last Dance, Jordan talked about how he attacked Phoenix Suns swingman Dan Majerle in the 1993 Finals because Bulls general manager Jerry Krause liked him. However, according to NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley, there was another reason why Jordan went after Majerle.
Michael Jordan averaged 41.0 points per game in the ’93 Finals
The Bulls faced the Suns in the 1993 Finals. Phoenix had homecourt advantage in the series and the regular season MVP in Barkley. The team felt confident about their chances of dethroning the Bulls.
However, Jordan was Superman against the Suns. He was upset that Barkley won the 1992-93 MVP Award over him and went nuclear, as the 10-time scoring champion averaged 41.0 points per game.
The Bulls defeated the Suns in six games, winning all three road contests in Phoenix. Since Jordan knew that Krause liked Majerle, he made it a point to destroy the All-Star forward. The Bulls superstar didn’t like his general manager and wanted to make him look bad for liking a player who wasn’t on the team.
Although Jordan went after Majerle mostly because of his disdain for Krause, it didn’t help that Thunder Dan was white and the primary defender on him. There were always rumors that MJ felt disrespected when teams would put white defenders on him, and Barkley confirmed those murmurs years later.
Jordan didn’t like white guys guarding him
During an interview with Dan Patrick on the Dan Patrick Show once, Barkley revealed that Jordan told him he was getting pissed off because the Suns kept putting Majerle on him. When Chuck responded by saying his teammate was an All-Star, Jordan said, “Yeah, but he’s a white All-Star.”
Back in the ’90s, the stigma around white players was that they couldn’t jump or defend at a high level and were only good jump shooters. Jordan not only wanted to put on a show every single night, but he also wanted to be defended by the best players in the league.
The Bulls icon felt disrespected when opposing coaches put white players on him. That motivated Jordan even more to be a killer on the court.
MJ’s NBA résumé is mind-boggling
When you look at Jordan’s achievements, it’s mind-boggling to see how much he accomplished with the Bulls. He won six rings, six Finals MVPs, five MVPs in the regular season, 10 scoring titles, and one Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Many believe the Bulls could have won more than six titles had Jordan not briefly retired after the ’93 championship over the Suns. Still, winning six championships in an eight-year span and going undefeated in the Finals is legendary.