‘Went Through His Adversaries’: Former All-Star Speaks About the Growth of Michael Jordan in His Early Years

Published 10/08/2021, 2:30 PM EDT
Chicago Bulls All-Star forward # 23 Michael Jordan file photos. (Photo by Tom Berg/WireImage)


Michael Jordan may have all the accolades to prove he is the GOAT, but his initial years with the Chicago Bulls were tough, to say the least. With a sub-standard supporting cast, MJ hardly had a teammate who could step in.

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But one of the most influential teammates that Jordan had in his initial years was Charles Oakley. Although Oakley did not have as much success as Jordan in his NBA career, he was a great role player on the team.

Not only that, Oakley had developed a great bond with Jordan. Even though they played only three years together, they continued to have a great deal of respect for each other and certainly have continued to be good friends till now.

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Charles Oakley speaks about how Michael Jordan progressed in his initial years

Oakley unlike many others, saw Jordan when he wasn’t a 6-time champion, rather a superstar in a mediocre Bulls side. A young scoring phenom, who often dragged his team to the post-season and put up some eye-popping numbers.

In a recent podcast, the 1-time All-Star and Knicks legend spoke about Jordan’s growth in his initial years. “You can see the growth. Even from his rookie year. When he did that down the court and was playing with some guys who had a lot of talent, he was just shining. And then when I got there my first year, he was just going up.”

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“He was always averaging 27,28,30 (points). He just kept climbing. To be a champion, there’ll be a guy who can take over when you need to go through adversaries. So he went through his adversaries with Detroit and the bad boys.”

Jordan and the Bulls certainly had a tough time in the 80s. While MJ became a certified superstar, the supporting cast consisting of Dennis Rodman and others were still away from their prime. This meant that ‘His Airness’ did not have much help against a tough defensive side like the Bad Boy Detroit Pistons.

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But eventually, the Bulls did crack through to the next level as Pippen stepped up. With Jordan and Pippen leading the side, the Bulls became unstoppable, and the rest is history. Perhaps taking the beating from the Pistons in the 80s was worth it after all.

WATCH THIS STORY- Michael Jordan’s Awful 2011–12 Charlotte Bobcats, 2015–16 Philadelphia 76ers’ the Process, and Other Teams That Are Among the Worst in NBA History

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Aditya Mohapatra

1248 articles

Aditya Mohapatra is a sports enthusiast who primarily covers the NBA for EssentiallySports. Having graduated in Mass Communication, he has prior experience in writing for ABP News, and has been writing for EssentiallySports since November 2020. This die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan feels that LeBron James is the best thing to have ever happened to the NBA, and will hold a healthy debate with anyone suggesting otherwise.

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