Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan may be the most confident and cockiest player in NBA history. Whenever the six-time champion talked trash or guaranteed something, he always backed it up with his play on the court.
During the beginning of his career when he played against the Los Angeles Lakers, Jordan was usually guarded by Byron Scott. A three-time champion, Scott enjoyed going up against Jordan since he was very competitive as well.
Due to a sprained ankle, Byron Scott didn’t play against the Bulls one game, which forced the Lakers to put Anthony Peeler on Michael Jordan. Once MJ found out that Scott wasn’t playing and Peeler would guard him, he knew he was in for a massive performance.
Michael Jordan loved playing against the Lakers
Michael Jordan loved playing against the Lakers since they are one of the most historic franchises in NBA history. The six-time Finals MVP faced the Purple and Gold 26 times during his legendary career and averaged 28.9 points per game.
The Bulls and Lakers faced off in the 1991 NBA Finals. The series had a lot of star power, but the biggest matchup was Jordan versus Magic Johnson. LA won Game 1 in Chicago by a final score of 93-91, and it appeared Johnson was on his way to winning his sixth title.
However, Jordan and the Bulls made the necessary adjustments after losing Game 1 and won four games in a row to win the championship. MJ averaged 31.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 11.4 assists and won Finals MVP.
Michael Jordan and Byron Scott were friends. Before the Bulls and Lakers played, the two would catch up after shootaround. During one game in LA, Jordan went up to an injured Scott and asked who would guard him. When the Lakers guard said Anthony Peeler, His Airness laughed and said, “50.”
Michael Jordan scored 54 points after telling Byron Scott he would get 50
Michael Jordan told Byron Scott he would easily score 50 points against Anthony Peeler and the Lakers. In typical MJ fashion, the five-time MVP went off for 54.
Scott told this classic Jordan story in April 2020 during an interview with Dan Patrick on the Dan Patrick Show.
“They’re getting off the bus, we’re done with shootaround, and we’re walking out, and MJ says, ‘B-Scott, what’s going on? I hear you’re not playing tonight. Who’s guarding me?’ I said, ‘Anthony Peeler.’ He ended up with 54.”
Michael Jordan knew he was the best player in the world and that no one could stop him. As soon as the 10-time scoring champion heard that Byron Scott was out and Anthony Peeler would guard him, he set himself up mentally for a big night.
MJ played every game like it was his last
Michael Jordan never cheated the game of basketball. He played every game like it was his last because he knew some kid in the crowd had never seen him play before and was expecting a show.
Jordan played through countless injuries and had one of the best games of his career in the Finals after getting food poisoning. Nothing could stop the Bulls icon from playing the game he loved at the highest level.
Michael Jordan played all 82 games six times during his career. There was no load management for the 14-time All-Star, who led the NBA in minutes per game two times.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.