Michael Jordan has plenty of legendary moments that have legendary tales attached to them. Magic Johnson added his own backstory for Jordan’s memorable shrug from the 1992 NBA Finals.
Jordan famously made six 3-pointers in the first half and had 35 points by halftime in Game 1, a blowout win for the Bulls. After the sixth 3-pointer, Jordan turned to the broadcast table and shrugged. Jordan wasn’t known as a 3-point shooter, but couldn’t miss that half.
In Chicago for All-Star weekend, Johnson explained that he was playing bid whist, a partner card game, at Jordan’s house the night before. Magic and MJ’s dad beat Jordan. Ever the competitor, Jordan was left with a bad taste in his mouth as Johnson left for the night.
He told the story at McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden’s event with the video courtesy of Heavy.com’s Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson.
Lakers legend Magic Johnson just told me Michael Jordan’s shrugging his shoulders when he drained 6 3’s against the Blazers was because Magic beat him in a card game the night before. pic.twitter.com/6JLPDI97MD— 👑📍Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson, M.A. (@ScoopB) February 14, 2020
Johnson was broadcasting the Finals for NBC that year. He says the shrug was all about him.
“He was turning to me,” Johnson said. “He was so hot that night so he owed me a lot because I’m the one he was mad at. That’s why he took it out on Clyde Drexler the next day in the game.”
As far as the NBA Finals go, the shrug is high on the list of Jordan moments. Johnson says it was all about him, which is convenient, but it sure makes for a good story.