There have only been a select few times when someone managed to get the best of Michael Jordan. Despite the fact that most NBA fans are aware of his feud with Isiah Thomas. However, there was a time when Jordan was defending the legendary Magic Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers and got mocked on live television.
Notably, when Johnson first entered the NBA, he was regarded as a unicorn. Johnson, a 6’9″ point guard with exceptional court vision, could arguably score, defend, and rebound better than any other player in the league.
Then Michael Jordan arrived. A 6’6″ shooting guard who spent the majority of his tenure with the Chicago Bulls as both the team’s greatest offensive and defensive player. Jordan faced the taller Magic Johnson on defence, but this put him at a disadvantage.
Michael Jordan was once roasted on live TV
And that appeared to be the case when the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers faced off in the 1991 NBA Finals. As the team’s top defender, Michael Jordan was given the task of guarding Magic Johnson.
Due to the amount of work he had to do on both sides of the floor, MJ appeared to be exhausted. It cost him during their first game to score a lot of points for the team and to defend Magic Johnson.
And when discussing Jordan and his performance, the broadcasters did not hold back.
“Mark, no question, Michael Jordan was ready for game one, exploding for 15 points in the first quarter. But the problem we anticipated was how much work and energy would be used eventually surfaced,” he said.
“At the defensive end, the assignment of guarding Magic Johnson requires bumps, physicalness to slow him down, giving up inches and pounds. So much so that, during the third quarter, Michael asked for a break, and tried to regroup. In the fourth quarter, saddled with five personal fouls, thanks to the guarding of Magic Johnson, the big shot came up short,” he added.
Jordan and the Bulls had the last laugh
Both on offense and defense, Jordan depended on his physical prowess and quickness. Johnson, though, made use of his bulk to his advantage. Additionally, Johnson’s ability to draw so much defensive attention from opposing teams’ offense contributed to his skill as a ball feeder.
Los Angeles Lakers won the contest 93-91, barely holding onto the victory. Jordan missed the game-tying shot, or the “big shot,” as the announcers called it, which cost the Bulls the chance to tie the score. But the Chicago Bulls came back with a vengeance and won the following four games in a row to claim their first NBA championship; the Los Angeles Lakers only managed to win one game.