Win percentage: 87.5 percent (7-1)
Stats: 29.5 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 4.9 apg, 1.9 spg, 48.2 FG%
Jordan saw the Atlanta Hawks eight total times in the playoffs, with three of those games coming in the first round of the 1993 playoffs and the other five occurring in 1997. The Bulls went 7-1 in that stretch, as the first-round matchup was a sweep for Chicago in which they outscored Atlanta by 49 total points and the second-round matchup in ’97 was a 4-1 victory for the Bulls.
The second series did contain some drama, as the Hawks took home-court advantage away from Chicago after winning Game 2 at the Bulls’ house 103-95 behind 53 combined points from Mookie Blaylock and Steve Smith, and a 19-point, 15-rebound, 2-block performance courtesy of Dikembe Mutombo. Atlanta held Jordan to just 27 points on 29 field-goal attempts that night, too. Regardless, the Bulls took back control of the series in Game 3 by winning in Atlanta by a 20-point margin, going on to win the series two games later.
LOS ANGELES LAKERS
Win percentage: 80.0 percent (4-1)
Stats: 31.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 11.4 rpg, 2.8 spg, 55.8 FG%
The Bulls only faced off with the Los Angeles Lakers once during Jordan’s time there, but it just so happened to take place on the biggest state in basketball, in the 1991 NBA Finals.
A series that saw Jordan and running partner Scottie Pippen match up against five-time champion Magic Johnson and fellow Hall-of-Famer James Worthy had all the makings of an all-time classic, especially following Game 1. That night, L.A. took home court from the Bulls by winning in Chicago thanks to a clutch Sam Perkins triple with 14 seconds remaining, when the Lakers were down by 2 (assisted by Magic, because of course, it was). Jordan actually got a great look at a potential game-winning bucket with under seven seconds remaining, but his pull-up mid-range jumper trickled in and out of the rim, leading to a 93-91 win for Los Angeles.
However, the rest of the series was pretty anti-climatic, as the Bulls won the next four games by a combined 51 points behind typical M.J. brilliance. For the five-game matchup, Jordan averaged 31.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, 11.4 assists and 2.8 steals, earning the first of his six Finals MVP awards for his efforts.
Win percentage: 80.0 percent (8-2)
Stats: 38.2 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 7.6 apg, 2.9 spg, 52.1 FG%
Meanwhile, Jordan and the Bulls saw the Philadephia 76ers 10 total times while the explosive shooting guard was there, winning eight of the contests and dropping just two (by a combined eight total points).
People may remember Jordan’s playoff battles with Charles Barkley from the 1993 NBA Finals, but many don’t remember that Jordan actually saw the Hall-of-Fame power forward two separate series before that, both when Barkley was still a Sixer. Chicago and Philadelphia faced each other back-to-back years in 1990 and 1991, with both matchups taking place in the second round.
Jordan was absolutely spectacular in his matchups with the 76ers, but Barkley was great in his own right too, putting up 23.8 points, 17.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists in the 1990 series against Chicago and 25.6 points, 10.2 rebounds and 5.4 assists the following year. However, without much help, Barkley had little chance against Jordan.