NBA Greatest Moments:Jordan & the Jazz


Now, I’m a Bulls lover, and a Michael Jordan enthusiast, however whether you share the passion, I’m sure we can all agree that when MJ announced his retirement, we knew basketball wouldn’t be the same. And this final shot proved to really let that thought fester and force us to never forget his legacy on the game.

On this day, the Utah Jazz had the Delta Center PACKED to capacity, and everyone knew the ball would end up in Jordan’s hands to do what he does best in the final seconds of close games ─ win the game. Chicago believed in him and trusted him, and the Bulls’ bench knew this decision was a no-brainer. He was the NBA’s worst-kept secret, however nobody could find a way to contain him. (This is why he is considered G.O.A.T.).

What was special about this play is that no plays needed to be called. All Jordan needed was the ball and some time to do his thing. You would’ve thought the Jazz would have already learned that when the game is on the line, and there’s more pressure on him than the deepest depths of the Pacific Ocean, that’s when His Royal Airness comes out of hibernation.

Michael-Jordan-going-1-on-1-against-Bryon-RussellWith the Bulls behind by three points in the final minute or so of Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals, MJ scores on a drive to the basket. In the immediate following play, MJ rips up Karl Malone and brings the ball back downcourt. Now, don’t get me wrong, Bryon Russell is one of the greatest defensive players of ALL time (at least to me he is), but Super Michael made it seem like Russell was taking a lesson from the Gods. With a beautiful pullback (and possible slight push), MJ knocks down the game-winning 20-footer with 5.2 seconds remaining to give the Bulls an 87-86 win to cap off the repeat of the 3-peat!

MJ had done it. Finishing with 45 points, he takes home his sixth MVP award in eight years and leaves us with the most beautiful goodbye letter with this final shot. “Let’s face it, we all hopped on Michael’s back. He just carried us,” Bulls sharpshooter Steve Kerr recalls. “That guy is just ridiculous. He is so good it’s scary.”

Psh…YEA, HE IS!!

“As soon as Russell reached, he gave me a clear lane. I made my initial drive, and he bit on it, and I stopped, pulled up and I had an easy jump shot,” Jordan said. “I had a great look, and it went in. Once it went in I knew from that point on, we’ve been hanging around long enough, it was the game-winning basket, and it was a matter of playing solid defense. Our defense has held us strong all series, we wouldn’t be in this scenario without the defense. All we had to do was play defense for 5.8 seconds, and I knew we could do that.”

Said Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, “You can’t afford to give them second chances, with Michael Jordan out there, he was going to make the plays, he was able to do that and you live with that.”

Cheers to the greatest memory of the great Michael Jordan and his final shot…in a Bulls jersey.


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Malcolm Branch
Sports Activist for The Cover 4

The Cover 4 Greatest Basketball Moments: The “One-Two” Step


The night was March 300, 1997. In the red corner you have His Royal Airness himself, Michael Jordan. Jordan was set to make an appearance at the brand new Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia. In the blue corner you have the young rookie, whom we know as “The Third- Degree,” aka “AI,” aka “The Answer,” aka “Me, Myself and Iverson,” but most commonly addressed simply as Allen Iverson. It’s every young hooper’s dream to make it to the League and compete against those whom they look up to, with the hopes of even teaching THEM a thing or too. Unfortunately, the only time 90 percent of us can “live” that dream is when we turn on our game systems. But for Iverson, this night would provide AI with the opportunity to showcase one of the greatest moments in basketball history.

The initial hesitation-stutter crossover exposed MJ’s lack of balance in comparison to the much quicker AI. After Mike regroups himself, Iverson then gives Jordan one more crossover, plus a sidestep and then pulls up for a free-throw line jumper…SWISH!

Now, naturally, being a Bulls fan and a lover of all things Jordan, I felt like my ankles had been broken in spirit with MJ. But nonetheless, this play capped off a tremendous rookie campaign for this Rookie of the Year. Who would have thought such a simple one-two crossover can leave such a memorable impression?

Now, we have all heard word by now about AI OFFICIALLY announcing his retirement this past week (despite being absent from any global roster since the 2010-’11 season). Even though this potential/possible/”questionable” (all pun intended) HOF inductee may not have been able to afford a burger last year, he answered the questions of all doubters and left rich moments that will forever be remembered.

Cheers to Allen Iverson!

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