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Michael Jordan vs. IBM in '91, a supercomputer calculated Robinson should've been the MVP


The 1990s, the era of the raging Chicago Bulls, started in 1991. And it was not all about the team accomplishments. After eight seasons in the league, its best scorer Michael Jordan was crowned NBA MVP for the second time in his career. However, an IBM supercomputer calculated that San Antonio Spurs 7’1” lefty center David Robinson was the most valuable player in the league! That was enough for MJ. 

There is no discussion that the new look early 1990s San Antonio Spurs were a team of the future. Alongside dominant inside force in Admiral Robinson, this team also featured great forwards Terry Cummings and Sean Elliott and dynamic guards Willie Anderson and Rod Strickland. They were known for their passing game installed by the head coach Larry Brown that ran its plays to perfection.

This particular Spurs team was designed with only one purpose – to win an NBA championship. At the beginning of the 1990s, just after LA Lakers and Detroit Pistons era, no one could predict with great certainty which NBA team would be the next winner of Larry O’Brien’s trophy. And many thought it could be the Spurs, revamped and rejuvenated squad which had a winning aura all over it.

That season, which was the first one with the Bulls' minds occupied with the triangle offense, Jordan faced the mighty Spurs two times. His team narrowly lost both games but faced the ultimate competition; Jordan was spectacular both times.

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On January 31st, 1991, the Spurs won the game in San Antonio’s Hemisfair Arena by 106-102. Jordan led all scorers with 36 points on 9-22 shooting from the field and 17-18 from behind the charity stripe. In the rematch in Chicago Stadium on April 5th, 1991,MJ was again spectacular, pouring in 39 points on 13-26, shooting from the field to go along with nine assists, five boards, five steals, and two blocked shots.

Under the watchful eye of Anderson, Elliott, and David Wingate, MJ opened this battle, hitting several outside shots and creating in the open floor. However, as the game progressed, he showed the growing tendency to drive straight into Mr.Robinson’s neighborhood. Doing so, he was able to complete several miraculous shots around the rim and got Admiral into foul trouble.

“David Robinson made a serious mistake right here. That's his fifth foul! He's gotta let him go in that situation! They are very fortunate that they are not going to give them the ball on the sidelines.”

Doug Collins

Even with the ultimate game’s performer giving out his best for the Bulls, the Spurs overcame the whole court pressure by the Bulls and pulled this one in Chicago by 110-107, thus winning the regular-season series.

The tremendous early 1990s Spurs squad led by David Robinson reached its pinnacle in 1995 when it lost the Western Conference finals from the eventual NBA champions Houston Rockets. Up north, in Chicago, the Bulls, led by Michael Jordan, established one of the historical NBA dynasties by winning as many as six NBA championship titles throughout the 1990s.

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