Few people expected Michael Jordan to rise to the heights that he did when he entered the league. Jordan was selected third overall in the 1984 NBA Draft. And while people thought he could be a great player in the league, it was surprising just how great he became. Jordan's impact on the league was immediate, and within the first 4 years of his career, he established himself as one of the best players in the league.
Former Utah Jazz head coach Frank Layden was asked about Michael Jordan during a 1988 game between the Jazz and the Chicago Bulls. Layden hilariously noted that Jordan's jersey number shouldn't have been 23, but 007, because just like James Bond, he had a license to kill when he was on the basketball court.
“You see that Michael Jordan already has superstar status. He’s got the wrong number on. It should be 007, he’s got a license to kill.”
Layden was echoing the sentiments of almost everyone in the NBA at the time. Jordan was considered the most explosive offensive player in the league during that time. And whenever he was on the court, opposition players had to be on guard, because MJ could flip the switch and take over a game with his incredible offense at any point during the night.
Layden would be replaced by his assistant coach Jerry Sloan, who would build the Utah Jazz into a solid contender. Sloan, flanked by superstars John Stockton and Karl Malone, posed the biggest threat to Jordan and the Chicago Bulls during the final years of their dynasty. They faced the Bulls twice in the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998 but were vanquished both times by Michael Jordan in 6 games.