Michael Jordan's Last Shot Turns 20

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20 years ago yesterday, Michael Jordan took his last shot as a player for the Chicago Bulls. It was June 14, Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz. After an ankle-breaking pull-up over Byron Russell, he hit a 17 footer with 5.2 seconds left on the clock to give the Bulls a one point lead.

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Jordan said, “When the crowd gets quiet, the moment is there. Once you get into the moment, when you know you are there, things start to get quiet, and you start to the read the court very well. When Russell reached, I knew the moment was there.” This gave him 45 points in the game, as well as the series MVP, and led the Bulls to their 3rd championship in a row, their 6th total in the ‘90s alone.

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Coach Phil Jackson couldn’t help but compare this to the “Flu Game,” another epic Jordan moment. “I didn’t think he could top that performance. But he topped it here tonight… He’s a real-life hero.” This is even more amazing considering he was 35 years old and losing his legs, but these were the times when Jordan shined. As memorable as the moment was, it has since been the subject of controversy, where many claim Jordan got away with a foul, shoving Russell aside, right before taking the game-winning shot.

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Either way, the shot will live on as one of the greatest plays in NBA history, and can be seen below. Jordan added about the bucket that ended his last game with the Bulls, "I practice as if I'm playing in a game. So when the moment comes in the game, it's not new to me. That's the beauty of the game of basketball. That's the reason why you practice.”


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