One of the most iconic NBA Finals moments that is imitated in playgrounds around the world; this is Michael Jordan’s shrug game.
For some background, Michael Jordan shot a measly 27% from the 3-point line during the 1991-92 regular season. It seemed the Portland Trail Blazers were aware of this for their game 1 matchup against Mike’s Chicago Bulls. His first three-point make in this game, had MJ hold the ball for what seemed like eternity. Clyde Drexler played passive defense defense and didn’t want to close out, so Mike made him pay. Many columnists at the time felt Clyde was at Jordan’s level, which Mike took great offense to. This was all the motivation his Airness needed for an epic game. His second and third trifecta were wide open, with no defender closing out.
The Blazers couldn’t stop the midrange either as number 23 piled up the points. Portland finally got a hand up on later possessions but Mike still stuck his then record 5th long distance shot in the first half. His 6th three was his most iconic, hitting net over the outstretched arm of Cliff Robinson. The Blazers looked dejected in the background, with MJ shrugging for the cameras in the eventual win for the Bulls.
The sneakers that Michael Jordan rocked in this game was the Air Jordan 7. This sneaker was the first to ditch external Nike branding, as the Jordan Brand was becoming its own entity. The Jordan 7 also ditched visible Air for heel and forefoot Air that provided more cushioning. The shoe was noticeably lighter than the past 6 signature shoes, with a neoprene bootie reducing weight on the upper. Visually, the shoe takes elements from African art, with the sharp lines being inspired by African tribal patterns.
The black and charcoal (aka Raptors) colorway that Mike wore in this game can be found HERE.
Cover image via NBA.com