At the end of the summer of 1985 — NBA Rookie of the year, Michael Jordan, would take a trip to Italy to participate in a Nike-sponsored game in Trieste, the harbor town on what was then Italian-Yugoslavian border.
The friendly game played on August 25th, 1985, featured Italian Liga A’s teams Stefanel Trieste and Snaidero Caserta (in white). Jordan was a special guest wearing Stefanel Trieste jersey with #23 on it.
Chicago’s young superstar, already known globally for his leaping ability and breath-taking moves, as expected, put on a show. He easily scored 30 points in the friendly contest.
With his hang time and variety of high-flying moves, ‘His Airness,’ for an average Italian and European fan, looked just as dazzling as the player who just came from another basketball universe. MJ perfectly embodied what the difference between the NBA and ‘The Rest of the Basketball World’ back then was.
However, one particular play from that specific game will be remembered by all those basketball fans who were happy enough to witness it live.
With Stefanel on the break, Jordan leaped from just inside the paint, over a surprised defender, for a spectacular dunk, which was so powerful that it shattered the glass backboard into the thousand pieces!
Interestingly enough, a couple of days before Jordan shattered the backboard in Trieste, hundreds of miles south, in the central Italian town of Rieti, Kobe Bryant celebrated his 7th birthday (August 23rd, 1985).
Murray A. a.k.a. Marjan Crnogaj is a BN contributor and the author of the book ‘Drazen – The Years of the Dragon’ which can be found here.