Michael Jordan hit several game-winning shots during his legendary Chicago Bulls career. However, his most famous bucket was his final field goal with the Bulls in Game 6 of the 1998 Finals against the Utah Jazz.
After stealing the ball from Karl Malone, Jordan felt he earned the right to take the last shot, so much so that he had no intention of passing the ball under any circumstances.
Michael Jordan: I would have taken that shot with five people on me
Jordan was going to take the last shot for the Bulls in Game 6 of the ’98 Finals no matter what. Even if the entire Jazz team had guarded him, His Airness would have still risen up for the jumper.
“I had no intention of passing the ball under any circumstances,” Jordan said, via Chicago Sports historian Jack M Silverstein. “I figured I stole the ball and it was my opportunity to win or lose the game. I would have taken that shot with five people on me. I stopped, pulled up, and had an easy jump shot. Ironically, I have problems going to my right for a stop, pull-up jumper because I have a tendency to come up short. I normally fade a little. But on this shot, I didn’t want to fade because all my jump shots had been short. Think about that.”
Jordan sank the jumper over Bryon Russell to give the Bulls an 87-86 lead with 5.0 seconds left in regulation. John Stockton missed a 3-pointer on Utah’s next possession, and it was all over. Chicago won its sixth title in eight years, while Jordan captured his sixth Finals MVP.
To this day, Jazz fans believe Jordan pushed off on Russell. However, Superman thinks that’s bulls***.”
Michael Jordan: I didn’t push off
In Episode 10 of ESPN’s The Last Dance docuseries, Jordan fired back at the people who continue to say he pushed off on Russell.
“Everybody says I pushed off. Bulls***,” Jordan said. “His energy was going that way. I didn’t have to push him that way.”
Look, even if Jordan did push off, there is no way he would admit it. This is Black Jesus we’re talking about, arguably the most competitive athlete in sports history.
After Stockton missed his 3-pointer, Jordan delivered his signature jump-and-fist pump and then held six fingers up. The five-time MVP had led the Bulls to a perfect 6-0 record in the Finals and wanted the entire world to know.
MJ: They can’t win until we quit
In the postgame locker room, Jordan and Scottie Pippen sat next to each other. While opening a bottle of champagne, the former — fully aware that the cameras were on him — kept talking to the latter about the number six.
“Can you believe it?” Jordan said. “Six. Six of ’em. Y’all can say whatever you want. They can’t win until we quit.”
The Bulls dynasty ended after Game 6. Jordan retired, and Pippen was traded. Even though MJ and Pip were disappointed the journey ended prematurely, they were happy they got to finish their last campaign with a championship.