During his legendary run with the Chicago Bulls, Michael Jordan did several things on the basketball court that made players, coaches, fans, and even referees shake their heads in disbelief. Seemingly every time Jordan played, he did something no one had seen before.
While closing out a game against the Atlanta Hawks one year, Jordan stunned a TV commentator by doing an act at the free-throw line that was unheard of. The Hawks’ play-by-play guy was so shocked by what he saw the Bulls superstar do that he couldn’t hold back his astounded tone.
Michael Jordan shot a free-throw left-handed
Jordan is right-handed. However, he was so cocky that he shot a free-throw left-handed against the Hawks one game, proving how confident and bold he was. The five-time MVP swished the foul shot, and the play-by-play commentator for the Hawks was lost for words.
“Is he gonna shoot this left-handed? Yes, he is,” the commentator said. “Oh my goodness. Did you see how he shot that? Just a little salt in the wound.”
Several Bulls fans remember Jordan shooting a free-throw with his eyes closed against the Denver Nuggets one year. Dikembe Mutombo was talking trash to His Airness, and Jordan responded by closing his eyes and swishing a free-throw.
A case can be made that Jordan is the most confident player in NBA history. There are several examples of the 10-time scoring champion backing up his big mouth with spectacular performances and doing things other stars couldn’t fathom accomplishing.
Best Michael Jordan cocky moments
There are so many superb Jordan cocky stories that it’s impossible to detail all of them. However, a few stand out more than others.
During the 1992-93 season, Jordan led the league in scoring and shot 49.5% from the field. However, during a March game against the Washington Bullets at the Chicago Stadium, MJ was outscored by LaBradford Smith and only shot 9-of-27 from the field. Even though the Bulls won, Smith scored 37 points and allegedly told Jordan “nice game” after outplaying him.
Chicago and Washington played the next night in the nation’s capital, and Jordan told his Bulls teammates on the plane that he would score 37 points in the first half. The Bulls guard attacked Smith each possession on both sides of the ball and scored 36 points in the first half and 47 for the entire game. Smith certainly learned his lesson not to gloat around Jordan ever again.
Another lofty Jordan story is when the UNC product walked into the Hawks’ locker room and told Randy Wittman, “Lace ’em up, it’s gonna be a long night.” Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins couldn’t believe what Jordan did in that game. The Hawks beat the Bulls, but Jordan scored 60 points and showed Atlanta he was the best scorer in the NBA.
Anyone can be cocky. However, not many players can back up their words with marvelous play on the hardwood. That’s what separated Jordan from the rest of his peers and made him arguably the greatest player in NBA history.
MJ is first in NBA history in PPG and PER
Being a great scorer is one thing, but to be an all-time efficient scorer is very hard to do. That’s why it’s incredible that Jordan is the all-time leader in points per game and player efficiency rating. He averaged 30.1 points with the Bulls and Washington Wizards while registering a PER of 27.9.
Anyone can take a ton of shots and score a lot of points. However, Jordan not only led the NBA in scoring 10 times, but he also shot over 50.0% from the field six different seasons. That’s extremely difficult to do from the shooting guard position since most of Jordan’s shots were jumpers.
We may never see another player shoot a free-throw with their opposite hand at the charity stripe ever again like Jordan did against the Hawks. He indeed had unlimited confidence in his basketball ability and was never afraid to show off.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.