Michael Jordan had already poured in 42 points during the deciding fifth game of Chicago’s 1989 first round series in Cleveland. But his Bulls were still down 100-99 with only three seconds left to play. Double-teamed at midcourt, Jordan pushed through the defense to take the inbounds pass, slid across the top of the foul line, jumped, and hung still in the air as Cavs defender Craig Ehlo fell back to earth.
“Michael at the foul line, a shot on Ehlo… GOOD! Bulls win!”
Jordan was already a superstar by that time, but this was his first step to becoming a legend, and Jim Durham’s call of what’s now simply known as “The Shot” led off every game of the NBA on NBC in the ’90s. As Jordan’s famous game-winner turns 25 on Wednesday, we felt it appropriate to highlight five more great shots from the greatest player of all time.
1982: NCAA Game-Winner
Even as a UNC freshman, Jordan wanted the ball when it mattered most. Down a point with 17 seconds to go and Georgetown’s Patrick Ewing clogging the middle, Jordan caught the ball and shot in one motion, sealing the ’82 NCAA Championship with a perfect 17-footer.
1988: Free throw line dunk
Not necessarily a shot, but the ’88 Dunk Contest was one of the greatest athletic displays in NBA history, and a poster of Jordan’s famous free throw line slam hung on every kid’s wall for the next decade.
1992: The Shrug
Jordan never forgave Portland’s front office for drafting Sam Bowie over him in 1984 (to be fair, they never really forgave themselves), so he kicked off the ’92 Finals with a playoff record 35 points in the first half, including six threes. He couldn’t believe it either.
1998: The Shot II
It was his final shot for the Bulls, and the way he held his follow-through showed that he knew it was special. A few seconds later he earned him his sixth championship ring in only eight years, and put away any doubt that he was the greatest of all time.
2003: One More for the Road
Many didn’t want to see him come back (again), but Jordan surprised everyone during his stint in Washington, scoring more than 20 points a contest, becoming the oldest player ever to net 40, and hitting one more nostalgic buzzer-beater in Phoenix.
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