Simple rule when playing against Jordan
Apart from being a great basketball player, having all the skillset to dominate any opposing team, Michael Jordan knew how to play mind games with his opponents. That is an aspect of his game and demeanor that is equally dangerous because he would use any advantage possible to achieve his goals on the court.
Jordan would talk with the refs before the game, smooth-talking them into giving him favorable 50-50 calls. On top of that, he spoke with the players before the game, complimenting them, and then proceeded to drop 30,40 points like it was nothing. Jordan wanted others players to think they were buddies with him, but as soon as the game started, the competitive nature kicked in, and that is where Jordan is the most dangerous player in NBA history.
Xavier McDaniel had his share of battles with Jordan, revealed the rules he had in place for his teammates when he was a member of the New York Knicks in the early '90s. The rivalry between the Bulls and the Knicks was fierce back in the '90s, and McDaniel had plenty of experience already playing against Jordan, so he set some ground rules for his teammates, especially the younger ones who were in awe when going up against Jordan.
"I used to tell the guys, especially young guys, this is what Michael wants to do. He will sit there and talk to you, saying you are having a great year, shaking your hand, keep up the good work, and then he torches you for 48. When he is ready to come up to you and we in New York, we tell you don't f***ing talk to Michael Jordan; he is not your friend. He is going to get into your head, and then after he torches you, he will tell you maybe you will have a good game, the next game. We didn't allow our guys to talk with Michael before the game that is what he liked to do before the game. Bump him and don't talk to him."
McDaniel saw numerous times when playing against Jordan the way he operates with the opposing players. He would bait them in thinking they were playing great and then drop 40 points on them and win the game. McDaniel decided to stop that when he was with the Knicks, which was one of the main rules for everyone when facing Jordan.
"He would try and bait you to think you are playing well, and the next thing he does is that he torches the Knicks for 60 points. Nah, we ain't having that here."
Playing mind games was in Jordan's DNA, and he did it better than anyone else in the game through all those years. Those rivalries between the Knicks and the Bulls were something else, and the Knicks got really close to beating them in the ECF in 1992 when they took the Bulls to 7 games. Unfortunately for the Knicks, Jordan was being Jordan, taking control whenever he felt like he needed to do it, and eventually eliminating the Knicks every time from the playoffs.