Flashback Friday: Michael Jordan's jumper seals 1998 title

NBA.com Global on Jun 15, 2018 01:11 PM
Flashback Friday: Michael Jordan's jumper seals 1998 title
SALT LAKE CITY - JUNE 14: Michael Jordan #23 of the Chicago Bulls shoots the game-winning jumpshot over Byron Russell #3 of the Utah Jazz during Game Six of the 1998 NBA Finals on June 14, 1998 at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Bulls defeated the Jazz 87-86. (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)

By Sekou Smith, NBA.com

The Game: 1998 Finals, Game 6

The Series Situation: Chicago Bulls lead Utah Jazz, 3-2

The Play: With the Jazz leading 86-85 with 18.9 seconds to play, Michael Jordan steals the ball from Karl Malone in the post. Jordan then dribbles down court and uses a crossover dribble (and a slight shove of Bryon Russell) to nail a 20-foot jumper for an 87-86 lead with 5.2 seconds to play. That jumper ended up being the game-winner as the Bulls clinched their third straight title in what, at the time, was Jordan's final shot (he would later come out of retirement and play for the Washington Wizards from 2001-03).

The Significance: One of the iconic sequences and shots in the illustrious career of Jordan, not even his stint with the Wizards has overshadowed those final seconds against the Jazz. Malone and John Stockton were denied a championship during their Hall of Fame careers because of Jordan and the Bulls. Russell's career moment remains his being shoved out of the way on that crossover for Jordan's dagger. But this was the championship capper of the Jordan Bulls. It was a sequence that showcased MJ's ability to dominate the game on both ends: a perfectly timed steal that led to the ultimate closer finishing the deal on the other end with a pull-up jumper. It came complete with the timeless image of Jordan's right hand in the air as he watched the ball drop through the nets while breaking the hearts of Jazz fans. More than just a shot that ended a dynasty in Chicago, it signaled the end of an era in the NBA.

Sekou Smith is a veteran NBA reporter and NBA TV analyst. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

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