Michael Jordan is widely recognized as the best player who has ever lived. He has captured every individual accolade and is also a perfect 6-0 in the NBA Finals with 6 Finals MVPs. Jordan simply destroyed all opposition and that is the reason he is regarded as arguably the most competitive and driven athlete in professional team sports.
As great as MJ was, he did have some help over his career. Michael was lucky to play for a Hall of Fame coach like Phil Jackson, and also had some excellent teammates that helped him on his path to becoming the best NBA player of all time. With guys like Dennis Rodman and Scottie Pippen expected to be on here, here is the entire list of Michael Jordan’s 10 greatest teammates.
10. Bill Cartwright
Nobody would have thought a center in his 30’s would be of much use to Michael Jordan. After all, Bill joined the team in the ’89-’90 season and was already past his prime. But he was surprisingly effective as a shooter and interior presence.
Cartwright had the size and an imposing interior presence that gave Chicago more defensive resistance in case opponents managed to get past the stifling defense of the front-court. Bill Cartwright was not a star by any means, but he cracks the top-10 list.
9. Luc Longley
While Bill Cartwright was the team’s main big man and interior presence in Jordan’s first 3-peat, Luc Longley was Cartwright’s replacement in Jordan’s second 3-peat. Longley was a more talented version of Cartwright because he has tremendous size at 7’2″ and was just a massive man in the paint. He was great at altering shots and Jordan certainly benefited from his presence.
Longley wasn’t only an interior bruiser as he also had a nice mid-range shot and could score when needed. Longley put up 11.4 PPG in the ’97-’98 season so clearly, he knew how to be effective.
8. John Paxson
John Paxson is mainly known for being the sharpshooter that Michael Jordan trusted with his heart. Paxson famously nailed the game-winner in Game 6 of the 1993 Finals, putting Chicago up 4-2 which ended the series and concluded Michael’s first 3-peat. Paxson was simply money when Jordan needed him to be, and he appears on this list because of that.
Paxson wasn’t a star or even starting-caliber player for the majority of his career, but he found life playing alongside Jordan and that shot he hit will always be a key moment in NBA history.
7. Steve Kerr
Next up on the list was the direct replacement to John Paxson. Steve Kerr was the clutch marksman that helped Jordan win his second 3-peat, taking over Paxson’s role in the backcourt. Steve Kerr shot a career % from three, meaning he is one of the greatest shooters in NBA history. He also happens to be one of the nicest guys in the world who also got punched out by MJ in practice.
But Kerr is mostly known for his game-winner in Game 6 of the 1997 Finals. Like Paxson did 4 years earlier, Kerr got his moment and drained the big shot to help Chicago win the NBA Championship. MJ certainly loved having Kerr on the team and he belongs on this list.
6. Ron Harper
Ron Harper did not do anything spectacular when looking at the box score. In fact, you would often not notice a single thing that he did to impact the game. But Harper is without a doubt one of Jordan’s greatest teammates. The reason was that Harper was an unbelievable defensive player. He, alongside Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, stifled defenses and made it almost impossible to score on Chicago.
Harper was a key piece to Jordan’s first 3 championships even though he had aged and lost his athleticism. He did not have to play outside of his limitations as his defensive ability and leadership on the floor was crucial to MJ’s success. Harper just makes out on the top-5 to talented guard B.J. Armstrong.
5. B.J. Armstrong
Armstrong is probably the most talented guard to have ever played alongside Michael Jordan. In fact, Armstrong was an All-Star in 1994 which is the same season Jordan wasn’t playing with the Bulls. But when MJ returned, Armstrong was there to help him win.
He had great shooting and could finish at the rim with explosiveness, making him a great piece for Chicago’s first 3 title runs. Armstrong was mostly remembered for being a starter for the Bulls during the ’92-’93 playoffs while averaging 11.4 PPG.
4. Toni Kukoc
The top 4 are probably easy to predict. No surprise, Toni Kukoc appears on this list as arguably the second most offensively gifted player MJ played with in his career. Kukoc was a unique breed of talent because he had tremendous size yet could score the ball very well with limited athleticism.
Kukoc put up 14.1 PPG with the Chicago Bulls in a stint which lasted 7 seasons, and he had plenty of clutch moments alongside MJ. Kukoc was always there to make big plays when needed most, and he is remembered for being a key contributed to Michael Jordan’s final championship season where he averaged 13.1 PPG while shooting 37.7% from three.
3. Horace Grant
Kukoc was a great scorer and clutch player for Michael Jordan and the Bulls, but Horace Grant edges him out because of his defensive ability and floor leadership. Grant seemed to have his best performances in the biggest moments because he has everything the Bulls needed at the power forward position. He had size, athleticism, and a nice mid-range jumper to space the floor with.
Grant had arguably his most memorable moments during the Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers where he put up 14.6 PPG and 7.8 RPG as MJ and the Bulls won in 5 games. Grant was a big loss for Michael’s second 3-peat because his defensive instincts were invaluable. Fortunately for MJ, the last 2 players on this list were even better defensively.
2. Dennis Rodman
The Worm, Dennis Rodman is Michael Jordan’s second greatest teammate. Rodman only played with MJ for 3 seasons, but his impact was legendary for those years. In fact, they were invaluable. Rodman played with hustle and energy that is one of a kind in NBA history, and he also happened to be one of the best defenders and rebounders ever.
Dennis Rodman was known as the best defended in the paint because he could stifle some of the game’s best big men including Shaquille O’Neal, Alonzo Mourning, and Patrick Ewing among others. Rodman brought an incredible type of defense to Chicago and also iconic moments as the NBA’s most flamboyant star at that time.
1. Scottie Pippen
Without a doubt, Michael Jordan’s greatest teammate is one of the 50 greatest players ever in Scottie Pippen. Pippen doesn’t get his credit for how talented and impactful he was alongside Michael Jordan. As MJ said it himself, there is no way Michael wins without Pippen.
Scottie Pippen was the team’s best perimeter defender alongside Michael Jordan, and their duo might be the best ever considering what they accomplished. While MJ was the unstoppable scoring machine, Pippen was an amazing playmaker and suffocating defender that complemented Jordan perfectly. Pippen’s 6 rings are mainly because of Michael Jordan, and MJ was without a doubt the man, but Pippen helped MJ have more success than any other player on this list.