Michael Jordan vs. LaBradford Smith: The Interesting Two-Game Rivalry of 1993

Mike B.Correspondent IApril 9, 2011

Back when he starred for the Chicago Bulls, Michael Jordan was a part of a bunch of exciting individual showdowns.

There was Jordan vs. Dominique Wilkins, Jordan vs. Isiah Thomas, Jordan vs. Magic Johnson and Jordan vs. Clyde Drexler.   

And there was also Jordan vs. Larry Bird, which turned into a popular video game in the late 1980s.

Everybody knows a thing or two about those battles, but what about Jordan vs. the great LaBradford Smith?

I know what you're thinking: LaBradford who?

Smith, the 19th overall pick in the 1991 NBA Draft, should never be brought up in the same conversation as Hall of Famers like Magic and Bird since he only averaged 6.7 points per game for his three-year career.

However, he can brag for the rest of his life that he once had quite a game against Prime Jordan in the early 1990s. 

On March 19, 1993, Smith's lottery-bound Washington Bullets traveled to Chicago to take on the defending champion Bulls. Smith received his fourth straight start as he teamed with All-Star Michael Adams in the backcourt and was given the assignment of matching up with Jordan.

Smith's 37 points against Jordan and the Bulls made him a star for a day.
Smith's 37 points against Jordan and the Bulls made him a star for a day.
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Smith, who averaged just 9.3 PPG for the season, went on to light up MJ for a career-high 37 points. He connected on 15 of his 20 field goals and was a perfect 7-of-7 from the free-throw line.

The Bulls, however, still won the game, 104-99. Jordan got the win, but he wasn't very pleased with the fact that he allowed an unknown player like Smith to drop so many points on him.

Following the game, Jordan claimed that Smith mocked him by saying, "Nice game, Mike." Jordan then supposedly promised people he would match Smith's 37 points in the first half of the two teams' next meeting, which was the very next day.

In the second game, this time at the Bullets' Capital Centre, Jordan almost followed through on his promise as he scored 36 points by halftime. He would finish with 47 and his Bulls cruised to a 126-101 victory.

Smith, the hero of the previous night's game, had just 15 points. 

Jordan admitted years later that Smith never made the "nice game" comment. He made it all up. He apparently just needed more motivation to get Smith back for embarrassing him.

Jordan retired seven month's after that 47-point outburst against Smith and the Bullets. He would return in March of 1995, but by then, Smith was out of the league, meaning another battle between the two couldn't take place.    

Michael Jordan vs. LaBradford Smith wasn't anywhere close to Jordan vs 'Nique in the dunk contest or Jordan vs. Magic in the NBA Finals.

However, it was still a rather interesting two-day event.

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