Michael Jordan will be at the heart of the NBA 2K23 edition with 15 challenges to complete based on the highlights of his career. Decisive shot, domination of the opponent, handover, etc. Here’s everything you need to know about the “Jordan Challenge”.
Great comeback. More than ten years after NBA 2K11, and the appearance of the first “Jordan Challenge”, publisher 2K Sports is once again putting “His Airness” in the spotlight with 15 new challenges to complete in NBA 2K23. One way in particular to introduce the young generation to the exploits of the greatest legend of the orange ball.
And be careful, because NBA 2K23 has spared no expense in recreating the grain of the image of each era, taking into consideration the evolution of rules and trends, even reproducing the more physical game of the 1980s and 90 (warning: guaranteed frustration against the Detroit Bad Boys), or even the specific strategies put in place by the coaches to limit the impact of the Bulls megastar.
The NCAA final between North Carolina and Georgetown – 1982
In March 1982, Michael Jordan was a freshman at the University of North Carolina under legendary coach Dean Smith. The team’s third leading scorer behind James Worthy and Sam Perkins, the 19-year-old defender will nevertheless score the basket that will give his team the advantage in the dying seconds of a hard-fought final against Patrick Ewing’s Georgetown Hoyas. “I believe that this basket lit a fire in me that could make me invulnerable,” said Michael Jordan in the documentary “Air Time”, released in 1993. This shot will be the first in a long list of exploits on the floors. .
Practice match with Team USA – 1984
At the beginning of the summer of 1984, as part of its preparation for the Los Angeles Olympics, Team USA, then only made up of university players, had to take up an immense challenge. Trained by Bobby Knight, she played a series of 8 games against different teams made up of NBA players. And not just any since Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Isiah Thomas or even Clyde Drexler were opposite. Even before his first game with the pros, Michael Jordan was intractable on the pitch. Team USA’s record against the pros: 8 wins and zero losses.
First round of the playoffs against the Celtics, Game 2 – 1986
On April 20, 1986, Michael Jordan and the Bulls faced in the first round of the playoffs the Boston Celtics of Larry Bird, Robert Parish and Kevin McHale (who would win the title that year, editor’s note). Chicago clearly has no chance of winning. But in Game 2 of the series, number 23 planted 63 points in the teeth of the Boston defense. This remains, even today, the record for points scored in an NBA playoff game.
The offensive exploits of Michael Jordan will allow his team to snatch overtime, but the Celtics will eventually impose themselves on experience. The 23-year-old’s stat line is unreal: 53 minutes, 63 pts at 22/41, 19/21 free throws, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks. “I think it was God disguised as Michael Jordan”, will launch Larry Bird at the end of the meeting.
NBA All-Star Game – 1988
In an all-star game played in Chicago, when the defense still had a place in the All-Star Game, Michael Jordan topped the competition with 40 points, 17/23 on shots in a game won 138-133 by the conference. East. The player logically inherits the MVP trophy. That day, the Bulls fullback sends a clear message to the rest of the league, and to its biggest stars, by demonstrating his rage to win on both sides of the field (he will win the title of best defender that same season, editor’s note). An important moment in the career of “His Airness”.
First round of the playoffs against the Cavaliers – 1989
Tied at two sets everywhere (2-2) in the first round of the 1989 playoffs against the Cleveland Cavaliers – who were then considered the favorites in this duel – and while his team was trailing by 1 point with 3 seconds remaining, Michael Jordan will achieve a miraculous shot called “The Shot” to give victory, and qualification, to his people. Craig Ehlo, who had scored the basket allowing Cleveland to regain the advantage a few seconds earlier, could not cope with Jordan’s ability to stay in the air to register the winning basket. Just too loud!
Eastern Conference Final against the Pistons – 1989
Before dominating the NBA head and shoulders, and subduing his opponents for a long time, Michael Jordan stumbled for a long time on the Detroit Pistons, a team known for its ultra-rough defense (an understatement) in the playoffs. During Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals in 1989, the rear of the Bulls manages to register 46 points and make 5 interceptions to give the advantage to his team in the series (2-1). The Bulls would end up losing that year, however, as well as the next. Before Michael Jordan and his team finally eliminated them in 1991 in four dry games.
Game against the Dominique Wilkins Hawks – 1990
“Of all my opponents on the field, there is one who pushes me to bring out the best in myself”, launches the back of the Bulls in the documentary “Michael Jordan’s Playground” in 1990 in reference to Dominique Wilkins. Famous for their clash in the final of an anthology dunking contest in 1988, the Hawks winger and Michael Jordan also indulged in offensive displays when their teams clashed. In career, Jordan posted a record of 27 wins and 18 losses against Dominique Wilkins.
Highest career points against Cleveland – 1990
Michael Jordan particularly enjoyed playing against Cleveland. On March 28, 1990, “His Airness” caught fire on the Cavaliers’ floor and recorded his career high with 69 points (23/37 on shots), to which must be added 18 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals, and 1 versus. Michael Jordan, in his majestic insolence, will even go so far as to announce his actions in advance to his defenders (Craig Ehlo in this case) without their being able to stop him.
NBA Final against the Lakers, Game 5 – 1991
Undisputed star of the 1980s during which he won 5 titles with the Los Angeles Lakers, Earvin “Magic” Johnson faces Michael “Air” Jordan during the NBA Finals of 1991. The first victory on the floor of the Bulls leads many observers to predict an easy win for the Californians. Chicago, however, won the next four games, allowing the back of the Bulls to win the first of his six NBA titles. His tears at his father’s side, the Larry O’Brien trophy in his arms, will remain as an unforgettable moment in his career.
THE “SHRUG GAME” of the NBA Finals, Game 1 – 1992
At a time when three-pointers were far from the norm, Michael Jordan entered the 1992 NBA Finals in “human torch” mode by scoring 35 points in the first half, including six consecutive long-range shots. After his sixth 3-point shot, the Bulls guard can’t help but give a shrug (the famous ‘shrug’) as the Blazers are sickened, and the Chicago Stadium crowd goes wild . LEGENDARY.
Out of retirement against the Knicks – 1995
Just back from his first retirement, 32-year-old Michael Jordan prepares to take on one of his favorite “suffering” teams when he heads to New York’s Madison Square Garden on March 28, 1995. Bulls, decked out in number 45, has not yet regained all of its sensations just ten days after its official return to the courts. And yet. Facing the Knicks, finalist last season, Michael Jordan demonstrates that his return to the top of the NBA is only a matter of time. He finished the game with 55 points, allowing his team to win on the wire thanks to a brilliant pass for Bill Wennington in the last seconds.
NBA Final against the Sonics – 1996
During a historic season where the Bulls won 72 regular season wins (a record at the time), Chicago faced the Seattle Sonics led by Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp in the NBA Finals. Michael Jordan, despite his clumsiness (22 points, but 5/19 on shots), manages to lead his team to victory, and to the title. This is his fourth career, which retains a special flavor since it was played on Father’s Day. The rear of the Bulls, whose father was murdered in the summer of 1993, will end in tears in the locker room. Pure emotions.
NBA Final against Jazz and the “Flu Game”, Game 5 – 1997
Known as the “Flu Game” – the flu game – Game 5 of the NBA Finals in 1997 against the Utah Jazz saw Michael Jordan pull off one of his most memorable career performances. Visibly ill (we will learn later that it was food poisoning), barely standing, and while his team will be up to 16 points behind in this away game, the back of the Bulls will play more than 44 minutes to finish with an exemplary game sheet: 38 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals.
Handover with Kobe Bryant – 1997
In December 1997, the NBA witnessed the passing of the baton between Michael Jordan and the young prodigy of the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant. The 19-year-old former glory of Lower Merion High School shows off his talent with 33 points scored. Opposite, his idol totals 36 points. “Even Michael Jordan agrees to say it, this player is the future of the NBA”, launches the commentator of the time on the antenna.
NBA Finals and the “Last Shot”, Game 6 – 1998
Absolutely perfect script. For his last game in the Bulls jersey, while his team was trailing by 1 point at the end of the game, Michael Jordan made the decisive interception in the hands of Karl Malone before going to score the winning basket on the floor. Utah Jazz.
The rear of the Bulls then won his sixth and final title. And he wraps up his second “Three-Peat” in the span of a decade. The GOAT, without any possible hesitation!