Michael Jordan is known for denying many great players championship opportunities. After all, he won 6 NBA titles with two three-peats and probably would’ve won 8 in a row if he didn’t retire.
Jordan completely dominated the league and just kept winning in convincing fashion. But what’s even more impressive is the fact that Jordan denied a whopping 60% of the Dream Team a chance of winning a title or even competing in an NBA Finals. When it comes to pure killer instinct and dominance on the court, there will never be another Michael Jordan.
Here are all the players that Jordan denied a chance at an NBA Finals or an NBA Championship, starting with the great Magic Johnson.
Magic is widely regarded as the best point guard in NBA history. Magic was the original large point guard and did it all on the floor against the Bulls in the finals.
Magic averaged a whopping 18.6 PPG, 12.4 APG, and 8.0 RPG in the 1991 NBA Finals, but his relatively undermanned Lakers team fell short to the Bulls in 5 games. MJ was simply unstoppable with 31.2 PPG, 11.4 APG, 6.6 RPG, 2.8 SPG and 1.4 BPG, and his pairing with Scottie Pippen made them almost unbeatable.
Magic may have had early success against a younger Michael Jordan and the Bulls, but MJ put that to rest in their rather one-sided victory.
This was a massive achievement in the career of the great Michael Jordan.
Michael Jordan beat Magic Johnson:
– 1991 NBA Finals (4-1)
The next best opponent that MJ defeated in the Finals was “The Mailman” Karl Malone. Malone is currently the second-leading scorer in NBA history, and one of the most dominant players to ever grace the NBA court.
Malone was automatic from mid-range and a beast on the inside. Malone’s numbers against Jordan were spectacular, averaging 25.0 PPG and 10.5 RPG in the 1998 NBA Finals.
But once again, MJ conquered the great Malone and could not be denied in the Finals. The Utah Jazz was an all-time great team, and MJ managed to put them away.
Michael Jordan beat Karl Malone:
– (1997) NBA Finals 4-2
– (1998) NBA Finals 4-2
Along with Malone, Stockton was a scary leader for the Jazz. While Malone may have had a weakness in the form of inconsistent free-throw shooting, Stockton really had no weakness in his game. He was an excellent defender and an amazing shooter.
In the 1998 NBA Finals vs. the Bulls, Stockton averaged 9.7 PPG and 8.7 APG and his pick and roll with Malone gave the Bulls some trouble through six games.
Even though Stockton was the best point guard in that Finals series, MJ was the best player and managed to win another Finals MVP trophy to his cabinet. Thanks to Michael Jordan, and Michael Jordan only, the great duo of Stockton and Malone never won an NBA title.
Michael Jordan beat John Stockton:
– (1997) NBA Finals 4-2
– (1998) NBA Finals 4-2
MJ conquered yet another top 50 players in Charles Barkley. Barkley was simply a beast, and don’t let anything tell you otherwise. Charles was a dominant scorer and was one of the game’s best rebounders. Barkley played much bigger than his height and was able to lead the Phoenix Suns all the way to the 1993 NBA Finals to play the great Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.
Barkley put up a monster 27.3 PPG and 13.0 RPG as the best player on a Suns squad that also featured the likes of Kevin Johnson and Dan Majerle.
Still, MJ was too much for Phoenix, shutting them down in five games. MJ averaged 41.0 points in the Finals series, putting away the best chance that Barkley had of winning an NBA title. Thanks to Michael, Barkley has to accept the fact that he never won in the NBA Finals – something that he has to swallow while featuring alongside Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith on Inside The NBA.
Michael Jordan beat Charles Barkley:
– (1993) NBA Finals 4-2
While Chris Mullin is mostly known for his dominance as part of a sensational Warriors team, he was also part of a strong Indiana Pacers team that reached the NBA Eastern Conference Finals against the Bulls in 1998.
In an epic series that went to Game 7, Mullin simply could not match Jordan’s production. Overall, Mullin was a great shooter and scorer, averaging 18.2 PPG and 38.4% from three for his career. As an ultimate gym rat, Mullin was known for his hard work and dedication to his game which allowed him to enter the HOF.
But Jordan was once again in the way of another Hall of Famer. Jordan’s dominance coincided with Mullin and the Pacers team and shut down any possibility for the latter to realistically win the NBA title by coming up big in a clutch Game 7.
Jordan was just the best player in the series, scoring 29 points in an 88-83 victory. The Bulls were simply too dominant, and they did not leave any chance for anyone else to win an NBA title at their peak. After all, the Bulls won a whopping three straight NBA titles during the five years that Mullin was an All-Star. Case in point, Mullin is very unlucky to have played in the same era as Michael Jordan.
Michael Jordan beat Chris Mullin:
– (1998) Eastern Conference Finals 4-3
The New York Knicks were a great team before, which may seem shocking considering how atrocious they have been for such a long time.
Before Carmelo Anthony, Ewing was the biggest star in New York. He was a tough-minded center who led the charge against the Chicago Bulls multiple times in the playoffs.
MJ ran into Ewing and the Knicks and made sure that his team came out on top on every occasion in the playoffs.
MJ made a career of winning when it matters most, and constantly put away Ewing’s chance of an NBA title. Jordan and the Bulls ran into the Knicks 5 times in the playoffs, and every time Michael Jordan beat Patrick Ewing.
Michael Jordan beat Patrick Ewing:
– (1989) Eastern Conference Semifinals 4-2
– (1991) Eastern Conference First Round 3-0
– (1992) Eastern Conference Semifinals 4-3
– (1993) Eastern Conference Finals 4-2
– (1996) Eastern Conference Semifinals 4-1
Drexler is one of the greatest shooting guards of all time, and MJ came in his path as well. In the 1992 NBA Finals, The Portland Trail Blazers played the Chicago Bulls in a competitive series that went 6 games.
Once again, MJ killed the competition off before even reaching a Game 7, leaving no doubt in anyone’s mind that the Bulls were the best team in the league at that point. In the series, MJ put up a monster 35.8 PPG, along with 6.5 APG, and 4.8 RPG compared to Drexler’s 24.8, 5.3 APG, and 7.8 RPG. Clearly, Drexler belonged in the NBA Finals but simply could not carry his team the way Michael did.
Often defended by Michael Jordan, Drexler shot a low 40.7% from the field while MJ hit 52.6% of his shots despite averaging 35.8 PPG.
As good as Drexler was, and everyone else that faced Michael Jordan in the Finals, there was no denying that the Chicago Bulls were going to win the series. Just like the other 6 Hall of Famers on this list, MJ conquered another all-time great player on his path to eventually attaining a total of 6 NBA titles with 6 Finals MVPs.
Michael Jordan beat Clyde Drexler:
– (1992) NBA Finals 4-2