THROWBACK: Michael Jordan’s 64 Points Wasted As Rookie Shaquille O’Neal Led the Orlando Magic To An Upset Win

Published 01/17/2021, 8:37 AM EST
Chicago Bulls All-Star forward # 23 Michael Jordan file photos. (Photo by Tom Berg/WireImage)


Michael Jordan is one of the greatest players of all-time. He has earned this reputation like how all great players do. He put up video game numbers, never lost a Championship after getting to the Finals, and could seemingly dominate opponents based on his will. His multiple seasons scoring 30+ points en route to championships stand as proof.

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However, the mid-90s saw one team challenge MJ and his Chicago Bulls’ dominance on the Eastern Conference. That challenge came from the Orlando Magic, who eliminated MJ and the Bulls from the Playoffs in 1995. That loss is still MJ’s only playoff series loss between the 1991 Championship and the 1998 Championship. That team was led by Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway.

However, that young Magic team proved they could beat the Bulls way back in 1993. MJ scored 64 points in a losing effort to Shaq’s Magic.

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The game went to OT and ended 128-124 in Orlando’s favor. Shaq had 29 points and 24 rebounds in a performance that rookies rarely are able to put up. Jordan scored 64 on almost 50 shots, but his Chicago team needed every last one of those points to put up a fight. This was the only win Orlando got over Chicago that season, as all other regular-season games fell Chicago’s way.

Michael Jordan: Where does this performance rank in his all-time best?

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Most of Michael Jordan’s legacy was built in the playoffs. Naturally, most of his greatest performances come from his numerous playoff battles, which usually ended with championship wins.

Chicago Bulls All-Star forward # 23 Michael Jordan file photos. (Photo by Tom Berg/WireImage)

This performance was just another sign that Michael can do whatever he wants to any team in the NBA. The Magic wasn’t a threat back then, entering this game with a .500 record. However, the ascension of Shaq as one of the best centers in the league as a rookie helped kick-start their glory days.

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This is also one of the few herculean Jordan efforts that ended up in a loss. However, this is the second-most points MJ ever scored in a game. A historic game, but not even the first game you think about when you hear about the greatness of Michael Jordan.

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Ishaan Bhattacharya

1510 articles

Ishaan Bhattacharya is an NBA, NCAA Basketball, and Combat Sports writer at EssentiallySports. Currently, Ishaan is pursuing a Post Graduate Degree in Journalism from Xavier's Institute of Communication. Previously, Ishaan has written for The Indian Express, The Quint, Sportskeeda, and WrestleClub.

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