By The Numbers: MJ vs Sacramento
On the 25th anniversary of Michael Jordan telling the world “I’m Back”, we take a look into how MJ fared against the Kings
The great Michael Jordan shook the sports world to its core on this date 25 years ago with two words: “I’m back.”
After missing nearly two seasons due to an attempt at a career in Major League Baseball, “His Airness” announced his return to the NBA. While all basketball fans remember Michael Jordan for being the Hall of Fame, six-time champion and five-time MVP, they most likely don’t remember his career highlights while playing the Sacramento Kings.
Today, we take a look at MJ’s career totals and highlights while playing the Kings, and appreciate the legacy and legend of arguably the greatest basketball player of all-time.
As a rookie out of North Carolina, the then 21 year-old guard turned in one of the best rookie seasons in NBA history.
Jordan finished his rookie-year averaging 28.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game, claiming the Rookie of The Year trophy and an All-Star appearance in the process.
In his first appearance against the Kings–at the time, the Kansas City Kings–Jordan poured in 26 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in a 103-97 win for the Bulls.
In 1997, Jordan would score 35 points against Kings legend Mitch Ritchmond in a game that Chicago beat Sacramento by a final of 126-108. The domination of the Kings and the entire league would continue for Jordan, who put what seemed to be the cherry-on-top for his career, an NBA championship in 1998 to end his career. Six championships and a five-time NBA MVP, Jordan seemed to be ready to move on.
For the second time in his career, Jordan retired, saying goodbye to a game that he dominated for over a decade.
Comeback Pt. II
For three seasons, the NBA was without the legend of Michael Jordan.
But in the weeks leading up to the 2001-02 season, Jordan stunned the world by announcing that he had signed with the Washington Wizards. At the age of 38, the former MVP was out to show the league that he could still play the game at a high level.
In his first game playing against the Kings in over three years, Jordan put on a show against a Sacramento team that was in the middle of a 61-win season.
On February 7, 2002 the Kings visited the Wizards in Washington, where Jordan would start things off with 19 points in the first-half.
In the second-half, MJ would play distributor, finishing with nine assists to go along with his 25 points to lead the Wizards over Sacramento by a final of 108-101.
The Legacy Of 23
For the last time, Jordan laced up in ARCO Arena. On February 11, 2003, the legendary guard said goodbye to Sacramento. Scoring 12 points to go along with seven rebounds and two assists in a 99-80 Kings victory.
In 26 career games against the Kings, Jordan finished with career totals of 30.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game.
Those totals are eerily similar to his career averages of 30.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.3 assists. When it comes down to it, most teams saw the same thing that Sacramento witnessed when Michael Jordan came into town.