It’s been 15 years since Michael Jordan finally hung up his iconic kicks once and for all. A lot has changed since then; social media has infiltrated the NBA, and beef between players often originates within a character limit, rather than the 94-by-50-foot confines of an NBA court. Thankfully for Michael Jordan’s peers, Twitter wasn’t around in his era, or else he might have fully adorned his second hand with championship bling.
Unfortunately, because so much has changed, today’s young fans may only know him as a meme. For elder basketball fans, that’s simply not right. There’s a reason that an entire generation of hoops aficionados consider MJ basketball’s G.O.A.T, and might always believe so, no matter how much Kobe and LeBron stans might try to convince you that you don’t need to “Be like Mike” to be the best.
It’s true that a lot has gone down since MJ’s regretful return in Washington came to a creaky-knee conclusion, but it’s important to remind young fans about the legend of His Airness; especially those now-forgotten performances that prove he’s the sport’s true G.O.A.T.
It’s easy to pick his worst games—there were so few of them. But his greatest? No matter how big the list, there’s always a lot on the cutting room floor. Like the time he dropped 61 in regulation against Dominique Wilkins, or the 54 he scored against the Heat in the last three sessions to knock them out of the 1993 Playoffs. We had to leave out the time he dropped 40 as a 40-year-old, and the 10 triple-doubles he posted in an 11-game stretch. We can’t keep them all, though we wish we could.
These are Michael Jordan’s 15 greatest games, in honor of the 15-year anniversary of him to gracing an NBA hardwood for the final time. All told, these performances helped a legend transcend beyond the game itself.