As WGN TV celebrates 75 years, we’re looking back with a series of stories on the history and the memories.
CHICAGO – It’s a case of where two memorable anniversaries came together on Friday to celebrate some Chicago sports history from two institutions.
February 17 is Michael Jordan’s 60th birthday as fans of the Bulls and basketball in general celebrate the achievements of what many consider the greatest player in the history of basketball. He produced a number of incredible performances and championship moments that were celebrated often on Friday.
With it being the NBA All-Star Weekend, WGN News Now decided to spotlight a specific Jordan moment on his birthday for our latest edition of “Channel 9 Was There!” It’s our way to pay tribute to the 75th anniversary of WGN-TV by showing how the station covered major sporting events.
For this, we go back to February 1988 when Chicago hosted the NBA All-Star Game for a second time. Like it was in 1973, the event was held at Chicago Stadium, with the All-Star Saturday taking place on February 6 and the game itself on February 7.
At that point, Jordan was just beginning his ascent to being one of the great superstars in the game but was still looking for a true breakthrough moment. For many, it came during those two memorable days at the first “Madhouse on Madison”
On Saturday, Jordan dueled Atlanta Hawks star Dominique Wilkins in arguably one of the best Slam Dunk Competition finals in history. The players traded a few major dunks before the Bulls’ guard finally won it by taking off from the free throw line and slamming it home to earn a perfect 50 score.
It made for an iconic video and photograph as Jordan won the Slam Dunk Competition for a second-straight year.
On February 8, with the hometown crowd behind him, Jordan further cemented himself among the greats in the game with an outstanding All-Star Game performance. In 29 minutes he scored 40 points on 17-of-23 shooting, grabbed four rebounds, and had four steals to go along with three assists.
Jordan was named the game’s Most Valuable Player and took another step on his road to becoming an icon in the NBA and in all of sports.
“Channel 9 Was There” to cover all of it at Chicago Stadium, and our Larry Hawley took a look back at how we did. You can watch that in the video above.