4. Dominique Wilkins, Atlanta Hawks
The rivalry between the Atlanta Hawks and the Chicago Bulls throughout the history of each franchise is underrated and flies way too far under the radar. The Hawks were actually the first team to ever knock out the Bulls franchise in any playoff series. The Bulls-Hawks rivalry doesn’t stem to the same division, but it does stay in the same conference throughout most of NBA history.
The next name up on the list here is well-deserved and brought about some very fun rivalries with the Bulls. Hall-of-Fame 6-foot-8 small forward Dominique Wilkins was one of the overall most fun players to watch in the history of the NBA. But he was a terror for the Bulls to face. He averaged more points per game against only one other team compared to the Bulls (the Kansas City/Sacramento Kings). He averaged 27.0 points per game in 66 games played against the Bulls and 27.2 against the Kings.
Maybe the most stingy rival of MJ that flies too far under the radar is Wilkins. The two averaged around the same number of points per game when they faced each other during the regular season. The record between Wilkins and MJ did fall in favor of the Bulls, 27-18. But Wilkins averaged 29.8 points per game compared to 31.6 for MJ.
The two only faced each other three times in the playoffs, with all three matchups falling in favor of MJ and the Bulls. But both MJ and Wilkins averaged at least 30 points per game in those three matchups between each other in the playoffs.
Where this rivalry between Wilkins and MJ truly took center stage was in the controversial 1988 Slam Dunk Contest. A lot of basketball fans for a long time felt like Wilkins deserved to win this contest, but that MJ got the favor of a little home cooking at the old Chicago Stadium.