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Michael Jordan 1989 Playoffs: 32pts, Gm 6 vs. Detroit Pistons

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Published on Jun 17, 2011

As the world currently ululates against Lebron James' recent shortcomings in the 2011 NBA Finals, it is just another reminder of how truly impenetrable the sanctity of Michael Jordan's legacy is. Thanks to Scottie Pippen's mentioning of Lebron in the same sentence as MJ just before the Finals, it served as a harbinger of things to come when anyone is compared to MJ; that is - the laughable absurdity of comparing anyone to MJ at all.

While it is disastrous to compare anyone to the level of mastery MJ was able to attain, it can be intriguing to see another great player at the same age or arc in their careers. In this famous game, MJ is also age 26 and facing what would become that year's champion Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Finals. MJ is also down 2-3 games and facing elimination.

But that's where the similarity ends. With Pippen out in the first minute with a concussion and MJ battling a groin/thigh injury, MJ truly became a one man gang and attacked Game 6 with all of his weapons blazing - going out with absolutely no bullets. In what was one of the most aggressive and inspiring performances ever in a loss, MJ initiated or was wholly involved in what appeared to be 99 of 100 plays. Whether it was scoring, passing, asserting his dominance while simultaneously uplifting his teammates, being the defensive stopper or plugging holes as the utility man - the passion, skill, and intensity with which MJ played was a spiritual experience.

In the end, one can sense the seething pain burning in MJ as he walks off the court -- the pain that ultimately made him the greatest. That is the purity of sport that MJ was able to communicate and that is why he is the most inspiring athlete of all time.

(Thanks to mjair10rtg for the opening layup clip. You can watch the full video of his here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fU8YwE...)

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