On October 10th, 1992, Michael Jordan and the Bulls played the Knicks in a preseason game at Madison Square Garden. During the third quarter, a skirmish broke out between Jordan and New York Bull Carmelo Anthony. Jordan got the best of Anthony, who gave a little shove as the two went up for a rebound. Jordan went down, and had to be helped off the court by MSG trainer Kevin Loughery. The only player on the Knicks who was not involved in the scuffle was center Charles Oakley. When the dust settled, Jordan was back on the bench, and the Knicks were down by 11.
Michael Jordan’s feud with NBA commentator Greg Anthony was well documented in the ’90s, leading up to their infamous scrap in the 1997 playoffs. The incident, which took place when the Bulls played the Knicks, gave birth to the Chicago Bulls-New York Knicks rivalry.
It’s hard to imagine that The Knicks and Bulls were ever rivals. Until Ron Artest’s infamous incident, the two teams were the best of friends. Sure, they hated each other on the court, but off the court it was all love. That rivalry was born out of the Bulls success against the Knicks in the late 80’s and early 90’s, and was cemented in the playoffs, when the Knicks finished the Bulls in 4 straight games in the playoffs.
During the 1991 NBA Playoffs, Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls comfortably defeated the New York Knicks, but the next season was a different story. Pat Riley’s squad pushed its physical will on Jordan and the Bulls, as though evoking the legendary Detroit Pistons “Bad Boys” teams, extending the series to seven games and cementing Jordan’s reputation as a villain for years to come. Jordan almost came to blows with a rookie guard named Greg Anthony in December 1991, setting the tone for the rivalry.
Michael Jordan and a first-year player In December 1991, Greg Anthony and another man almost came to blows.
In 1991, Michael Jordan and the Bulls had finally defeated the Bad Boys, but it was only a matter of time until another team attempted to imitate Detroit’s style of play in order to dethrone MJ and the Bulls. Pat Riley’s New York Knicks were that squad.
The Knicks had troublesome guards who could play violently, much as Pistons guards Isiah Thomas, Mark Aguirre, and others were not hesitant to mix things up with their opponents. Jordan’s main annoyance was usually John Starks. His Airness, on the other hand, had a lot of run-ins with Greg Anthony.
Anthony was a key member of the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels in the early 1990s. He was the 12th overall selection in the 1991 NBA Draft and now played for Riley, a legendary NBA coach. Antony, understandably, attempted to adjust to Riley’s more muscular style of play. This was never more evident than in a December 1991 game against the Bulls.
With Starks on the wing, Jordan was isolated, while Anthony guarded former Bulls point guard John Paxson at the top of the key. Anthony rushed over and basically pushed MJ to the ground as he drove into the lane.
As he tumbled to the ground, the reigning MVP tossed the ball at Anthony’s head, jumping back up and ready to confront the Las Vegas native. Despite giving Jordan six inches, Anthony squared up like he was ready to fight.
That was the season’s first meeting between the Bulls and the Knicks. It is also the pivotal moment that set the tone for one of the greatest NBA rivalries of the 1990s, especially in light of what transpired later in the year.
In the 1992 NBA Playoffs, the Knicks took the Bulls to seven games and faced them on a regular basis in the playoffs.
In the 1992 Eastern Conference playoffs, the upstart Knicks had little chance against the 67-15 Bulls. Right? Michael Jordan and company would cruise past New York just like they did the previous season, right? No, not at all.
Game 1 was a loss for Chicago at home. The Bulls bounced back to win the following two games, but in Game 4, New York tied the series at two games each. From there, the two teams exchanged victories, with the Bulls eventually winning in seven games.
While the Bulls won the series, the Knicks made a statement with their performance and willingness to go after Chicago physically. Xavier McDaniel, Charles Oakley, and Anthony Mason all attempted to make their presence felt in the game. The guards of Chicago were targeted by Starks and Anthony. Riley’s Knicks were clearly going to be a power to be reckoned with in the future, and a formidable opponent for the Bulls.
In fact, the Bulls and Knicks clashed in the playoffs many more times. New York even grabbed a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals in 1993 and went on to beat a Bulls team without Jordan in 1994, albeit it was another closely fought series.
In any case, during the 1992 playoffs, the Knicks conveyed a message to the Bulls, albeit the original declaration came from Anthony the previous December.
In 1993, Jordan and Anthony were involved in yet another high-profile incident.
Jordan’s clashes with the Knicks were many | Tom Berg/WireImage
After the first run-in, Greg Anthony didn’t stop antagonizing Michael Jordan. During the Eastern Conference finals in 1993, he and MJ were once again in the news.
Anthony was dismissed for a flagrant foul on Jordan in Game 2 of the series, which the Knicks won. The Bulls player allegedly said that he would meet Anthony in the alley, but Anthony refused to back down.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Anthony remarked of Jordan’s apparent threat, “He can say anything he wants.” “I have no fear of anybody. That didn’t keep me up at night.”
Anthony’s willingness to put his body on the line to take on Jordan appeared to irritate MJ. But those characteristics, as well as the animosity between the two players, had been there from the first time they shared an NBA court together, laying the groundwork for one of the greatest rivalries in NBA history.
Michael Jordan savagely taunted a top defensive foe by counting down from 40 after each basket: ‘If He Gets to 0, He Got 40’
In a sense, this one is a bit of a cheat, considering I’m talking about a rivalry that actually began in the early 1990s, but it’s a great example of how nasty NBA rivalries can get. In 1991, after a Jordan-led Bulls side had won three successive NBA championships, the Knicks defeated them in the Eastern Conference Finals before going on to win the series 4-3. Ever since, the two teams have been going at each other. The Knicks have a slight edge in the rivalry, having won a record seven series to the Bulls’ five, but there have been a number of memorable games in the competition. In the second round of the 1970 NBA Playoffs, the Knicks crushed the Bulls, setting up a Finals rematch. Read more about 1997 chicago bulls and let us know what you think.
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