It seems like every NBA fan remembers the iconic crossover Allen Iverson hit on Michael Jordan. But did you know a year later, fans witnessed Jordan’s retaliation to Iverson’s crossover? Michael Jordan is someone who takes any slight against him personally. This is one of the reasons why the Chicago Bulls legend is often considered the GOAT.
Jordan’s killer mindset set him apart from the other great players of his time. Anytime Jordan felt disrespected by a player, he used that energy against them. MJ was even known to make up a slight to get an advantage on his opponent. One famous example was the LaBradford Smith incident.
In 1993, the Chicago Bulls played the Washington Bullets in Chicago. Even though the Bulls won 104-99, Smith outplayed Jordan, scoring 37 to MJ’s 25. The Bulls would turn around and play the Bullets on the very next day, this time in Washington. The story goes, after the first game, Smith put his arm around Jordan and said, “Nice game, Mike.”
This fueled Jordan, who reportedly said he’d score Smith’s total of 37 in the first half. Jordan would not score 37 in the first half. Instead, he netted 36. Jordan was on top of his game as the Bulls won 126-101. MJ scored 47 in the game, while Smith was held to 15.
Fast forward to 1997, Allen Iverson famously crossed Jordan, scoring a jumper over the fingertips of His Airness. The Bulls defeated the 76ers 108-104, but all anyone could think of was Iverson’s move against Jordan.
Iverson once recalled that years later, Jordan still had not forgotten what Iverson had done to him.
"“I went to a Charlotte Hornets game, and he had me come in, and we in the back, and me and him just sitting back and drinking and reminiscing or whatever, and I was like, ‘Man, I love you, man.’ And he was like, ‘You don’t love me, you lil b****. You wouldn’t have crossed me up like that if you did.’ Everybody in the room just bust out laughing, man. It was crazy,” Iverson said."
Michael Jordan’s rivalry with Allen Iverson wasn’t as one-sided as you may remember.
A year later, Jordan would get his revenge. The Bulls were in Philadelphia playing the 76ers, which was the same scenario in the previous season, where Iverson crossed MJ.
This time, Iverson tried his move again, but Jordan was ready.
Iverson attempted a crossover, but Jordan got his hand on the ball, knocking it loose. The Answer would get the ball back, and he attacked Jordan. MJ stayed on the quicker Iverson, who took a tough shot over The GOAT. Iverson missed his attempt, and Jordan came away with the rebound.
This was great defense by an older Jordan on one of the most explosive young players in the game at the time. The crazy thing about Jordan’s revenge was that his Bulls lost the game. The 76ers won 106-96 behind Iverson’s 31 points. Jordan would score just 20 points on 9-23 shooting.
Of course, Jordan and Chicago would go on to win their sixth NBA championship of the 1990s later in the season. So, I don’t think the loss bothered Jordan too much. Still, the video of Jordan stopping Iverson should be played as much as the time Iverson became famous by crossing over the GOAT, Michael Jordan.