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Michael Jordan and the “Double Nickel”

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Flip through the career chronicles of Michael Jordan and you’ll find yourself immersed in an anthology of god-like moments involving a basketball and a pair of Air Jordans. Sneaker News launches the first installment of “Was It The Shoes?” by re-telling one of the most iconic stories of Michael Jordan’s career – the “Double Nickel”. We’ll cover the when, where, and the how of this sensational moment of Jordan’scareer while putting a spotlight on the legendary Air Jordan sneaker worn during that game. Continue one to Was It The Shoes: Michael Jordan and the “Double Nickel” below!

Michael Jordan and Madison Square Garden – a simple equation of two heroes of basketball that result in nothing but magnificent outcomes. Michael Jordan has gracefully pranced his way around all corners of the Garden hardwood a number of times in his career, and the intangible “magic” of the Mecca has coerced some of Michael’s best performances – even the Knicks alone seem to bring out the best of Michael. But among of all of Jordan’s established performances at Madison Square Garden, it’s easy to single out one game in particular – the “Double Nickel” that occurred on March 28th, 1995.

Let’s rewind just a bit before we go over the events of the “Double Nickel”; not two weeks before that date, Jordan was sitting at home as a retired NBA player, but an uncontrollable itch that could not go unnoticed was finally scratched when he decided to return to the game once more. A day after proudly reciting the words “I’m Back”, Jordan was suited up in Chicago Bulls Red and Black, bearing the number ’45’. The rust hadn’t worn off completely as Jordan struggled to put up 19 points after hitting just one-fourth of his shots, but the world was waiting with open arms for this moment as that momentous game between the Bulls and the Pacers drew the highest television ratings for an NBA game in two decades. Did Jordan lose his edge, or had the league as a whole improve so considerably in his absence that he was just another man among many men?

Four games later, Jordan would re-take the throne as the king of the NBA. The Chicago Bulls were scheduled to face off against the New York Knicks in a much-hyped match-up between Eastern Conference powerhouses; NBC (which televised NBA games during that era) aired magical promotional television spots leading up to the game, and Michael delivered in the only he knew how – by displaying a sheer dominance on both ends of the court that awarded him three NBA Championships and multiple MVP awards in years prior. An astonished and awe-struck Madison Square Garden crowd witnessed one of Michael’s greatest games in history as he dropped 55 points with masterful efficiency and led the Chicago Bulls to a two-point win.

Ironically, what gave the Bulls the final edge wasn’t two of Michael’s fifty-five points. The game-winning shot wasn’t made Jordan, but by back-up Center Bill Wennington, who dunked an easy basket on an assist by Jordan. Jordan, guarded by long-time nemesis John Starks, drove left, spun right, drew a double-team from Patrick Ewing, and found the open man in one fluid play that, regardless of it being drawn up or on the fly, spoke volumes of Michael’s greatness. He was back, and he was back for good, and today, the “Double Nickel” stands as one of the greatest moments in NBA history.

During the “Double Nickel”, Michael Jordan sported the Air Jordan X in the White/Black-Varsity Red colorway – briefly described as the ‘Chicago’ colorway. The Air Jordan X was designed by legendary Nike architect Tinker Hatfield as a career tribute to Michael without any knowledge of a comeback of any sorts. While the “double nickel” isn’t listed as one of the career achievements on the outsole of the Air Jordan X, it certainly is a prime-time act of Jordan’s illustrious career. The Air Jordan X would only see action for a handful of games until Michael switched over to the Air Jordan XI during the 1995 NBA Playoffs. The Air Jordan X ‘Chicago’, however, did re-release in January of 2012, and stands as one of the best Air Jordan releases of the year.