‘The Shot’ was an iconic moment in the career of former National Basketball Association (NBA) superstar Michael Jordan and, arguably, the most noteworthy play in the history of basketball. ‘The Shot’ occured in the closing seconds of the fifth, decisive game of a best-of-five NBA playoff series between Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers at the Richfield Coliseum, Ohio on May 7, 1989.
In a tense, tightly fought contest, the lead changed hands half a dozen times in the last few minutes. With just three seconds remaining, Cavaliers’ shooting guard Craig Ehlo scored a basket to put his team 100-99 ahead but, remarkably, that was not the final score. Bulls’ coach Paul Douglas ‘Doug’ Collins said later that the tactic behind the final play, which led to ‘The Shot’, was simply, ‘get the ball to Michael and everybody get the [expletive] out of the way!’
Jordan received the ball on the right side of the court, dribbled towards the free throw lane, a.k.a. the ‘key’, and rose for a jumpshot from inside the free throw circle. Ehlo, one of the Cavaliers’ leading defenders, leapt to block the shot, but Jordan appeared to hang in the air, almost levitating, to create space above Ehlo, before releasing the shot. The ball dropped into the net right on the buzzer, giving the Bulls a 101-100 victory, with Jordan pumping his fists in celebration. The Chicago Bulls subsequently progressed to the Eastern Conference finals, where they were ultimately eliminated by the Detroit Pistons.
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