The ever-competitive Michael Jordan played a round of golf with Boston Celtics guard Danny Ainge and “Rare Air” author Mark Vancil in between Games 1 and 2 of the 1986 NBA Playoffs, and it was a loss on the fairway that fueled a legendary performance.
“The Last Dance” documentary on ESPN revealed Jordan had played golf after the Chicago Bulls lost Game 1. Jordan scored 49 points in that game as he still managed to play while recovering from a broken foot. After losing on the golf course, Ainge said he vowed to take out his frustrations on the Celtics in Game 2.
“I took a few bucks off of Michael that day, and we’re talking trash to each other. That might have been a mistake,” Ainge said.
“We get done, we get in the car, we drop Danny off first,” Vancil said. “And Michael says, ‘Hey, tell your boy D.J. [Hall of Famer Dennis Johnson] I got something for him tomorrow.’”
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What might have been just another bit of trash talk turned out to be a performance for the ages from Jordan.
Jordan scored 63 points on 22-of-41 shooting. He added five rebounds and nine assists to his total. His points total broke Elgin Baylor’s record from 1962 and it’s still the most points scored all-time in a single playoff game.
“I played practically every minute in the second game,” Jordan said. “I just never stopped.”
Chicago still managed to lose the game and Boston would sweep the series.