Chicago guard Michael Jordan, the first player to lead the NBA in scoring and steals in a season, Thursday was named the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year, the league announced.
Jordan received 37 of 80 votes from a media panel - three from each league city and 11 representatives of the national media. Mark Eaton of Utah finished second with nine votes, followed by Akeem Olajuwon of Houston with seven. Sixteen players received votes.Jordan, who is 6-foot-6 and 198 pounds, led the Bulls to a 50-32 record - Chicago's best since 1974 and the third-best record in the Eastern Conference.
Jordan had 259 steals for a 3.16 average. He also averaged 35 points per game to lead the league for the second straight season. Jordan's 10 steals against New Jersey Jan. 29 was the most by a player in an NBA game this season.
"It shows the versatility of a player, being able to play both ends of the floor," Jordan said. "That's something I strive for. I've been taught defense. I like to play defense. I just want some credit for my defense. If that means taking credit away from my offense, fine."
Jordan also led the Bulls and NBA guards with 131 blocked shots. Last season, he became the first player in NBA history to record more than 200 steals and 100 blocks. He duplicated the feat this year.
"He leads the league in scoring, but he is just as big a threat defensively," Dallas guard Derek Harper said of Jordan.
Previous winners of the Defensive Player of the Year award were Sidney Moncrief of Milwaukee in 1983 and 1984, Mark Eaton of Utah in 1985, Alvin Robertson of San Antonio in 1986 and Michael Cooper of the Los Angeles Lakers in 1987.