Michael Jordan surely had March 8, 1998 circled on his calendar, as his last game in Madison Square Garden fell on that date.
MJ was highly motivated to score in this game, as he had done many times before in New York. The Chicago Bulls legend nailed his patented midrange jumper again and again, fading away and draining contested buckets. His squad was down at the half so vintage Jordan made an appearance. On one play, Michael got absolutely walloped by Charles Oakley but still managed a shot over his head that bounced 6 times on the rim before falling. By the 4th quarter, his Bulls were well in the lead. Coach Phil Jackson eventually took MJ out of the game. The MSG crowd gave Mike a standing ovation, despite the years of losing to the GOAT.
The damage for Michael in this game: 42 points and the W, all while wearing sneakers that were a full-size too small. 1985 Mike rocked a size 12.5, so he decided to have his size 13.5 Air Jordan 13s on the sideline just in case his “toes started barking”, to quote sideline commentator Ahmad Rashad.
The kicks that MJ brought back for this Knicks game was an original pair of the Air Jordan 1. The shoe is infamously known for being banned by the NBA for having too much red, which diverged from the typical black and white dress code. This would later be disproven as Jordan first wore the Nike Air Ship, although the Banned moniker stuck with the AJ1.
The red and white “Chicago” colorway that Mike brought back can be found HERE.
Cover image via Bleacher Report (Twitter)