It is known simply as “The Shot.” On this date, May 7th, in 1989, Michael Jordan hit one of the most memorable and dramatic buzzer beaters in NBA history. The Chicago Bulls were battling the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, the underdog in a 3-6 match-up. The series was tied 2 games apiece and this was the fifth and deciding game. It was already a feat that the Bulls had taken 2 games off of the Cavaliers as during the regular season they lost all four head to head match-ups against their Eastern Conference rivals.
Original Air Jordan IV “BRED” uploaded by PabloJordan
For most of the deciding game the Chicago Bulls had been trailing the Cleveland Cavaliers who were fielding home court advantage. But with six seconds to go in the 4th, Jordan took a pass from Scottie Pippen (who else) and hit a jumper that put the Bulls ahead 99-98. Cleveland came back with a set out-of-bounds play for one of their stars, Craig Ehlo, and it was quickly 99-100 with 3.2 seconds left in the game. A timeout was called and a play was drawn up by then coach Doug Collins. Everyone knew that MJ was going to get the ball. CBS’ Dick Stockton had the call.
“Sellers has Jordan. Jordan with 2 seconds to go……. puts it up and scores! At the buzzer! Michael Jordan has won it for Chicago! Michael Jordan hit the basket at the buzzer, as a disconsolate Lenny Wilkens leaves the floor. And for the second time today, the visiting team has won a deciding game in an opening round series. And the Chicago Bulls will move on to play the New York Knicks in a best-of-7.”
Although MJ had many game winning shots in his career this was definitely one of his “defining moments.” Craig Ehlo was no slouch as a defender and was draped all over Jordan during the shot. As they both leapt, MJ seemed to be able to hang in the air for a split second longer then Ehlo, the Nike logo visible on his black/red Air Jordan IV’s. His Airness was not to be denied as “The Shot” was just the start of many game winning shots that he made in his playoff career. Although the Bulls did not win the championship that year, Jordan’s numbers and play proved he was more then capable of leading his team to victory in the postseason and would soon capture his first title two years later.
“The Shot” is engrained in the brain of basketball fans not only due to extra air Jordan had to make the shot, but the lasting image of the moments after the basket was scored. Jordan’s wild and unfiltered celebratory leap into the air with Craig Ehlo crumpling to the ground in the background is etched into the minds of many. The moment so large that Jordan Brand created a special Air Jordan 4 in the colors of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Air Jordan 4 “Cavs” uploaded by DebFredKush
Where does “The Shot” land in your favorite Michael Jordan moments? Also if you happen to have a pair of Black/Cement Grey/Fire Red Air Jordan 4’s in your possession, today is as good a day as any to lace them up proudly.