Michael Jordan dominated the 1990s, leading the Chicago Bulls to tremendous championship success that cemented his legacy. During this time, Jordan routinely overpowered opposing players on a nightly basis. It also featured him shamelessly embarrass Ray Allen in his rookie season.
Michael Jordan’s illustrious NBA career
Jordan played 15 NBA seasons and established himself as arguably the greatest player in league history.
The former Bulls great accomplished it all while earning numerous accolades and achieving sustained success. He won six NBA titles and six NBA Finals MVPs, earned five regular-season MVP awards and a Defensive Player of the Year award, and was selected to 14 All-Star Games and 10 All-NBA First Teams.
Jordan truly found his footing in the 1990s as he garnered the reputation of being an all-time great. During his second championship three-peat, he found a way to embarrass a rookie Ray Allen.
Michael Jordan ruthlessly blasted Ray Allen in front of his coach: ‘He’s actually doing a good job’
Allen entered the league in the 1996-97 season as the fifth overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft. It created the unique opportunity to face Jordan as he led the Bulls toward securing a second straight championship in the second three-peat.
In his rookie campaign, the UConn product received an early lesson from the star guard in one of his first matchups against him. During an interview on The Dan Patrick Show, Allen recalled Jordan bashing him in front of then-Milwaukee Bucks head coach Chris Ford.
“He actually killed me slowly,” Allen said. “I remember Chris Ford he’s yelling the whole time, ‘Rookie get in front of him! Get in front of him!’ I am fronting him on the post and MJ is slowly gliding across the floor. He gets the ball, shakes, and scores. I did everything the game plan said.
“There’s a break in the action, and I’m sitting there, and Chris Ford is hammering me. MJ is just like, ‘He’s doing a great job coach. He’s actually doing a great job.’ Meanwhile, he’s got 45 in the books.”
Jordan actually scored 40 points in that Dec 3, 1996 meeting, but it doesn’t diminish his stellar outing against the young promising talent. Allen finished with eight points on 3-of-9 shooting over 29 minutes played in the 107-104 loss. It was an embarrassing moment, but he doesn’t believe the former Bulls great cared who guarded him that night.
“I honestly believe he thinks that anybody could stop him,” Allen said. “He could score whenever he wanted to score. Wherever he wanted to score, so it didn’t matter what I did on the floor. He’s going to get his touches and points.”
Michael Jordan guided the Bulls to a fifth NBA title
Allen’s story serves as another example of the tremendous confidence Jordan possessed.
The former Bulls great believed he could get the best of any opponent as his work ethic and talent guided him to tremendous success. At that point, Jordan was only a few months removed from leading Chicago to a fourth NBA title behind a then-NBA-record 72-win regular season.
The 1996-97 campaign featured the Bulls finishing with a 69-13 record while moving through the Eastern Conference playoffs with ease behind an 11-3 record. Jordan capped it off in the Finals by averaging 32.3 points on 45.6% shooting from the floor against the Utah Jazz to capture his fifth championship and Finals MVP award.
Jordan’s mindset that season was on the grander picture, and a matchup against a rookie out of UConn was the least of his concerns.