The Shot that elevated Michael Jordan toward greatness while burying the Cleveland Cavaliers
There’s just something about this sequence – Michael Jordan fighting to receive the inbound pass from Brad Sellers, the desperation facing both teams, the fans hanging on the edge of their seats – it’s simply just one of those moments in sports history. We’ll never forget Jordan’s exuberant celebration as Cleveland Cavaliers guard Craig Ehlo crumples to the floor in agony.
It’s been 30 years now, May 7, 1989. The Chicago Bulls weren’t supposed to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in this series. After all, the Cavs had just swept the season series 6-0 – yes, they played each other six times – but somehow the Bulls fought their way to a fifth and deciding game. A truly epic Game 5. A truly epic series.
The series came down to the last few seconds, the way epic moments usually unfold. At this point, Michael Jordan was a great player but he wasn’t yet the greatest of all time. This was his first step toward claiming that title.
The Shot changed everything for Jordan and the Chicago Bulls
Jordan’s dagger shot straight to the heart of the city of Cleveland. It was a tale of contrast between two cities resting on the shores of the Great Lakes, lifting one city and adding to the futility of the other. The Shot came on the heels of The Fumble and The Drive, moments Cleveland Browns fans still wish to forget.
It was the first step for Jordan’s Bulls toward eventually dethroning the hated Detroit Pistons and establishing themselves as the kings of the Eastern Conference.
The rest, of course, is history. Jordan would go on to win six NBA championships with the Bulls during the 1990s. Cleveland would eventually claim their own title with LeBron James in 2016.
— Stadium (@Stadium) May 7, 2019
That moment in May of 1989 however, belongs to Michael Jordan. The Shot that made him a legend.