The Shot: How Michael Jordan Sealed His Legacy

By: Brandon Unverferth

It was a warm June night in 1998, when the Chicago Bulls faced the Utah Jazz in Game 6 of the NBA Finals at the Delta Center. The Bulls were leading the series 3-2 and had a chance to clinch their sixth championship in eight years. The Jazz were trying to force a Game 7, and they had home-court advantage. The game would end up being a thriller, with both teams playing at a high level and exchanging the lead numerous times.

The Jazz led 86-83 with less than a minute left in the fourth quarter, and they had the ball. They were looking to extend their lead and put the game away. But then, something happened that would change the course of NBA history.

The Bulls’ Scottie Pippen stole the ball from Karl Malone, and passed it to Michael Jordan. Jordan dribbled up the court, and made a layup to cut the deficit to one point with 37 seconds left.

The Jazz called a timeout and inbounded the ball to John Stockton. Stockton brought the ball up the court and ran down the clock. He passed it to Malone in the post, who was guarded by Dennis Rodman. Malone tried to back down Rodman, but Rodman held his ground.

With 18 seconds left, Jordan came from behind Malone and stripped the ball away. He grabbed the loose ball and dribbled up the court again. He crossed half-court with 10 seconds left and slowed down near the top of the key. He was guarded by Bryon Russell, who had been his nemesis throughout the series.

Jordan dribbled to his right, then crossed over to his left. Russell stumbled, and Jordan pulled up for a jump shot from just inside the three-point line. He released the ball with 5.2 seconds left and held his follow-through as he watched it fly through the air.

The ball swished through the net, giving the Bulls an 87-86 lead. The crowd was stunned, as Jordan pumped his fist in celebration. The play would become known as “The Shot”, and it would be replayed over and over again as one of the greatest plays in NBA history.

The Jazz still had a chance to win the game, but Stockton missed a three-pointer at the buzzer. The Bulls had done it. They had beaten the Jazz and won their sixth championship.

“The Shot” was more than just a game-winning basket. It was a crowning moment for Jordan’s legendary career. It marked his sixth NBA title, sixth Finals MVP award, and second three-peat. It was his last shot as a Bull, as he retired after the season (although he would come back later with the Washington Wizards). It cemented his place as one of the greatest players of all time.

“The Shot” is still remembered today as one of the most memorable moments in sports history. It is still celebrated every year on June 14th, the anniversary of the game. It is still featured in movies, documentaries, and books. It is still cherished by those who witnessed it live or on TV.

“The Shot” should always be remembered.

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