May 7 marks the 25th anniversary of “The Shot:” Michael Jordan’s buzzer-beating reminder to Cleveland that the city can’t win anything. Ever.
Alright, that opening came across as way too mean. However, let’s be real. There’s something terrible about Michael Jordan vacuuming all the hope out a city at the last second.
The scene gets worse when you watch it in context rather than a Gatorade commercial. The Cavs had Chicago’s number that season. Craig Ehlo scored 15 points in the fourth quarter. Plus he dropped, what many believed, the game-winning bucket with three seconds left. Craig’s squad only needed to endure three more ticks to solidify their dominance over Chicago. The city would’ve christened Craig as a franchise great as his team set their eyes on a championship run.
Then, MJ got free off the inbound pass, pulled up, said “Nah, not today homey” and drained one of the coldest jumpers in NBA history. “The Shot” stood as another example of how sports stage conflict better than your everyday fiction. Except the sudden switch from hero-status to “you ain’t sh*t” and vice versa can happen in a blink. It’s really powerful stuff when you think about it.
The Bulls beat the Knicks in the semis then lost to the Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals. Chicago took their lumps as the Jordan Rules became, as Magic Johnson would say, too “out-physical” for the Bulls. At the same time the team and Michael Jordan came up on a moment that’s always proudly attached to their respective histories.
I wonder if Craig called Chandler Parsons for support after Parsons met his comparable fate?
Ed. Note: Deadspin published an article by Elho today titled “Craig Ehlo On What It Felt Like To Be On The Other Side Of “The Shot.” Recommended reading obviously.