Michael Jordan does not need an introduction, because his name transcends all of the professional sports across the world. Widely regarded as the greatest athlete to have ever played team sports, Jordan is known for his athleticism, killer instinct, and near-perfection in how he played the game. More specifically, people always refer to his perfect 6-0 Finals record.
But Jordan did not become a clutch killer in the pros, it started way before. The all-time great shooting guard was a dominant player for his college team, the University of North Carolina, and was his usual self whenever he represented Team USA on the international playing field. Wherever Jordan went, he would win and would never lose in the biggest games of them all. NBA fans and pundits always try to stir up GOAT debates in professional basketball, but there might simply never be a comparison to Michael Jordan because he was undefeated in all major championship games.
NCAA Finals (1-0)
1982 Championship Game: A Sign Of Things To Come
The greatness of Michael Jordan would become prevalent as early as his college days. Jordan was a spectacular college player, as he completed 3 seasons with the University of North Carolina. The shooting guard played 34 games in his freshman season, averaging 13.5 PPG in 34 appearances. But Jordan would make his presence known in the biggest moment, which came in the 1982 championship game against Patrick Ewing and Georgetown.
With UNC trailing 62-61 with 32 seconds remaining in the game, Jordan hit an elbow jump shot with 17 seconds left for a one-point lead. The future Hall of Famer knew his shot was going to fall with victory on the horizon because Georgetown would turn the ball over to finish the game. Jordan registered 16 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 steals while solidifying himself as one of the greatest to have ever played for the Tar Heels.
FIBA Gold Medal Games (2-0)
1983 Pan American Games: An International Introduction To Jordan’s Greatness
Michael Jordan was only 19 years old when he represented Team USA in the 1983 Pan American Games, something spectators still have a hard time believing. The young superstar would average a team-leading 17.3 PPG during the tournament, and spearheaded a USA squad that would go a perfect 8-0.
In the gold medal game, Jordan would be a part of a USA Team that would handle Puerto Rico in a 101-85 victory to win Gold. Michael would be the standout player of the tournament, attempting the most shots on the team and scoring the most points. Welcome Jordan to the international stage, because there would be more to come.
1992 FIBA Americas Championship: The Beginning Of The Dream Team
The Dream Team debuted in 1992, the FIBA Americas Championship. That meant Michael Jordan had 10 other Hall of Famers by his side including Magic Johnson and Larry Bird among many others. As expected, Team USA wiped the floor in the group stage, amassing a +224 point differential.
In the knockout stages, Jordan and company demolished Puerto Rico and later Venezuela in the gold medal game. Thanks to a 127-80 beatdown, Jordan would win yet another gold medal and go 6-0 in the 1992 tournament. While Jordan hardly had a competition on his level, this is yet another example of perfection in championship games whenever he played in them.
1984 Summer Olympics: More Gold For Jordan
The most important tournament for Team USA at an international level comes in the Olympics. This is where all the best players around the world team up with a chance to represent their country to their fullest ability. As expected, Team USA were the favorite with 4 All-Americans including Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, Wayman Tisdale, and Sam Perkins.
Every player on Team USA was under the age of 24, and Jordan was only 21 years old when he helped his team go a perfect 8-0 in the Olympics. This was officially the coming-out party by the young Michael Jordan, as he led Team USA in scoring (17.1 PPG) and dazzled the worldwide audiences with his athleticism and dominance on the court. With a perfect slate to win Gold, the world knew Michael Jordan was the best basketball player in the world.
1992 Summer Olympics: The Ultimate Star For The Dream Team
The Dream Team’s debut in 1992 went… as expected. There is no doubt this was the best team ever created because 11 Hall of Famers including Michael Jordan would prove to be too much for any country. Team USA wiped the floor with opponents at an average of 44 PPG en route to the gold medal showdown against Croatia. Jordan finished 4th on Team USA in scoring (12.7 PPG) and was his usual dazzling self whenever he was on the court.
Quite frankly, the team was too strong and Jordan actually used his time on the court with his USA teammates to learn more about their weaknesses. After Jordan captured his second Olympic medal, he went on to defeat the 3 top scorers for Team USA (Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, and Chris Mullin) in the NBA Finals. There will never be a more competitive player than Michael Jordan, as winning a gold medal led him to win more trophies in the NBA.
NBA Finals (6-0)
1991 NBA Finals: Jordan Beat Magic And Lakers
Arguably the most impressive Finals series and most valuable of Jordan’s rings was his first one. MJ took the Chicago Bulls to the Finals against a rampant Los Angeles Lakers squad led by Magic Johnson, James Worthy, and Byron Scott. But Jordan was so spectacular in this Finals series, it is hard to put it into words.
Michael averaged 31.2 PPG, 6.6 RPG, and 11.4 RPG, and 2.8 SPG en route to a 5-game “gentleman’s sweep”. Jordan got it done on both ends of the floor and was efficient nailing 55.8% from the field. Michael Jordan finally got his ring, and years of getting beat up by the Celtics and Pistons were way behind him. Finally, it was Jordan’s time to build his GOAT status.
1992 NBA Finals: Jordan Made It Personal Against Drexler
The following year, Jordan was once again the best player in the game. The shooting guard led the NBA in scoring at 30.1 PPG during the regular season and guided the Bulls to a 67-15 record. In the Finals against the Trail Blazers, Jordan averaged 35.8 PPG and 6.5 APG to finish off the series in 6 games.
The Trail Blazers were primed for a championship, led by Drexler, Jerome Kersey, Terry Porter, and Buck Williams. But Jordan simply outplayed Drexler and put away any comparisons between them once and for all. When Michael had extra motivation, he was unstoppable and his second straight championship was proof of that.
1993 NBA Finals: A Historic 3-Peat
In what might be one of the best Finals series ever by a player, Jordan averaged 41.0 PPG, 8.5 RPG, and 6.3 APG to defeat the Phoenix Suns in 6 games. Once again, Michael did not need a Game 7 to win a championship, and hint, he never will.
Coming up against the league MVP Charles Barkley and the Suns, Jordan would play an extraordinary amount of minutes. On the court 45.7 MPG, the legendary scorer knew he had to turn it on a notch to handle a stacked Suns team that finished 62-20 during the season. Barkley is an all-time great, but Jordan is levels above anyone who ever played and completed his first 3-peat.
1996 NBA Finals: The Best Season Ever
This was the year the Chicago Bulls went 72-10, a then-record for the best record in the league before the Golden State Warriors broke it in 2016. Michael averaged 30.4 PPG during the regular season and continued where he left off after retiring for 2 seasons. As far as the Bulls were concerned, the best player in the game was back.
With a dominant lineup featuring Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman, the Bulls made it to the Finals. Coming up against the 64-18 SuperSonics, it would not be easy for Chicago. But Jordan would average 27.3 PPG in the series while ending Seattle in Game 6 to win ring #4 and kickstart the dynasty all over again.
1997 NBA Finals: Dominance Of Chicago Bulls
Michael Jordan and the Bulls would have a tall task ahead of them the following season, this time against Karl Malone and the Utah Jazz. Chicago posted a 69-13 record, but the Jazz had a 64-18 record and two superstars who were perfect together in John Stockton and Malone. But Jordan could not lose a Finals series, could he?
More dominance ensued from #23 as the shooting guard averaged 32.3 PPG in the series and managed to outplay both Stockton and Malone to win his 5th championship and 5th Finals MVP Award. With his first hand completely covered in championship rings, it was time for Jordan to go for his second 3-peat.
1998 NBA Finals: GOAT Status Solidified Forever
As expected, the Utah Jazz made it to the Finals to represent the East. Stockton and Malone were back at their best, finishing with a 62-20 record in the regular season. Utah were hell-bent on winning their first title, and they believed Jordan could not repeat the same performance all over again.
Michael averaged 33.5 PPG in the series, although heavy minutes (41.7) resulted in lower efficiency as the GOAT shot under 43% for the series. Still, Jordan would not allow a Game 7 as the series ended in 6 games. “The Shot” also happened during the series, as Michael’s game-winner over Byron Russell is still one of the greatest plays in the history of basketball. With his 6th ring, Jordan solidified himself for eternity as the greatest player of all time and in all honesty, it is not close.