Michael Jordan was upset after being left off the All-Defensive team in 1987.

Michael Jordan’s competitiveness is legendary. And so, when His Airness was left off the All-Defensive teams in 1987, one can only imagine the fire that was ignited within him.

This snub didn’t sit well with Jordan at all. He felt disrespected and overlooked despite his historic showing that season, wherein he was the first player to register over 200 steals and 100 blocks in a season.

It didn’t take much to rile up Jordan, so when Los Angeles Lakers guard Michael Cooper won the Defensive Player of the Year award that season, it was like pouring gasoline on a fire.

Snubbed
Jordan had a spectacular season in 1987, as he averaged a league-leading 37.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 2.9 steals, and 1.5 blocks per game. He also would have become the second player in league history after “The Logo” Jerry West to lead the league in scoring and earn a spot on the All-Defensive teams had he gotten into either the first or second team.

However, it was not meant to be. Even though Cooper had nothing to do with Jordan’s snub, His Airness took it as a personal insult. In his mind, he was the best defender in the league and felt disrespected by not being recognized for it.

“Michael Cooper is great at ball denial. But check his other stats. This league gives defensive awards on reputation. It just tees me off,” Jordan said to Sports Illustrated in 1987.

The snub also took some coaches by surprise, with former Bulls legend Jerry Sloan chiming in, saying, “I’m not so sure Michael’s not one of the better defensive players in basketball. He doesn’t hound you to death. He’s just got so much athletic ability, he can cover anybody.”

The following season, Jordan came back with a vengeance and nabbed the Defensive Player of the Year award as well as the Most Valuable Player trophy. He led the NBA in scoring with 35 points per game and steals, with 3.2 per outing, showcasing his impressive abilities on both ends of the floor.

The following season, Jordan came back with a vengeance and nabbed the Defensive Player of the Year award as well as the Most Valuable Player trophy. He led the NBA in scoring with 35 points per game and steals, with 3.2 per outing, showcasing his impressive abilities on both ends of the floor.

 

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