Michael Jordan is frequently considered the greatest player of all time – even by famous athletes. The legacy that MJ left behind is incomprehensible and the Chicago Bulls star was too strong for his opponents.
How many triple-doubles did Michael Jordan have? Michael Jordan managed to collect 28 triple-doubles during 15 seasons in the NBA. In addition, he had 2 triple-doubles in the playoffs and 1 in an All-Star game. MJ ranks 18th in the all-time list of leaders.
Michael Jordan may not be the most versatile player of all time, but he still got quite a few triple-doubles during his career. In this article, we will have a thorough look at Jordan’s most prominent triple-doubles.
First Triple-Double in 1985
Michael Jordan recorded his first-ever career triple-double on January 14, 1985, when the Bulls were playing against the Denver Nuggets. Chicago won the match 122-133 and MJ had 35 points, 14 rebounds and 15 assists! This was a phenomenal performance from the leader of the Chicago Bulls and he was simply unstoppable during the game. During that season Jordan had 2 more triple-doubles against the New York Knicks and the Milwaukee Bucks.
1988-1989 Regular Season – the Most Successful Season
When we talk about triple-doubles accomplished by Michael Jordan, we should certainly mention the 1988-1989 regular season, when MJ had the most of them. He also had an incredible streak of 7 consecutive and 10 in 11 games that started on March 25, 1989, against the Seattle SuperSonics. Jordan had 21 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists and the Bulls one 111-110. His final triple-double during that season came against the Washington Bullets (34 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists).
It is an interesting fact that Jordan managed to achieve 15 triple-doubles in a single season, primarily because he was playing as a point guard. In addition, he made sure he got the necessary stats, by staying games, checking the scoreboard. At some point, the league told him to stop doing that.
1989-1997 – 8 Triple-Doubles
As MJ’s career progressed he collected fewer triple-doubles compared to previous years. We should also remember that Jordan retired twice when he was playing in the NBA and this was also a determining factor, that he did not have more. In fact, he only had 1 triple-double in the 1989-1990 season which happened against the Portland Trail Blazers. Michael Jordan had 35 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. His final triple-double during the 1996-1997 season was against the Toronto Raptors. In this match, which the Chicago Bulls won 117-100, MJ grabbed 30 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.
While Jordan played several seasons afterwards, he did not add to his tally of triple-doubles and successfully retired.
MJ in the Playoffs – Terrorizing the Knicks
We have mentioned above that Michael Jordan had only 2 triple-doubles in the playoffs. The first one came on May 9, 1989, against the New York Knicks. In this encounter, Jordan managed to grab 34 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists. This match was during the Eastern Conference semifinals.
In the 1993 playoffs, only this time in the Conference Finals, against the same New York Knicks, Michael Jordan had 29 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists. The Chicago Bulls won a tight game – 97-94. Of course, Jordan’s role in the defeat was crucial, and later he led the team to the 3rd championship title against the Phoenix Suns.
1997 All-Star Game and Triple-Double
Michael Jordan was a regular representative of the All-Star game, where he always demonstrated his impeccable dunking and shooting skills. On February 9, 1997, at Cleveland, Michael Jordan had 14 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. It was actually the only triple-double in the history of All-Star until 2011 when LeBron James achieved the same milestone. While Jordan had impressive stats, he did not become the MVP and this award went to Glen Rice.
Jordan Did Not Need Triple-Doubles to be the Best
Even though Jordan did not have as many triple-doubles as other players including Oscar Robertson, Russell Westbrook, Jason Kidd or LeBron James, it did not interfere with him becoming one of the best players of all time. Achieving triple-doubles was not the main goal of MJ – though we have seen that he managed to do that perfectly during the season where he had 15 triple-doubles. He was aimed at destroying opponents and scoring a lot of points against them. When it was needed, Jordan could play aggressive defence against other teams and he won the award of the Defensive Player of the Year once. He did what was best for the Bulls from a particular point of view.
Jordan is an Iconic Figure
Jordan has reached a position in American society that no black athlete has ever held before. The legends of the past could be admired, but they never left the limited area of sports. Muhammad Ali, in his prime, alienated parts of white America with his political views. Magic Johnson shared the podium with Bird. And in the case of Jordan, it all came together: his acting, Nike’s original promotion, cultural and interracial changes in the 90s led to the fact that Jordan was one of the main spokesmen for these changes, along with Michael Jackson, Oprah and ultimately by Barack Obama.
His cultural influence has not diminished to this day. The whole league has gone over to oversized shorts. Bald heads have come into vogue as a symbol of masculinity. Jordan is the main figure to this day in the NBA.