Michael Jordan’s 6 Greatest Moments in the Air Jordan 6

  • Michael Jordan 1991 NBA Finals dunk
    1991 NBA Finals, Game 5

    Air Jordan VI Black/Infrared

    30 points, 10 assists, 5 steals

    The Bulls cruised through the NBA Playoffs with a 15-2 record and finished off a banged-up Lakers team in five games. With Byron Scott and James Worthy sidelined by injury, Magic Johnson couldn’t shoulder the load and the ‘91 Finals marked the end of an era as the Showtime Lakers passed the torch to the Bulls, who went on to win three straight championships. In the closeout game, MJ put together a 30-point, 10-assist, 5-steal performance as the Bulls won, 108-101.

     

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  • Switch hands layup

    Air Jordan VI Black/Infrared

    1991 NBA Finals, Game 2

    One of Jordan’s most iconic moments came in Game 2 of the ‘91 Finals. With Jordan driving down the middle of the lane going up for the dunk, Sam Perkins went up for the ball, prompting Jordan to switch from his right hand to his left hand in mid-air before kissing the ball off the glass. All Phil Jackson could do was shake his head. Poetry in motion.

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  • Michael Jordan 1991 NBA Playoffs
    1991 Eastern Conference Semifinals, Games 3 and 5

    Air Jordan VI Black/Infrared

    Game 3: 46 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds 

    Game 5: 38 points, 19 rebounds, 7 assists 

    In Jordan’s two best statistical games of the ‘91 Playoffs, the GOAT absolutely eviscerated the Charles Barkley-led 76ers. Ironically, despite scoring his playoff-high in Game 3, the Bulls lost the contest. But in the closeout game, MJ laced up his VIs and was once again spectacular with 38 points, 19 boards, and seven dimes.

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  • Debuts sneaker

    Air Jordan VI Black/Infrared

    1991 NBA All-Star Game

    MJ made his seventh straight All-Star Game in ‘91 and led the East to a win with 26 points, five rebounds, five assists, and two steals but didn’t take home MVP honors as that achievement went to Charles Barkley. While Barkley won MVP, Jordan got the last laugh in the Eastern Conference Semifinals as the Bulls steamrolled the Barkley-led Sixers in five games.

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  • Beats the Bad Boys

    Air Jordan VI Black/Infrared

    1991 Eastern Conference Finals

    For years, the Pistons were the bane of the Bulls existence and owned them in the Eastern Conference Playoffs en route to two championships. Clearly the better team in 1991, the Bulls were hellbent on beating the Bad Boy Pistons, led by Isiah Thomas. After Chicago took a 3-0 lead, the Bulls went on to blowout the Pistons thanks to Jordan’s 29 points, eight assists, and eight boards. The Pistons famously exited the court early without acknowledging the new Eastern Conference champs. The rivalry between the two teams was never the same.

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  • Michael Jordan dunks on Patrick Ewing
    "The Dunk"

    Air Jordan VI Black/Infrared

    1991 Eastern Conference First Round, Game 3

    It wouldn’t be a proper Michael Jordan post without a mention of how badly he used to beat up on the Knicks. The Bulls made quick work of New York in the opening round and MJ was his usual dominant self. In the closeout game, MJ dropped 33 points to go along with seven assists and six steals in 39 minutes. As the second quarter was winding down, Jordan shook John Starks and Charles Oakley, went baseline, and dunked all over Patrick Ewing in one of his greatest dunks of all time and one that snatched the soul right out of Knicks fans.

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  • Michael Jordan 1991 NBA Finals dunk
  • Michael Jordan 1991 NBA Playoffs
  • Michael Jordan dunks on Patrick Ewing

The 1990-1991 season proved to be a turning point in Michael Jordan’s career. Finally capturing an elusive first championship in his seventh season, Jordan was named to the All-NBA and All-Defensive First Teams and won his second straight regular season MVP as well as his first of six Finals MVP awards. The Bulls finally beat their arch-nemesis the Bad Boy Pistons, ended the Showtime Lakers era, and began their first three-peat and subsequent reign over the rest of the NBA.

At the 1991 All-Star Game, MJ debuted the Jordan VI, one of the more timeless designs in the line’s history and one of the most important sneakers in Jordan’s history thanks to what the GOAT accomplished during that magical season. Not as heralded as the Jordan III, IV or V, the Jordan VI is easily one of the most underrated silhouettes in the brand’s well-documented history. The Tinker Hatfield-designed sneaker was inspired by Jordan’s love of fine automobiles (most notably, his affinity for the Porsche) and high-end footwear. Jordan mostly wore the Black/Infrared and White/Infrared version of the sneaker and didn’t end up debuting the highly sought after “Carmine” version of the sneaker until the following season.

Jordan’s season wasn’t short on memorable moments. While playing in 82 games, he averaged 31.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 2.7 steals, and led the Bulls to a 61-21 record. The most lasting image of the ‘91 season, of course, is an inconsolable MJ holding the Larry O’Brien trophy while his father hugs him in the locker room. With that being said, here’s a look at Michael Jordan’s 6 Greatest Moments in the Air Jordan 6.

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image via Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images