Ranking Michael Jordan’s NBA All-Star Game Performances, From Worst to Best (2022)

Michael Jordan’s record in the NBA Finals—six appearances, six titles—is well-known. His All-Star record, not so much. That’s because while Jordan is rightly known for winning, he completed his 13 All-Star appearances with a losing record. After the East dropped the final two games he appeared in as a member of the Washington Wizards, Jordan would finish his All-Star career with a record of six wins, seven losses. Thankfully, his All-Star history was about more than just Ws and Ls.

A three-time All-Star MVP and two-time Slam Dunk champion, Jordan always—well, almost always—made All-Star weekend memorable. He posted the first-ever All-Star triple-double in 1997, and posted the worst-ever 3-Point Shootout opening round score in 1990. Even his failures were superlative. In 1988, Jordan welcomed All-Star weekend to Chicago Stadium by defending his Slam Dunk title on Saturday, then scored 40 and earned his first MVP honors on Sunday. This was all at the same time as the debut of the black-and-white commercials for his newest Air Jordan, featuring a motor-mouthed pitchman named Mars Blackmon.

Jordan made his All-Star debut as a rookie in 1985, his final appearance came as a 39-year-old Washington Wizard, after six championships and two retirements. He scored just seven points that first game, 20 in his last. In between, he dominated entire generations, plural, of superstars. Here’s a comprehensive look at all of Jordan’s All-Star performances, ranked from worst to best.

Year: 2002
Location:First Union Center, Philadelphia
Stats: 8 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 22 minutes
Sneakers: Air Jordan XVII Low "Lightning"
Performance Rank: 1 out of 5 Jumpmans

In a way, Jordan’s second return to the All-Star Game was similar to his first back in 1996. He missed three years instead of just two, but returned as a starter and played 22 minutes. That, however was where the similarities ended. In '96 in San Antonio, Jordan was the MVP, looking a lot like the Jordan of old. In '02 in Philadelphia, he mostly looked like an old Jordan. A week before his 39th birthday he was taking the court with players who had been too young to even watch him as a rookie—a full 10 All-Stars were making their first appearance in the game. And even with a supporting (and opposing) cast eager to see their hero, he just didn’t have it. MJ scored six points early on, with a dunk and two left-handed layups, yes, but then he missed a wide-open dunk in the open court—unheard of—and scored just two more points the rest of the way. He’d finish with eight points, his lowest All-Star point total since his rookie year. Meanwhile, the Magic’s Tracy McGrady threw an alley-oop to himself off the backboard, scoring 25 points off the bench, and one-time would-be rival Kobe Bryant won MVP honors in a homecoming of his own, with 31, 5, and 5. Fortunately for Jordan, he’d have one last chance.

Year:1985
Location:Hooiser Dome, Indianapolis
Stats:7 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, 1 block, 22 minutes
Sneakers:Air Jordan 1, black/red (Dunk Contest), white/black/red (All-Star Game)
Performance Rank: 2 out of 5 Jumpmans

The oft-told story about the 1985 NBA All-Star Game, Jordan’s first, is that he was frozen out, a victim of a plot formulated by close friends Isiah Thomas and Magic Johnson. The truth is probably a lot simpler—Jordan, then a 21-year-old rookie, was treated like one. The first rookie guard to earn a starting spot since Thomas himself in 1982, Jordan got more minutes (22 to 17) and shots (9 to 7) than Thomas did in his debut. He just missed more of them, going 2-9 from the floor. MJ did go to the line four times and throw down a, well, Jordanesque dunk on the baseline. He also took the final shot of the game, a long three as time expired, that missed. If Jordan was off his game, maybe it was due to his dunk contest efforts, where he placed second to Dominique Wilkins. But he did get to show off his new Air Jordan apparel line, as well as his black and red Air Jordans—by then already banned from in-game wear. Freezeout? Nah. Just veteran stars showing a rookie what being a rookie was all about. Still, that first game would serve as motivation for everything that would come after.

Year:1987
Location:Kingdom,Seattle
Stats:11 points, 0 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 28 minutes
Sneakers:Air Jordan II, white/red/black (Dunk Contest), white/red/grey (All-Star Game)
Performance Rank: 2 out of 5 Jumpmans

Jordan’s second All-Star game, which came in his third season thanks to a broken foot that sidelined him for most of his second, didn’t go all that much better than his first. There is a seven-minute “best plays” highlight reel from the game that includes not a one of Jordan’s five made shots—if you’re looking for dunks from a former UNC Tar Heel, you’ll get them instead from James Worthy, who went 10-14 from the floor and scored 22 points. Jordan shot just 5-12 in his 28 minutes, finishing with 11 points—second-lowest amongst East starters. He also managed 0 rebounds in an All-Star game for the only time in his career, perhaps because teammate Moses Malone, who finished with a game-high 18, got to all of them first. It was one of the greatest All-Star games ever played, and Jordan was at best a footnote. Jordan did get his revenge in the dunk contest, winning it for the first time, beating Jerome Kersey in the finals, although archrival Dominique Wilkins didn’t participate. That particular rematch would have to wait another year.

Year: 1990
Location: Miami Arena, Miami
Stats:17 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 5 steals, 1 block, 29 minutes
Sneakers:Air Jordan V white/red (three-point shootout), black/silver (game)
Performance Rank: 4 out of 5 Jumpmans

By 1990, Jordan could be forgiven for thinking he could do anything even though, well, he couldn’t. Instead of the dunk contest, Jordan entered the three-point shootout—this despite his having made just 58 threes over his first five seasons—where he flamed out of the first round with just five points. His teammate Craig Hodges would go on to win his first of three consecutive titles. Jordan fared far better in Sunday’s game, although his 17 points didn’t come close to matching his gaudy totals of ‘88 or ‘89. He recorded the final All-Star game block of his career—on Hakeem Olajuwon, no less—and dunked on then-rookie David Robinson. He only had two assists, but both led to easy dunks, one in transition to a streaking (not that kind of streaking) Dennis Rodman, the other a no-look to a wide-open Charles Barkley. His five steals were a game high. Jordan also made up for his Saturday night failure by hitting his one three-point attempt, part of a 40-point first quarter onslaught for the East that the West couldn’t come back from. Magic Johnson, who scored a game-high 22, won MVP honors.

Year: 2003
Location:Phillips Arena, Atlanta
Stats:20 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 36 minutes
Sneakers:Air Jordan XVIII white/royal
Performance Rank: 4 out of 5 Jumpmans

Jordan’s final All-Star Game was almost perfect. He played in a uniform nearly identical to the one he played his first game in back in 1985—just a little bit bigger, with a Wizards logo between his shoulder blades. In the meantime, Isiah Thomas had gone from teammate to commentator to Eastern Conference coach. And while Jordan didn’t provide any high-flying highlights at 39, he continued to teach by example to a bunch of young stars who were still in grade school when he made his All-Star debut. One of them, Shawn Marion, appearing in his first All-Star Game, played Jordan as well as anyone could as time ran down in overtime, but Jordan’s baseline fallaway skimmed over Marion’s fingertips and swished through, giving the East a two-point lead with 4.8 seconds left. Jordan extended a hand to Allen Iverson for a high five, and Iverson came in hot with an exuberant chest bump instead, giving Jordan a laugh. It would have been the game winner and quite the ending, except for an unfortunate foul by Jermaine O’Neal on Kobe Bryant on the other end with a second left, which sent it to a second overtime, and the West hung on to win, 155-145. Kevin Garnett, who scored 37 points, was named MVP. Jordan, who finished with 20 in 36 minutes, had to settle for the consolation prize—Mariah Carey, in a skintight Wizards jersey dress, serenading him at halftime. We’re guessing he would have preferred the win.

Year: 1992
Location: Orlando Arena, Orlando
Stats: 18 points, 1 rebound, 5 assists, 2 steals, 31 minutes
Sneakers: Air Jordan VII bordeaux
Performance Rank: 4 out of 5 Jumpmans

The 1992 All-Star Game in Orlando was Jordan’s first as an NBA champion, but that wasn’t the focus of the weekend. The '92 game marked the single-game return of Lakers guard Magic Johnson, who had retired the previous summer after being diagnosed with HIV, but was still voted in as a starter. He did start, played 29 minutes and led all scorers with 25 points, hitting all three of his 3-point attempts including the one that closed out the West’s 153-113 victory. Johnson was named MVP of the game, and would eventually make his NBA comeback in 1996. As for Jordan, he led all East scorers with 18, including a dunk off an inbounds alley-oop from Bulls teammate Scottie Pippen, added five assists, and cut his turnovers from the previous year’s 10 to just one. In the meantime, his black shoes had caught on, as fellow All-Stars Chris Mullin and David Robinson picked up on the trend. That summer, after winning his second straight title, Jordan would team up with Mullin and Robinson (and Johnson) on the Dream Team, winning his second Olympic gold.

Year: 1989
Location: Astrodome, Houston
Stats: 28 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 5 steals, 33 minutes
Sneakers: Air Jordan IV black/cement
Performance Rank: 4.5 out of 5 Jumpmans

Before the 1989 All-Star Game, Jordan was asked about his knee, which had been giving him trouble. “I didn’t get in the slam dunk mainly because the doctors asked me not to,” he said. “They asked me not to play in the All-Star game but I wanted to play in the All-Star game.” He played, all right. Jordan logged a game-high 33 minutes, took a game-high 23 shots, and matched Karl Malone as the game’s high scorer with 28 points. He also tied Utah’s John Stockton with a game-high five steals, with only four turnovers to Stockton’s 12. On the court, his knee didn’t seem to give him much trouble—he caught several dunks from Isiah Thomas, including an alley-oop off the backboard and a wicked full-court bounce pass, and only took one three, which he missed. Malone wound up winning MVP, only because his West squad won the game. As for Jordan’s knee, well, it seemed fine. Four days after the All-Star Game, he scored 50 points in 40 minutes against the Bucks.

Year: 1991
Location: Charlotte Coliseum, Charlotte
Stats: 26 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 10 turnovers, 36 minutes
Sneakers: Air Jordan VI black/infrared
Performance Rank: 4.5 out of 5 Jumpmans

Jordan’s true All-Star homecoming was in Charlotte, three years after he won MVP as the host in Chicago. And he treated his true hometown much like his adopted one, scoring a game-high 26 points en route to a 116-114 East win. His scoring came via what had by then become a Jordan signature All-Star style—either slashing drives down the middle or pull-ups from the elbow. It may not be an NBA staple anymore, but in the early '90s a midrange game was key, and Jordan’s was lethal. He tacked on five rebounds and five assists, along with two steals (and, um, 10 turnovers). Teammate Charles Barkley took home MVP honors with 17 points and an absurd 22 rebounds in just 35 minutes, as Jordan needed 25 shots to score those 26 points. He wore the black/infrared Air Jordan VI in the game—a few short months later he’d be wearing them again as he led his Chicago Bulls to their first NBA Championship.

Year: 1988
Location:Chicago Stadium, Chicago
Stats:40 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals, 4 blocks, 5 fouls, 29 minutes
Sneakers:Air Jordan III, white/cement (Dunk Contest), black/cement (All-Star Game)
Performance Rank: 5 out of 5 Jumpmans

The 1988 NBA All-Star Game brought all of the greats to Jordan’s Chicago Stadium, where he went out and methodically destroyed them all. After vanquishing Dominique Wilkins in the Dunk Contest, he went out and scored 40 points in Sunday’s game, rounding things out with eight boards, three assists, four blocks, and four steals in just 29 minutes. He capped off his first All-Star Game win with an alley-oop from fellow Chicagoan Isiah Thomas, and won MVP honors in front of a packed house including his mom and dad. That weekend also marked the debut of his new commercial co-starring Spike Lee as Mars Blackmon, a raucous black-and-white spot highlighting the new Air Jordans he would debut that same weekend—the white in the dunk contest, the black in the game (the black ASG shoes would become a tradition through his first retirement in 1993). The then-25-year-old Jordan would go on to win MVP and Defensive Player of the Year, but it’s hard to imagine any success was as sweet as this.

Year: 1993
Location: Delta Center, Salt Lake City
Stats: 30 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals, 5 fouls, 36 minutes
Sneakers: Air Jordan VIII aqua
Performance Rank: 5 out of 5Jumpmans

The 1993 All-Star Game wouldn’t just be Jordan’s last All-Star Game until 1996, it would be Isiah Thomas’s last All-Star Game ever, which of course meant it was the final time Jordan and Thomas would play together. Which was a damn shame, because although they were the fiercest of rivals when pitted against one another, they had amazing chemistry as teammates. Thomas always seemed to find Jordan under the basket, orchestrating backdoor cuts and lobbing perfect alley-oops. Jordan’s 30 points were his second-highest All-Star scoring total, his most since '88, and—in an uncanny preview of Finals to come—he roasted Suns guard Dan Majerle down the stretch and had a clutch blindside strip of Karl Malone in the paint. But the West held on for the 135-132 win, and Jazz teammates Malone (28 points, 10 rebounds) and John Stockton (9 points, 15 assists) were named co-MVPs in front of their home crowd. Jordan didn’t win regular-season MVP that year either, as it went to Charles Barkley. But Jordan would—as he often did—get the last laugh, winning his third straight NBA Championship along with his third straight Finals MVP.

Year: 1996
Location: Alamodome, San Antonio
Stats: 20 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 22 minutes
Sneakers: Air Jordan XI Columbia
Performance Rank: 5 out of 5 Jumpmans

A lot had happened since Jordan last played in an All-Star game. His teammate, Scottie Pippen, had been named All-Star MVP in 1994, while Pistons forward Grant Hill (who’d wind up the leading vote-getter) and Magic center Shaquille O’Neal had emerged as the East’s biggest (in Shaq’s case in the literal as well as figurative sense) stars. Jordan had also turned 30 the week prior. But from the start, Jordan was right back at home. During player introductions, he snagged Penny Hardaway’s tearaways, unsnapping them as the second-time All-Star was introduced. “He got you!” a grinning Pippen exclaimed as Hardaway reached the end of the line, still trying in vain to re-snap them. Jordan was introduced last, still laughing. Then he took to the floor in his gleaming white Air Jordan XIs—the first time he’d worn a primarily white shoe in an All-Star Game since his first in 1985—and took over. He didn’t lead the team in scoring, Shaq did that. But he did drop 20 (on 8-11 from the floor), threw down a Jumpman-esque dunk on the break, and looked like he enjoyed every minute of the 22 he played, the fewest of any Eastern starter. It was still enough to win MVP—one he’d follow with the regular season and Finals variety for the first time. But not the last.

Year: 1997
Location:Gund Arena, Cleveland
Stats:14 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists, 2 steals, 26 minutes
Sneakers:Air Jordan XII black/white
Performance Rank: 5 out of 5Jumpmans

The 1997 NBA All-Star Game in Cleveland marked the 50th anniversary of the NBA as well as recognition of the 50 greatest players in NBA history. Anywhere you went in Cleveland that weekend there were legends from every era. Six of them—Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Karl Malone, John Stockton, Joe Dumars, and Hakeem Olajuwon—took the court for the All-Star Game on Sunday. (Four others, Shaquille O’Neal, Clyde Drexler, Patrick Ewing, and Charles Barkley were selected but injured.) Then Jordan went out in his white Bulls uniform and black XIIs and did something none of these legends ever had, recording the first triple-double (14 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists) in All-Star history. He had a couple of dunks, one off a pass from former Dream Teammate (and future Wizards teammate) Christian Laettner, another when Mitch Richmond failed to put a body on him out and he caught a putback on a missed Grant Hill free throw. Jordan didn’t win MVP though—that went to East reserve Glen Rice, who came off the bench to score a game-high 26 points including four threes. Which was fine—Jordan had a bigger repeat in mind.

Year: 1998
Location:Madison Square Garden, New York
Stats:23 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 steals, 32 minutes
Accolades: MVP
Sneakers:Air Jordan XIII black/white
Performance Rank: 5 out of 5Jumpmans

Madison Square Garden had borne silent witnesses to plenty of dominant Jordan performances before. And while this was viewed by some as a passing of the torch—starting opposite Jordan at the 2 was 19-year-old Laker Kobe Bryant, in his first All-Star appearance—the soon-to-be 35-year-old Jordan wasn’t quite done yet. He established his dominance right from the start, scoring the game's first basket on a fadeaway over the outstretched fingertips of Kevin Garnett. Jordan led all scorers with 23 points, schooling young Bryant a few times in the post with impeccable footwork. And while Bryant scored 18 of his own, throwing down a couple of spectacular dunks in the process, Jordan’s East squad took the W, and Jordan won his fifth and final All-Star MVP, his second in three years. He didn’t match his triple-double of the previous year, but his final line of 23 points, eight assists, six rebounds, and three steals in 32 minutes was a fitting one to end his Bulls All-Star appearances on. Bryant? His time would come. Just not yet. At the end of the year, Jordan would retire once again at the top of his craft—another three-peat completed, another MVP trifecta earned.

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