When did Michael Jordan become Michael Jordan? You could argue it was exactly 34 years ago today.

On April 20, 1986, a young Jordan led his Chicago Bulls into the Boston Garden for Game 2 of their 1986 Eastern Conference First Round playoff matchup with the Celtics.

What followed was arguably the greatest individual performance in playoff history: Jordan exploded for a playoff-record 63 points.

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The Celtics won 135-131 in double overtime and went on to sweep the series, but this game still was all about Jordan, who hit 22 of his 41 shot attempts (zero of which were 3-pointers) and 19 of his 21 free throw attempts to cement his status as an NBA great at just 23 years old.


How good was Jordan on this night? Celtics legend Larry Bird perfectly summed it up after the game:

"I think he's God disguised as Michael Jordan," Bird said. "He is the most awesome player in the NBA. Today in Boston Garden, on national TV, in the playoffs, he put on one of the greatest shows of all time."

Turns out Bird was right: The Celtics eventually won the 1986 NBA title, but Jordan would lead the Bulls to six championships while becoming arguably the greatest NBA player of all time.