Michael Jordan thought March 8, 1998, would be the last time he’d face the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden since Chicago Bulls general manager Jerry Krause was breaking up the team after the 1997-98 season. So, he went into his closet and grabbed his old pair of Jordan 1s, the first shoe he ever wore at MSG.
Not only did Jordan destroy the Knicks on the basketball court as he routinely did during his legendary career while wearing his first signature shoe, but he also savagely trash-talked Patrick Ewing in the postgame locker room.
Michael Jordan scored 42 points while wearing old shoes
Jordan put up 42 points, eight rebounds, six assists, and three steals in the Bulls’ 102-89 win at MSG. He shot 17-of-33 from the field and 7-of-9 from the free-throw line in 43 minutes of action.
What’s remarkable about this performance from Jordan is that he did it while his feet were bleeding. The shoes he wore were from 1984, so they didn’t have the best cushion. Despite being in pain, His Airness kept the shoes on since he was having a great game.
“By halftime, my feet are bleeding,” Jordan said in Episode 5 of The Last Dance docuseries. But I’m having a good game. I don’t wanna take ’em off. I couldn’t take those shoes off fast enough (after the game ended), and when I took the shoes off, my sock was soaked in blood.”
Jordan received immediate treatment on his feet once he got back into the Bulls locker room. Ewing, who was inactive during the game due to injury, stopped by to say hello to his friend, and in typical MJ fashion, the Bulls legend talked trash to his pal.
Michael Jordan trolled Patrick Ewing
When Ewing came to the Bulls locker room to chat with Jordan, the Bulls superstar hilariously told the Knicks center, “I had to go back to all the way to ’84 to whip y’all ass.” Jordan was speaking about how he demolished New York while wearing his shoes from 1984.
Jordan averaged 31.8 points against the Knicks on the road in his career. He called New York the mecca of basketball several times and enjoyed putting on a show for the Garden crowd every time he played in the Big Apple.
Following his sixth championship in 1998, Jordan retired from the NBA for a second time. However, he came out of retirement in 2001 to play with the Washington Wizards, and it just so happened that Washington’s first game of the 2001-02 season was against the Knicks at MSG.
Jordan scored 19 points on October 30, 2001, versus the Knicks, a game New York won by two. It was a pedestrian outing by the five-time MVP, but he made sure he went out with a bang in his final game at the world’s most famous arena in 2003.
MJ dropped 39 points in last game at MSG
In his final game at MSG, Jordan turned back the clock at the age of 40. He scored 39 points while shooting an efficient 13-of-22 from the field and 13-of-15 from the charity stripe.
However, the Wizards lost by one point, and Jordan wasn’t happy with how his teammates played.
“It’s very disappointing when a 40-year-man has more desire than a 24-, 25-, or 23-year old, diving for loose balls, busting his chin and doing everything he can to get his team into the playoffs, and it’s not reciprocated from the other players on the team,” Jordan said. “Until guys let go of that macho, cool attitude and do the necessary things that it takes to play the game of basketball, it’s going to be tough for Washington to make anything.”
Jordan missed the playoffs both seasons he played in Washington. It certainly irked him since he never missed the postseason during his iconic run with the Bulls. The six-time champion didn’t talk about his Wizards stint at all in The Last Dance docuseries, and it’s not surprising since it went poorly from a team standpoint.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.