There are a lot of things that make the NBA career of Michael Jordan a singular one. His personal highlight reel is unparalleled and the impact he has had on our culture with his sneaker line is massive. But what truly separates MJ from the horde of great basketball players is his number of championships. His 6 NBA Championship Rings came with 6 Finals MVP Trophies.
Finals MVP #1
When Air Jordan faced Magic Johnson in his first NBA Finals appearance not many gave him a chance to beat the Los Angeles Lakers’ legend. Magic had already won five championships when he matched up against the Bulls in 1991. Mike and the Bulls were able to rise to the occasion and defeat the Lakers 4 games to 1. Not many would ever doubt MJ again after that career defining series. Jordan would win his first of 6 Finals MVPS for the series.
Finals MVP #2
There was a lot of debate before the 1992 Finals started regarding who the second best basketball player on the planet was. Many believed Clyde Drexler was second in line. If Drexler’s Portland Trail Blazers had defeated the Bulls in the 1992 Finals, there probably would have been a shift in opinion regarding who the league’s finest was. MJ made sure his personal reign and team’s throne was secure by leading Chicago to a 4 games to 2 series win.
Finals MVP #3
After winning two championships in a row, Charles Barkley and his Phoenix Suns were the Bulls next opponent in the 1993 Finals. The matchup between Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley was something the sports world was excited to witness. As always, MJ did not disappoint, and the series was an exciting one from start to finish. Only two teams prior to the 1992-1993 squad accomplished the “three-peat.” Chicago defied the odds and won 3 titles in 3 years when they beat the Phoenix Suns in the 1993 finals.
Finals MVP #4
Jordan’s retirement and foray into baseball postponed his next Finals appearance until 1996. When the Bulls returned to the NBA’s biggest stage, they had to take on the young Seattle Supersonics. Many questioned whether MJ could ever lead Chicago to another championship after his sabbatical. The Bulls won 72 games during that 1995-1996 campaign and winning the series versus Seattle cemented that team as one of the best ever. Jordan would earn his fourth Finals MVP award after the series.
Finals MVP #5
The 1996 championship run got Chicago back on track after Jordan’s short retirement. His efforts in 95-96 verified he was back and better than ever. In pursuit of their 5th ring, they had to face off against John Stockton, Karl Malone, and the Utah Jazz. Stockton and Malone were NBA veterans who never earned championship rings despite being two of the greatest players the league has ever known. Michael Jordan and the Bulls were able to best the hungry Hall of Fame duo and win the series 4 games to 2 in the 1997 Finals.
Finals MVP #6
The 97-98 season was widely believed to be the last time the Bulls core unit would play together. It was there “Last Dance.” Jordan and his teammates made the most of what proved to be their final run together. For the second straight year they defeated the Utah Jazz in the 1998 finals. Following that championship Michael Jordan retired for the second time with two separate three-peats and 6 titles in 8 years on his resume. He also hit the series winning shot that would forever be known as the “Last Shot.”
6 Rings, 6 Finals MVPS
Michael Jordan had to prove he could win and win at an elite level. Critics felt he was too ball dominant and too interested in scoring to play winning basketball. MJ was determined to prove his critics wrong. He was able to remain dominant as a player and still find team success.
- Adam C. Better
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