Today in sports history (1987), arguably the greatest basketball player of all time set the Chicago Bulls franchise record for most points in a game, with a 58-point performance. The Bulls would go on to beat the New Jersey Nets, 128-113. Michael Jordan would go on to break his own record five more times during his time with Chicago.
The Legend is Born | Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls
Going into the 1986-87 NBA season, Michael Jordan had shown just how good he could be in the league. As a rookie in the 1984-85 season, he averaged 28 points per game. In his second season, Jordan broke his left foot and missed most of the season. While many knew it was simply a matter of time before he was an elite talent in the league, it wasn’t expected right after a major foot injury.
In the 1986-87 season, Jordan started his reign of terror on the rest of the NBA. Jordan averaged over 37 points, five rebounds and four assists per game. Going into the game against the Nets, the Chicago Bulls franchise record for points in a game was 56, set by Chet Walker in 1972. No other player had scored more than 52 in a game for the franchise to that point.
Birth of the “G.O.A.T.”
While Michael Jordan was a great player, he didn’t have much for teammates, so he often had to do a lot of heavy lifting himself. Only Charles Oakley and John Paxson were any names of note on that team. That didn’t stop Jordan from getting his, though. Jordan hit 16-of-25 shots from the field and an incredible 26-of-27 free throws. Even more impressive, Jordan racked up 58 points in just 37 minutes, which was third on the team.
While Jordan had certainly “arrived” in the NBA prior to his record-breaking performance, it set the stage for Chicago and their impending dynasty. Jordan would average 30 or more points per game for the next six straight seasons. The Bulls would be eliminated in the first round for the third year in a row, but they would go on to never lose in the first round again and make it to the conference finals all but one year in the remainder of Michael Jordan’s tenure.