When Michael Jordan's Teammate Revealed His Airness' Difficulty With Guarding Penny Hardaway

Michael Jordan's teammate revealed that for the first time he saw Jordan having a difficult time guarding anyone.

Updated on May 21, 2024  |  10:41 PM IST |  84.6K
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Penny Hardaway and Michael Jordan

The Orlando Magic appeared to be on their way to overtaking or deposing the Chicago Bulls as the Eastern Conference's dominant team in the middle of the 1990s. Sadly, the team's plans were thwarted by rumors of internal strife and Shaquille O'Neal's decision to leave Penny Hardaway in search of better opportunities.

Nevertheless, the Magic of the O'Neal era was a formidable force, particularly because of the big man's effective tandem with the upcoming star Hardaway. Michael Jordan's 1984 Olympic teammate Jon Koncak claimed that the Chicago Bulls legend was "frustrated" trying to guard the former Magic star.

Penny Hardaway vs Michael Jordan

What Did Jon Koncak Say?

Koncak said, "I played with Michael Jordan on the '84 Olympic team. We got to know one another well that summer and were friends throughout our playing career. It was the first time that I'd ever seen Michael have a difficult time guarding someone. I vividly remember Michael being so frustrated that he couldn't stop him." 


Hardaway Outscoring MJ

Given that Koncak only ever spent one season with Orlando—the 1995–96 season, to be precise—the game he was most likely referring to was their opening matchup with the Bulls in that season.

Chicago had been eliminated by Hardaway and company in the previous postseason, so they were probably looking for revenge that night. It's interesting to note that during Jordan's tenure with the team, the Bulls only lost one postseason series from 1991 to 1998. Penny ruined Chicago's plans once more, finishing with 36 points on 12-of-18 shooting from the field. Additionally, the Magic triumphed 94-88, handing the Bulls their first of ten losses during the regular season that year.  

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