Jordan may be the greatest of all time, but he had to earn that title against some of the NBA's greatest legends.  Competing on an annual basis for the NBA Championship with the likes of Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, Gary Payton, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, Jordan's drive to establish himself as the greatest NBA star in history was earned in epic battles of blood and sweat.  

Even casual NBA fans are familiar with the Jordan Rules, a term coined by Detroit Pistons star point guard Isiah Thomas (not to be confused with the diminutive Isaiah Thomas of todays Boston Celtics) for the punishing physical play the team had planned for Jordan.  While nothing really slowed Jordan, it was a simple plan: Jordan was to knocked to the ground whenever he drove to the paint.  No free layups or dunks would be allowed.  Defensive stars like Dennis Rodman, Bill Laimbeer and John Salley would body Jordan as often as possible to tire him. Tough nosed Piston's guard Joe Dumars would attempt to wear Jordan down by picking him up in a full court press.  The idea was to make the game as exhausting and physical as possible.  Jordan rose to the occasion, refusing to be intimidated, and the most physical war the NBA had ever seen was born: Michael Jordan vs. The Bad Boys.  

The Bad Boys, the nickname given to the Pistons due to their roster consisting of some of the NBA leaders in technical fouls and non-basketball related oncourt antics, may not have earned that name without Dennis Rodman.  Rodman's antics continued on throughout his Hall of Fame career, including later in his career when he joined Jordan on the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls.  That Bulls team won a record 72 games, finishing 72-10 in the regular season and going on to defeat Shawn Kemp and the Seattle Supersonics.  Check out Rodman messing with Kemp in this video:

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