Michael Jordan Scored Career-High 69 Points vs. Cavs Because Fans Cheered After He Got Hurt: ‘That’s When I Went Crazy’

On March 28, 1990, NBA legend Michael Jordan had the greatest scoring game of his career. The Chicago Bulls icon poured in a whopping 69 points against the Cleveland Cavaliers to lead his team to a 117-113 win in overtime.

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Many people speculated that Jordan went off for 69 points since no other Bulls player scored 20. However, during the summer of 1997, Jordan admitted the real reason he destroyed the Cavaliers.

After winning his fifth NBA championship in 1997, Jordan told SLAM Magazine the backstory of his memorable 69-point game against the Cavaliers in 1990. Apparently, Cleveland fans cheered after Jordan was fouled hard by Hot Rod Williams. Jordan wason the ground in pain and was mad that the crowd was cheering.

After getting up and collecting his breath, Jordan decided to teach Cavaliers fans a lesson to never celebrate following a player getting hurt.

“I think the game I had against Cleveland, when I had 69, that was strictly off of anger and disappointment,” Jordan said. “Earlier in the first quarter, when I think I got a hard foul from Hot Rod and I—you know, I fell the wrong way, and I was really in pain. And the whole crowd cheered! And that right there pissed me off, because they was more in tune to winning than someone’s health. And that kind of got me fired up. That’s when I went crazy.”

Not only did Jordan score 69 points in 50 minutes versus the Cavaliers, but he was also highly efficient, which shouldn’t be a surprise since he’s statistically the most efficient player in NBA history.

Jordan shot 23-of-37 from the field and 21-of-23 from the free-throw line against the Cavaliers during his 69-point game. The six-time champion also had 18 rebounds, six assists and four steals.

The Bulls only had one other player score in double-figures. That was Horace Grant, who put up 16 points. Scottie Pippen struggled in the game, shooting only 3-of-10 overall for a total of seven points. He also had a team-high eight turnovers.

Jordan put the Bulls on his back due to Pippen’s struggles and the UNC product didn’t disappoint. It was an incredible performance by Jordan, who averaged 33.6 points during the 1989-90 season to win his fourth consecutive scoring title.

The Bulls won 55 games in 1989-90 and made it to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they lost to the Detroit Pistons in seven hard-fought games.

In Episode 4 of ESPN’s “The Last Dance” docuseries, Jordan said he cried on the team bus because he was devastated about coming up one game short of reaching the NBA Finals. His father, James, came on the bus and told him to forget about the loss and gear up for next season, which turned out to be historic for the Bulls.

The 1990-91 season was celestial for Jordan and the Bulls. Jordan won his second MVP, fifth straight scoring title, first championship and first Finals MVP.

The Bulls won 61 games in the regular season and defeated the New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, Pistons and Los Angeles Lakers to capture their first title in franchise history.

Jordan may be the most decorated player of all time. Along with his six rings and six Finals MVPs, Jordan won 10 scoring titles and five regular-season MVPs. The NBA great is also the all-time leader in points per game and player efficiency rating.

Jordan averaged 31.5 points in 930 games with the Bulls. While he had several spectacular performances with Chicago, his 69-point game stands out the most.

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