Skip to main content

"We were on a mission to beat them up" --Mark Jackson on MJ single-handedly beating the Knicks

Michael-Jordan-Mark-Jackson-min (1)

It took a while before the Bulls' collective success caught up with Michael Jordan's individual greatness. But according to Mark Jackson, that is also something MJ should get credit for -- especially the rise of Scottie Pippen.

Scottie Pippen is an all-time great; top 50 player, will be a Top 75 player, is in the discussion when you talk about the greatest small forwards that ever played this game and deserves a lot of credit. Early on, though, he wasn't that Scottie Pippen.

Mark Jackson, Club Shay Shay

When he finally became "that Scottie Pippen," Michael's numbers started to translate to wins, culminating in their first NBA championship in 1991. Until then, the Bulls would either lose in the first round or lose to the Detroit Pistons.

It took a great collection of talent around No.23 to get the Bulls over the hump. But according to Jackson, Michael was the one who accelerated the growth of everyone else around him. And while he greatly benefited from it, so did those who shared the locker room with him.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

That's what the legendary point guard wants us to remember -- the overall talent is what made the Bulls great, but His Airness has always been a difference-maker. And that's something Jackson experienced firsthand, even before one of the greatest NBA dynasties was born.

Michael Jordan single-handedly won series. I remember my last year with the Knicks; we were beating them up. We had physical guys at every single position, and we were on a mission to physically beat them up. But the feeling of having No.23 on your team did something to them. He single-handedly won the series.

Mark Jackson, Club Shay Shay

The series Jackson is referring to is the 1992 Eastern Conference Semifinals when Michael led his team to a seven-game series win over the Knicks. He put up 31.3 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 4.3 APG on 47.7% from the floor, with a standout performance in Game 7 when he dropped 42 points in a 110-81 victory in Chicago.

We went over the scouting report, we said how we were going to defend him, we said how we were going to send him in a different direction -- it didn't matter. He had an answer for every single thing we put in front of him, and physically, he was more than willing to go through whatever he had to go through to win.

Mark Jackson, Club Shay Shay

That's why Jackson said MJ was his toughest matchup in the NBA. And that's why, despite the undeniable talent of the rest of the Bulls, he still emphasizes one thing: No.23 has always been the star of the show in Chicago.

Sure, his success depended on everyone else around him -- no NBA superstar can do it alone come the postseason. But every once in a while, Michael would activate a takeover mode, reminding everyone of his greatness. And that's what the 1992 playoff series against the Knicks was all about.

How Ronny Turiaf overcame open heart surgery to get on the court for the Los Angeles Lakers

“They are gonna have to f***ing kill me” - How Ronny Turiaf overcame open heart surgery to get on the court for the Los Angeles Lakers

Turiaf’s physical showed that he needed to have open-heart surgery, and despite being told his career may be over, Turiaf battled and eventually made his way back on the court


Shawn Kemp on why he left the Sonics: 'They weren’t going to pay me $100 million'

In 1997, Shawn Kemp left the Sonics because he felt that he deserves to be paid more. He got the deal he wanted with the Cavs but he eventually lost his desire to play.


Glen Rice lauds a Filipino basketball legend: 'He’s up there...You talk about the Larry Birds, Glen Rices, Steph Currys'

Filipino basketball legend Allan Caidic nailed 14 three-pointers in a friendly game with Glen Rice in 2010. A decade later, "G Money" was still in awe of what he had witnessed from his fellow marksman


"I took it to another level!"-Shaquille O'Neal thinks he was better than Wilt and Kareem

Shaq took inspiration from the great big men and passed them over, in his opinion.

Looming NBA free agency market gave Kyrie Irving a reality check

Kyrie Irving had a reality check with the market

This all relates to the fundamental Kyrie Irving problem; he is unreliable, he doesn't seem fun to play with, and he has a history of bailing on teams. This was simply a reality check for the man operating outside reality.

Draymond Green calls out Skip Bayless in the latest "new media" rant

“People don’t wanna hear that old, dried up, tired stuff that you talking about” -- Draymond Green rips Skip Bayless

The idea of Draymond Green's "new media" movement is to lessen the power of the Steven A. Smiths and Skip Baylesses of the world

Draymond Green admits GSW wouldn’t have won in titles without Kevin Durant

Draymond Green admits GSW wouldn’t have won titles without Kevin Durant: "We would not have beat the Cavs without Kevin”

Draymond Green admits the Golden State Warriors needed Kevin Durant to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017 and 2018.