Chicago Bulls

This Date in NBA History (Nov. 1): Michael Jordan sets the tone for his first scoring title

After missing the majority of the 1985-86 season with a broken foot, Michael Jordan returned for the home stretch leading into the playoffs. His Chicago Bulls would get swept by the Boston Celtics in three games in the first round, but Jordan posted 49 points in Game 1, an NBA playoff-record 63 points in Game 2 and a near triple-double in Game 3, letting the league know just what they'd be dealing with in the near future.

On Nov. 1, 1986, in the Bulls season-opener the following year, Jordan would explode for 50 points at Madison Square Garden to defeat the New York Knicks.

He terrorized the Knicks by constantly putting pressure on their rim protectors Patrick Ewing and Bill Cartwright, forcing each of them on the brink of disqualification with five fouls apiece, getting to the free throw line 22 times in the contest.

Jordan's 50-piece came on 15-for-31 (48.4%) shooting from the field while going 20-for-22 (90.9%) from the free throw line. He did not attempt a single 3-pointer.

This would set the tone for what would become Jordan's first of 10 scoring titles in his illustrious NBA career. He averaged a career-best 37.1 points per game, scoring 60-plus points twice, 50-plus points six times and 40-plus points 29 (!) times. In fact, he was so dominant this season that he was never held to single digits and was only kept under 20 points three times while playing all 82 games of the season.

Unfortunately for Jordan and the Bulls, they would meet the Celtics in the playoffs again, where they were eliminated in three games for the second year in a row despite MJ averaging 35.7 points per game.

Also on Nov. 1...

  • Kyle Lowry made his NBA debut for the Memphis Grizzlies in 2006, going for six points, 10 rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block off the bench. A very Kyle Lowry way to make his introduction into the NBA.
  • Brandon Roy scored 20 points in his NBA debut in 2006.
  • Chris Paul had 13 points, eight rebounds and four assists in his NBA debut in 2005.
  • Allen Iverson went off for 30 points against Ray Allen in their NBA debuts in 1996.
  • Shareef Abdul-Rahim scored 16 points in his NBA debut for the Vancouver Grizzlies in 1996.
  • Steve Nash made his NBA debut, scoring zero points in only five minutes off the bench in 1996.
  • Clyde Drexler tied the NBA record for steals in a half with eight in 1996. He would finish the game with 10 steals.
  • Bob Cousy made his NBA debut in 1950, scoring 16 points.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

More from

Preview: Raptors look to keep rolling vs. Blazers
Kyle Irving
Anthony Davis, Frank Vogel
Davis (knee) upgraded to questionable vs. Heat
Kyle Irving
One Play: Giddey's no-look pass deserves another watch
Kyle Irving
LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers)
Where LeBron ranks all time in statistical categories
Nick Metallinos
Stephen Curry
Every game-winner of Curry's NBA career
Nick Metallinos
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday are undefeated in 2021-22
Bucks Big 3 improve near-undefeated 2021-22 record
Kane Pitman
More News