Michael Jordan Shatters the Backboard – Italy 1986
The art of backboard shattering starts with a towering big-man with the pure dunking horsepower comparable to an elephant stampede and ends with a silence from the crowd and a Steve Urkel-esque ‘Did I do that?’ from the man responsible for the mess of glass shards. It’s like watching two grand slams in one inning (what-up, Fernando Tatis) or back-to-back kick-off returns for TDs in that both feats are still very much possible, but highly unlikely due to improved structural design of hoops, better special-teams defense, and not allowing Chan-Ho Park to pitch for that long.
Michael Jordan is, of course, remembered for his six Championship Titles and the countless game winners, but somewhere far down that list of “Stuff MJ Did” is the time he swooped into the paint and dunked mercilessly against a professional Italian basketball team during an exhibition game in Italy. He ended up showering the very men he just posterized in a downpour of glass, the backboard now an open window after it was picked clean by the resonating thud of Jordan’s slam dunk. The cherry on top was the Michael did this wearing a pair of the Air Jordan 1s – which surely had Nike salivating at the mouth. The game was played on August 25th, 1986, and was never televised but later surfaced during a sports highlight show on a Spanish television station, an odd coincidence which only adds to the mystique, so continue reading for the rare footage of Jordan shattering the backboard and let us know if you’ve seen any better from Shaq, Darryl Dawkins, Darvin Ham, or anyone else who has victimized the rim.