NB85-17: Michael Jordan’s rookie NBA season – Bulls at Knicks (Jan 5) / January 24 through February 7, 1985 | Podcast

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Aerial Jordan

Adam & Aaron celebrate the 30th anniversary of Michael Jordan‘s (1984) arrival in the National Basketball Association. This episode covers:

 

* Chicago at New York – January 5, 1985

* NBA regular season – January 24 through February 7, 1985

* Insightful minutiae, all but lost to the annals of basketball history

 

In this episode, we break down the thirty-fourth game of MJ’s professional career. We were fortunate to have access to the game DVD, giving us plenty of topics and moments to talk about. The Bulls were hoping to remain above .500 for the season, whilst the Knicks – losers of eight of their last nine games – had dropped six straight. Bernard King entered the game averaging 40 points a contest, in his past five outings.

Next, we discuss numerous happenings from the next 15-day block of the 1984-85 NBA season. The Chicago Bulls played seven games in this span – three wins and four losses.

We chat about one of the most unusual personnel moves of the era. The Atlanta Hawks – without three of their guards – were forced to activate one of their TV commentators to the playing roster! We also talk about the NBA’s best-performing players – including Larry Bird‘s back-to-back buzzer-beaters – milestones reached and much more.

This episode continues our coverage of the 1984-85 NBA season. We encourage your interaction. Feel free to suggest specific games, moments and events from within the season, for us to cover in future episodes of the series. Thanks for taking the time to listen to the show. If you enjoy the content, please share it with your friends!

The most prominent players mentioned in this episode, include: Michael Jordan, Mark Aguirre, Moses Malone, Isiah Thomas, Terry Cummings, Dominique Wilkins, Pat Cummings & Tom McMillen.

 

Chicago Bulls games discussed:

 

Box Score: Jan 25, 1985 – Seattle SuperSonics @ Chicago Bulls

Box Score: Jan 26, 1985 – Atlanta Hawks @ Chicago Bulls

Box Score: Jan 29, 1985 – Kansas City Kings @ Chicago Bulls

Box Score: Jan 30, 1985 – Chicago Bulls @ Washington Bullets

Box Score: Feb 1, 1985 – Chicago Bulls @ Philadelphia 76ers

Box Score: Feb 5, 1985 – Boston Celtics @ Chicago Bulls

Box Score: Feb 7, 1985 – Chicago Bulls @ Cleveland Cavaliers

 

Feb 7, 1985 – Bird is sold on Jordan, NBA’s future

Feb 7, 1985 - Chicago Tribune

Feb 7, 1985 - Chicago Tribune

 

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Top 5: Favorite Jordan-era NBA guards

Mitch Richmond

It’s important to distinguish, these are my favorite players – clearly, subjective. A host of past players resonate with me for many reasons; a select moment in time, a well-played, yet under-appreciated career, or merely happenstance.

In no particular order, here are my favorite guards of the Jordan-era [obviously MJ-excluded; must have played at least 4 seasons against MJ’s Bulls]:

Lafayette Lever (1983-1994) | Player profile

Notable: 2-time All-Star (1988, 1990) | 6th all-time, steals per game

Opinion: criminally underrated player, deserving of much higher recognition. He had a stunning six season span (1985-1990) averaging 17.0 pts, 7.6 rbs, 7.5 ast and 2.5 stl per game. Oh, and he’s only 6’3″.

Kevin Johnson (1988-2000) | Player profile

Notable: 3-time All-Star (1990-1991, 1994) | 6th all-time, assists per game

Opinion: an outstanding player, mere percentage points from averaging 20 pts / 10 ast for nine consecutive seasons (1989-1997). I loved his exuberant celebrations on court, plus his fearless penetration in the lane. This resulted in assists to open team mates, or an attack on the rim.

Here, KJ gives The Dream, his own night-Mayor (see what I did there?):

Rex Chapman (1989-2000) | Player profile

Notable: UK (Wildcats) standout, turned pro as a sophomore | Flair for the dramatic

Opinion: an acrobatic and entertaining player, confident in his ability. He has career averages of almost 15 pts / 3 rbs / 3 ast / 1 stl, in under 30 minutes per game. Rex could light up a scoreboard, had a sweet shooting stroke and was a maestro of dunk. I even had his photo on my high school diary (too much information?)

John Starks (1989-2002) | Player profile

Notable: All-Defensive (2nd) Team (1993) | All-Star (1994) | Sixth Man of the Year (1997)

Opinion: whilst never beating Jordan in the Playoffs, Starks is a first-ballot nominee, for the role of MJ’s nemesis. I admired his tenacity, in-your-face style of play and all out hustle. Plus, John’s road to the NBA is a fascinating tale in itself.

Mitch Richmond (1989-2002) | Player profile

Notable: Rookie of the Year (1989) | 6-time All-Star (1993-1998) | NBA Champion (2002)

Opinion: part of the famed ‘Run TMC’ [part 1 / part 2] at Golden State. He was All-Star MVP in 1995 and Sacramento’s franchise player for seven seasons (1992-1998), averaging 23.3 pts, 3.7 rbs, 4.1 ast and 1.3 stl per game. A consummate professional, lauded as MJ’s toughest defender, by none other than Jordan himself.

Honorable mentions:

Daron Blaylock (Hawks), Kevin Gamble (Celtics) Tyrone Bogues (Hornets), B.J. Armstrong (Bulls), Craig Ehlo | Mark Price (Cavaliers), Jay Humphries | Ricky PierceAlvin Robertson (Bucks), Mark Jackson | Trent Tucker (Knicks), Anfernee Hardaway (Magic), Hersey Hawkins (76ers), Rod Strickland (Bullets).

Tim Hardaway (Warriors), Vernon Maxwell (Rockets), Ron Harper (Clippers) Sedale Threatt | Nick Van Exel (Lakers), Jerome Richardson | Tony Campbell (Timberwolves), Terry Porter (Trail Blazers), Gary Payton (SuperSonics).

Obvious omissions: clearly, the following players are all-time greats at their position. They didn’t make the cut as they’re not my favorites of the era – due to team/s played for or rivalries against MJ’s Bulls – imagined or otherwise…

Isiah Thomas (Pistons), Reggie Miller (Pacers).

Earvin Johnson (Lakers), Jason Kidd (Suns), Clyde Drexler (Trail Blazers), John Stockton (Jazz).

Did I miss anyone? Comments welcome. Who are your favorite Jordan-era guards?