Former NBA player Rex Chapman made a guest appearance on the Basketball News podcast where among many topics, he talked about the famous game in which he dropped 39 points on the 72-10 Chicago Bulls. Chapman played for the Miami Heat, a solid team but not as prominent as they were in the following years when they were a true powerhouse in the eastern conference. Nobody expected them to beat the Bulls and Chapman himself describes that game as somewhat lucky because of all the circumstances that happened right before the game.
The Miami Heat only had eight players available on the roster that game because they were in the middle of trading away a few players. On top of that, according to Chapman, the Bulls didn’t take them seriously simply because they were on an 8-game winning streak, and they didn’t consider Heat to be a serious threat that could jeopardize their winning streak. They also didn’t count on Chapman to catch fire early on in the game in which he was shooting the lights out, making one impossible shot after the other.
It was a lucky game. We had 8 players available, and we were in the middle of a trade. We didn’t have full complimentary players, and they were in Miami out all night on South Beach. I know they were because I was right there with them. They thought they had the night off, and we went in where I just caught fire, and we beat them. That was the year they went 72 and 10. So if not for that, they would go 73-9. Of the players they played against that year, I scored the most points. I think it was me, then Karl Malone, and just a weird list.Rex Chapman, via Basketball News
The surprising win against the Bulls was a great moment in Chapman’s career, but it also motivated Jordan to come back with a vengeance in their next game. Chapman remembers that they played against the Bulls once again after two weeks, and it was a totally different story. Michael Jordan elbowed him at the start of the game, showcasing he will not lose another game against a team that he felt was much inferior to the Bulls. They won the game blowing out the Heat, and when they later met them in the first round of the playoffs, it was pretty much the same story. Another proof Jordan never forgets and is always looking to get his revenge.
We had to play them another time before the end of the season, and then we were fighting to be the 8th seed. We end up being the 8th seed, and now we have them four more times. We had to play them two weeks later, and during jump ball, the ball goes in the air, and Michael hit me with the elbow. I immediately knew it’s going to be like that all night long, and it was exactly like that. He got 40 in three quarters and didn’t play in the fourth. I had like 3 for 13, and he came over and gave me a hug after the game. We then played them in the playoffs, and they beat us like we were a JV team; we didn’t even have a chance. That was fun for me because it was my first playoff experience. I got to see how good they were when they were on a mission when they were playing good teams.Rex Chapman, via Basketball News
Rex Chapman played only one season for the Miami Heat, but he says that was a good learning experience for him because he made it to the playoffs for the first time in his career. On top of that, he was able to witness what it’s like playing against the most dominant team in NBA history, which the Bulls most certainly are, even until this day.