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The Chicagoist Flashback: Michael Jordan's Final Shot As A Bull

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jun 14, 2012 9:00PM

2012_6_14_jordan_final_shot.jpg Fourteen years ago today The Jordan Era of the Bulls ended with Michael Jordan sent Bryon Russell sprawling and hit the winning shot in Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals. The shot won the Bulls their sixth (and to date, last) title and was Jordan's final shot in a Bulls uniform. As codas went, it would have been most fitting: Jordan, his shooting hand bent at the wrist in follow-through, holding a pose on his tip toes, never doubting for a moment he would miss the shot.

And he didn't doubt it. Here's what David Halberstam wrote of that game.

The crowd, Jordan remembered, got very quiet. That was, he said later, the moment for him. The moment, he explained, was what all Phil Jackson's Zen Buddhism stuff, as he called it, was about: how to focus and concentrate and be ready for that critical point in a game, so that when it arrived you knew exactly what you wanted to do and how to do it, as if you had already lived through it. When it happened, you were supposed to be in control, use the moment, and not panic and let the moment use you. Jackson liked the analogy of a cat waiting for a mouse, patiently biding its time, until the mouse, utterly unaware, finally came forth.

The play at that instant, Jordan said, seemed to unfold very slowly, and he saw everything with great clarity, as Jackson had wanted him to: the way the Utah defense was setting up, and what his teammates were doing. He knew exactly what he was going to do. "I never doubted myself," Jordan said later. "I never doubted the whole game."

It would have been one of the great preserved in amber moments had Jordan's sociopathic competitive streak not led him to a second NBA return in Washington. By the end of that run, not even Jordan could deny that time catches up with everyone.

Acting on the orders of his coach Larry Brown, Sixers guard Eric Snow fouled Jordan so that Jordan could score some points and leave the game on a high note. The Wizards fouled shortly after and Jordan left to a standing ovation.

History, as the cliche holds, is written by the victors. So we as Bulls fans can hold up the six Larry O'Brien trophies, the six NBA MVP awards, the six Finals MVPs, and the fact the Bulls are only now returning to relevance in Chicago as examples of putting up with a jerk who made us proud to call this city home. Meanwhile, Jordan is in Charlotte finding out the hard way that Jerry Krause may have been on to something about that whole "organizations win championships" thing.