the-last-shot

Justin Tinsley describes being a fan of Michael Jordan in the 90s as Jordanism, a culture and genre defining cult in which you openly and wholly believe that Michael Jordan was the greatest basketball player who ever lived and that everything the man did on a basketball court, from tongue wag, to post up fadeaway jumper to leadership is the gospel. I openly adhered to it, bought every pair of Jordan from the XII to the XV and thought about how I could emulate MJ from the jumper to the dunks.

Fifteen years ago today was the last day I openly rooted for the Bulls. By proxy, it was the last day I believed Michael Jordan was the answer to everything as a great sports figure. “The Last Shot” as it’s known can be remembered for more than a few things, one Karl Malone once more choking in the clutch, Byron Russell being unable to properly defend MJ like so many others, the push off, the defining pose and moxy to immediately know the shot was going in. Glued to a TV, all I can remember is Bob Costas’ voice setting everything up for a fitting conclusion.

“18 seconds from Game 7, or championship number 6. Jordan … open … Chicago with the lead!”

It’s also remembered as the day most youths from all over America realized that their hero, their invincible man with an image wrapped inside of the number 23 was going to be walking away, this time with something far more concrete than his semi-retirement from 1993-95.

Now that cult like fanaticism has gone to the likes of Kobe Bryant or LeBron James, others who’ve assumed the mantle of being the next guy to be compared to His Airness due to his greatness. I know it’s a silly argument because it seems every athletic wing player with a sense of predestined greatness will be compared to MJ, much like New York City ballers believe it is their birthright to become the best player ever. It’s unfair but that’s what occurs these days.

But fifteen years ago, 85% of the country (even those in Houston who loathed everything about the Utah Jazz) was rooting for Michael to sink one last jumper. Sure, the Wizards days exist but they don’t mar what we already know about MJ. Off the court, he might be the worst GM in the league.

But on the court? From 84 – 98, there was none better. Let’s have one last look at some of our childhoods, and one more glimpse at the most famous MJ shot ever.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.