May 18, 1998, wasn’t when Michael Jordan hit a dagger of a jump shot on Bryon Russell to ice a sixth NBA championship. Wasn’t the time he had 13 boards in the season’s third game, only to grab 17 in the next. Nor was it the night of one of his 12 regular-season games of scoring 40 or more points. With the exception of Jordan in Utah, those moments led up to what makes today memorable, 14 years ago: Jordan won his fifth MVP.
Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has more with six, but this put Jordan into a two-man club as a five-time winner with Bill Russell. The finishing count was 28.7 points (only three MVPs since have averaged more) 5.8 boards, 3.5 assists and 46 percent from the field. So in a season where MJ has now become, as owner, part of the worst team in basketball 16 years after being on the NBA’s best, here’s how today became a landmark occasion for the game’s greatest.
Here are a few of his best moments from his final season in Chicago:
In the Finals, Greg Ostertag gets mashed on by Jordan off two feet, sending the NBA on NBC crew into a bit of a fit.
In Jordan’s final regular-season home game as a Bull he went out in the style a five-time MVP should — 44 points against the Knicks. He was just 11-of-24 from the field but shot 22-of-24 from the line.