I was bored the other day browsing the Internet, like we all tend to do, when I came across one of the millions of blogs pitting Kobe Bryant against Michael Jordan.
What did I do?
Even though I've heard it and read it all before I just couldn't help myself.
While watching the mundane debate go back and forth with neither participant making any clear point, I came across one statement that suggested Kobe's game seven performance was enough to solidify that he will never surpass Michael Jordan.
Being that I've been around long enough to see both players in their prime, I laughed at this statement. Agitated at my sudden sense of humor, the writer told me to prove to him where Jordan ever had a bad game in the finals.
So that I shall do.
Let's take a trip down memory lane, skip the eight times Jordan was bounced out of the playoffs early to the 91' finals.
In game three of the 91' NBA finals, MJ was flirting with a triple double, bringing in 29 points on 28 shots only making good on 11 of those shots.
For those that think 11-of-28 is still good, keep in mind 11-of-22 is a 50 percent shooting average.
Moving along to game four of the 92' finals, Jordan pulled in 32 points off 26 shots. Out of the 26 shots he took, he made good on 11. The kicker is that he had five turnovers and couldn't score the last 10 minutes and thirty seconds of the game.
Even Jordan couldn't be clutch all of the time.
Now we have arrived at the 93' NBA finals Game three, once again Jordan pulled in 44 points on a whopping 43 shots! Out of the 43 jacked up, he only made good on 19.
The cherry on top is that Michael only hit one of 10 shots in the fourth quarter.
MJ not looking so God-like anymore is he?
The 96' finals were by far in my opinion the worst of Michael's career.
In game two, Michael took 22 shots posting 29 points, making good on only nine of those shots. To start the third quarter, Michael would miss seven straight shots and he will miss six free-throws for the game.
In game four, Michael would have yet another bad game, scoring 23 points on 19 shots making good on only six of those. He only had three rebounds and two assists to add to that.
Oh I'm just warming up.
Iin game six, Jordan's close out performance was very uninspiring to say the least, again scoring 22 points on 19 shots making good on just five of those shots this time around.
He would go on to add five turnovers to that. A good point to remember is that, this is his third bad game in the same finals series.
So are we starting to see now that Jordan is as human as Kobe is?
No? Ok, I guess we must continue then.
During the 97' finals, Bulls vs. Jazz and coincidentially another game three, your Airness shot 9-of-22 for 26 points. Utah led 77-53 in the third quarter. Chicago used a 16-3 run to cut the lead to 90-83 with 2:42 left in the fourth quarter.
Scottie Pippen tied a Finals record with seven 3-pointers to lead the comeback. The Bulls would get no closer as Michael Jordan missed three consecutive 3-pointers and John Stockton made six straight free throws.
Maybe Jordan deferred to Pippen that game like Kobe deferred to Artest? Maybe.
Game four wouldn't get much better for MJ, only scoring 22 points off of 27 shots, 16 of those shots missing the mark.
Jordan would fail to get to the free-throw line the whole game. Jordan would also go 0-for-3 with a turnover in the game's final 1:45 as the Jazz came back to win.
Game five of the 98' finals will be our next crime scene, where the Jazz will go on to steal Jordan's glory. Jordan posted up 28 points on 26 shots making good on only nine of those with four turnovers for the game.
The game was pretty much neck and neck. With the final seconds winding down, Tony Kukoc hit a trey with 5.5 seconds left, but Jordan couldn’t hit a wild, desperation shot at the buzzer.
Kobe probably would have missed that shot too! Probably.
As you can see, Jordan had his share of bad games in the Finals. It happens even to Michael, whether we choose to remember or not.
When the smoke clears, these bad games will never be able to debase Jordan's legacy and neither will Kobe's bad games be able to taint everything he has done in his ongoing saga of a legacy.
Because, as I see it, Kobe is only picking up where Jordan left off. Someone has to continue on the legacy, even if it has stumbling blocks along the way.