A Dish Served Cold: Michael Jordan’s 10 Most Memorable Revenge Games

By 05.31.11

Words By David D. & Justin Tinsley

Thank God Scottie Pippen is an idiot. Thanks to Scottie’s stupidity (which was clearly a result of the concussion he suffered at the hands of a gang of midgets) which led him to call LeBron better than Michael, we’ve started reminiscing on just how spectacular Jordan’s career was. Arguably the most extraordinary parts of his run were the games when somebody was dumb enough to piss in MJ’s Corn Flakes, causing him to go completely off on the court. Isiah Thomas, Jeff Van Gundy and the whole city of Cleveland are just a few that felt Jordan’s wrath.

Click further for the complete list of victims.

Photo: Getty

Jordan’s 10 Most Memorable Revenge Games

The Freeze Out Game (1985) — In case you didn’t know: Isiah Thomas is a Grade-A asshat. When MJ was a rookie, people were already saying he had the potential to be the best ever. His popularity already landed him on the All-Star squad as a starter in his rookie year. Allegedly, Thomas came up with a scheme to keep the ball out of Jordan’s hands. Though Jordan has maintained that he didn’t notice there being a freeze out, he came out against the Pistons the next time they played and torched the Motor City for 49 points, five assists and 15 rebounds for an overtime win.

Whether revenge was on Michael’s mind or not, his performance was the first in a long line of “get back” games.

Jordan’s 10 Most Memorable Revenge Games

The Cleveland Fans Asked For It Game (1990) — Here’s two things a person looking back in time would need to know about the 1990 Michael Jordan. One, he had yet to fully trust his teammates. Two, he was the most gifted athlete in the NBA. Take into consideration these two aspects and Cleveland Cavalier fans cheering when he tweaked his wrist on a fall and what we have is a candidate for greatest individual performance ever. On 23/37 field goals, Jordan ended the contest with 69 points, 18 rebounds, six assists, four steals and a block for good measure.

By this time, the rivalry between Cleveland and Chi-town was already buried with this game equating to Mike pissing on the grave.

Jordan’s 10 Most Memorable Revenge Games

The Bye-Bye Bad Boys Series (1991) — This wasn’t brought on by any one action, rather years of pure, made-for-TV hatred. For those who forgot or just have no clue, the Pistons hated Michael Jordan’s Bulls and Michael Jordan hated Detroit with every fiber of his being. They were the team to send him packing year after year including a seven game defeat the season before. The Bad Boys used every trick in the book (Bill Laimbeer used to grab players at their pressure points to deaden their arms) and even implemented the now infamous “Jordan rules” – something Chicago saw as legalized assault on Jordan every time he attacked the basket.

Well, as every story goes, the bully doesn’t win forever and in 1991 MJ and company sent Zeke and the Pistons packing. Detroit walked off the court without shaking hands and a dynasty as we know it was spawned.

Jordan’s 10 Most Memorable Revenge Games

The Kukoc Game (1992) — MJ and his former friend, Scottie Pippen hated Bulls owner Jerry Krause. Jordan probably still hates Krause to this day. One tense moment came in 1992 when Krause was openly courting Croatian sensation Toni Kukoc to join the Bulls. Jordan and Pippen took umbrage to the offers because Krause hadn’t resigned Pip to another contract. To show up Kukoc and Krause, the duo basically assaulted Toni during a match-up between The Dream Team and Kukoc’s Crotian squad, resulting in a surgical defensive exhibition for the ages: 2 for 11 from the field and a typical 30-plus point victory for Team USA.

The best part, was seeing how much the duo acted like total d*cks to Kukoc and the media throughout the whole debacle.

Jordan’s 10 Most Memorable Revenge Games

The New York Times Game(s) (1993) — Chicago lost the first two games of the 1993 Eastern Conference finals against the Knicks with John Starks as the catalyst. Before Game 3, The New York Times ran a story of Jordan allegedly being at Atlantic City until 2:30 in the morning the night before Game 2. The claim was vehemently denied (he said he was back by 1 a.m.), but it proved to be the spark the Bulls needed. The Windy City won game three comfortably with Pippen pouring in 29 and Jordan tacking on a triple double. Then, Game 4 went down and Jordan figuratively tied the entire Knicks squad to a pole and beat them senseless to the tune of 54 points and six rebounds.

Chicago won the next two games completing the delayed sweep and then stealing Sir Charles’ thunder in the Finals for their third consecutive title.

Jordan’s 10 Most Memorable Revenge Games

The Grizzlies Game (1995) — Who the f*ck is Darrick Martin? He’s the idiot that yelled at the Bulls bench, telling them that they weren’t that good…right before the fourth quarter started. “I told you we were going to beat you tonight,” he boasted. Idiot. With six minutes left in the game, MJ checked in and dropped 19 points. Even taking a few moments to pay Martin a visit on the sidelines.

Darrick has nightmares about this game to this day, right before he wakes up and puts on his Waffle House apron.

Jordan’s 10 Most Memorable Revenge Games

The Stackhouse Game (1996) — Ah, to be young and stupid. There was a time when Jerry Stackhouse was a hot commodity in the NBA. Stack was so confident that he told the press he used to abuse MJ one-on-one at camp in UNC and he doesn’t have to respect the legend. To make matters worse, Vernon Maxwell, Jerry’s teammate, told the media he was frustrated by how much undeserved attention Jordan’s Bulls were getting. Clearly, this all pissed the Great One off. So Jordan dropped 48 points in three quarters before sitting out the fourth.

The lesser-known aspect of the dominance was that Jordan held Stackhouse to 4-11 and 13 points. As for Mad Max? 1-8 and four points.

Jordan’s 10 Most Memorable Revenge Games

The Jeff Van Gundy Game (1997) — Don’t think because you hear JVG say whatever the hell he wants in an announcing booth that it’s just for show. It’s who he really is and he did the same thing as a coach. Case in point: January 1997. The new year was still mighty fresh and Van Gundy decided to spit into the Chicago wind by calling out Michael. The Knicks signal caller accused #23 of being a con man. No, it had nothing to do with the Bulls’ two guard’s gambling habits, but his on-court psychology.

The end result? Twenty-seven points at half time and final stat line of 51 points on 18-30 shooting. In the words of Mark Jackson, “Mama, there goes that man again.”

Jordan’s 10 Most Memorable Revenge Games

The George Karl Game (1997) — Love Karl if you want, but he makes horrible choices. Not the least of which was claiming that Jordan was taking jump shots because he was afraid to take the ball to the rack and get fouled. Here’s the crazy part: this came just a week after His Airness destroyed the Knicks thanks to Van Gundy’s slick talking. Karl paid for his sins to the tune of 45 points by midway through the fourth quarter.

They should’ve known then that Karl was an idiot and decided against letting him coach the 2002 FIBA World Championship U.S. team to a 6th place finish.

Jordan’s 10 Most Memorable Revenge Games

The Ron Mercer Game (2002) — What’s funny about Mike is that even when his physical edge was no longer the cream of the crop, his mental edge was. Nowadays, comparing anything to the Washington Wizards MJ is considered an insult. Still, while Mike did not win any championships or any significant games while a member of D.C.’s team, he still averaged around 21 points in two seasons. His highlight play actually came against his former squad and one Ron Mercer. The Bulls guard, who had been jawing for a good portion of the game, capitalized off a blocked Jordan shot (who immediately thought he was fouled).

Instead of pleading his case, Mike barreled down like a bat out of hell only to take the ball off the back board. In essence, it wasn’t even a block. It was taking a man’s soul. And doing so while having a sinus infection.

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