Bill Walton Outburst at Danny Ainge During Michael Jordan 63-Point Showcase Recalled

Exploring a historic NBA clash and a legendary performance.

by Nouman Rasool
Bill Walton Outburst at Danny Ainge During Michael Jordan 63-Point Showcase Recalled
© Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

In a gripping tale of basketball lore, the 1986 Eastern Conference playoffs saw the Boston Celtics, led by Larry Bird, face off against a young and dynamic Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. This historical clash, especially remembered for Jordan's staggering 63-point performance in Game 2, remains a pivotal moment in NBA history.

Danny Ainge, then a guard for the Celtics, faced the Herculean task of defending Jordan. Reflecting on this in a recent episode of the "Y's Guys" podcast, Ainge recounted the intense pressure of the matchup. He humorously recalled an incident where his teammate, Bill Walton, openly chastised him during the game.

Frustrated after fouling out while guarding Jordan, Walton berated Ainge, urging him to stick to his man rather than switch. Ainge's response was light-hearted, quipping that he wanted Walton to understand the challenge of guarding Jordan.

Celtics' Triumph, Jordan's Feat

Despite Ainge and Walton's struggles, the Celtics triumphed in Game 2, led by Bird's 36 points, eventually sweeping the Bulls in the series. This victory paved the way for their eventual 1986 NBA Championship win.

Yet, Jordan's 63-point feat, a record for a postseason game, stood out as a testament to his emerging greatness. Larry Bird, the Celtics' star, was in awe of Jordan's performance, famously likening him to "God disguised as Michael Jordan." Walton, too, admired Jordan's prowess, acknowledging the game as a showcase of the best in basketball and sportsmanship.

Jordan's iconic 63-point game remains unparalleled in NBA history. No player since has managed to eclipse this record in a postseason game, marking it as a singular achievement in the annals of basketball. This performance not only highlighted Jordan's exceptional talent but also set the stage for his legendary career, filled with remarkable playoff performances.

The Celtics-Bulls series of 1986, particularly Game 2, is remembered not just for the Celtics' path to the championship, but also for showcasing the early brilliance of Michael Jordan, a glimpse of the legend he was to become.

Michael Jordan