With Game 6 of the NBA Finals on the line, everyone in the Delta Center, Utah Jazz coaches, and players included knew the ball would end up in his hands. For the Chicago Bulls, too, it was another no-brainer. There was no play to call, no screens to set. It was simple. Get it to Michael Jordan.
With Chicago trailing by three points in the final minute, Jordan first scored on a drive. Then with the Jazz up 86-85, Jordan stole the ball from Karl Malone to give the Bulls one last shot of winning the game and the championship. Not using any timeouts, Jordan quickly drove the length of the court where he was met by Byron Russell at the three-point line. Jordan drove to outside of the foul line where Russell slid giving Jordan the wide-open shot for the game-winner.
Because it was Michael Jordan, he made it with ease giving the Bulls an 87-86 lead and their eventual second three-peat of the decade. Jordan had overcome fatigue and finished with 45 points as he won his sixth Finals Most Valuable Player award while reaffirming his status as the NBA’s best player.
Jordan shot 15-of-35 from the field and 12-of-15 from the line. He scored 16 points in the fourth quarter, including Chicago’s final eight over the last 2:06, carrying the offense as Scottie Pippen hampered by a back injury struggled.
“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.”
Prior to making an infamous return with the Washington Wizards, this was considered to be his final shot of a historic career. This would have been the perfect way to end a career had he not came back to lower his stats.