Michael Jordan Says Karl Malone Winning 1996-97 NBA MVP 'Fueled a Fire in Me'May 18, 2020
The Mailman delivered Michael Jordan a motive.
Hall of Fame Utah Jazz forward Karl Malone was named the 1996-97 NBA MVP over second-place Jordan, and the Chicago Bulls' six-time champion revealed during Episode 9 of ESPN's The Last Dance on Sunday that it wasn't lost on him:
Episode 9 also chronicled Jordan's famous "Flu Game," which saw the legend drop a game-high 38 points as the Bulls defeated Malone's Jazz 90-88 to take a 3-2 series lead in the '97 NBA Finals.
Chicago went on to beat Utah 90-86 in Game 6 to capture the franchise's fifth championship of the Jordan era. The sixth and final ring came the following season—again topping Malone and the Jazz 4-2—which served as the crux of the 10-part docuseries.
As far as MVP awards go, Jordan was named the Finals MVP for the sixth time in his career. The 57-year-old also claimed five league MVPs ('87-88, '90-91, '91-92, '95-96, '97-98) compared to Malone's two ('96-97, '98-99).