Michael Jordan : biography
The Bulls advanced to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history to face Magic Johnson and James Worthy and beat the Los Angeles Lakers four games to one, compiling an outstanding 15–2 playoff record along the way. Perhaps the best known moment of the series came in Game 2 when, attempting a dunk, Jordan avoided a potential Sam Perkins block by switching the ball from his right hand to his left in mid-air to lay the shot in.Wilbon, Michael. , The Washington Post, pg. D01, June 7, 1991. Retrieved March 7, 2007. In his first Finals appearance, Jordan posted per game averages of 31.2 points on 56% shooting from the field, 11.4 assists, 6.6 rebounds, 2.8 steals and 1.4 blocks., National Basketball Association. Retrieved March 24, 2008. Jordan won his first NBA Finals MVP award,, National Basketball Association. Retrieved February 6, 2008. and he cried while holding the NBA Finals trophy.Schwartz, Larry. , ESPN. Retrieved January 16, 2007.
Jordan and the Bulls continued their dominance in the 1991–92 season, establishing a 67–15 record, topping their franchise record from 1990 to 91. Jordan won his second consecutive MVP award with averages of 30.1 points, 6.4 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game on 52% shooting. After winning a physical 7-game series over the New York Knicks in the second round of the playoffs and finishing off the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Conference Finals in 6 games, the Bulls met Clyde Drexler and the Portland Trail Blazers in the Finals. The media, hoping to recreate a Magic–Bird rivalry, highlighted the similarities between "Air" Jordan and Clyde "The Glide" during the pre-Finals hype.. Sports Illustrated. Retrieved February 16, 2009. In the first game, Jordan scored a Finals-record 35 points in the first half, including a record-setting six three-point field goals., National Basketball Association. Retrieved March 9, 2007. After the sixth three-pointer, he jogged down the court shrugging as he looked courtside. Marv Albert, who broadcast the game, later stated that it was as if Jordan was saying, "I can’t believe I’m doing this.", National Basketball Association. Retrieved February 23, 2007. The Bulls went on to win Game 1, and defeat the Blazers in six games. Jordan was named Finals MVP for the second year in a row and finished the series averaging 35.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg, and 6.5 apg, while shooting 53% from the floor.
In 1992–93, despite a 32.6 ppg, 6.7 rpg and 5.5 apg campaign, Jordan’s streak of consecutive MVP seasons ended as he lost the award to his friend Charles Barkley. Coincidentally, Jordan and the Bulls met Barkley and his Phoenix Suns in the 1993 NBA Finals. The Bulls captured their third consecutive NBA championship on a game-winning shot by John Paxson and a last-second block by Horace Grant, but Jordan was once again Chicago’s catalyst. He averaged a Finals-record 41.0 ppg during the six-game series,, National Basketball Association. Retrieved January 20, 2007. and became the first player in NBA history to win three straight Finals MVP awards. He scored more than 30 points in every game of the series, including 40 or more points in 4 consecutive games. With his third Finals triumph, Jordan capped off a seven-year run where he attained seven scoring titles and three championships, but there were signs that Jordan was tiring of his massive celebrity and all of the non-basketball hassles in his life.McCallum, Jack. , Sports Illustrated, October 18, 1993. Retrieved February 18, 2009.
During the Bulls’ playoff run in 1993, controversy arose when Jordan was seen gambling in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the night before a game against the New York Knicks.Anderson, Dave. , The New York Times, May 27, 1993. Retrieved April 8, 2008. In that same year, he admitted to having to cover $57,000 in gambling losses,Thomas, Monifa. (scroll down to see article), Chicago Sun-Times, available at winningstreak.com, October 21, 2005. Retrieved January 17, 2007. and author Richard Esquinas wrote a book claiming he had won $1.25 million from Jordan on the golf course. In 2005, Jordan talked to Ed Bradley of the CBS evening show 60 Minutes about his gambling and admitted that he made some reckless decisions. Jordan stated, "Yeah, I’ve gotten myself into situations where I would not walk away and I’ve pushed the envelope. Is that compulsive? Yeah, it depends on how you look at it. If you’re willing to jeopardize your livelihood and your family, then yeah.", CBS News, August 20, 2006. Retrieved January 15, 2007. When Bradley asked him if his gambling ever got to the level where it jeopardized his livelihood or family, Jordan replied, "No."