Matchup: Game 6 NBA Finals, Bulls @ Jazz
Goat: Bryon Russell
Career years: 1993-2006
Career stats: 841 G, 7.9 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 1.3 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.2 BPG
As far as theatrics in sports goes, it doesn't get much better than "The Final Shot." After stealing the ball from Karl Malone late in game six of the 1998 NBA Finals, Jordan had the ball in his hand with Bryon Russell guarding him. Jordan dribbled the clock down, made a move and pushed off Russell to get premium space for an open shot. The shot went in, the Bulls won and the rest is history. Jordan would retire and (unfortunately) comeback to play for Washington in a lackluster return to the NBA.
Russell played many years as a complementary player to John Stockton and Karl Malone before moving on to play with MJ in Washington. After one season with the Wizards, Russell played for the Lakers and Nuggets before retiring in 2006. Jordan still remembers the big play. He mentioned Russell during his Hall of Fame speech and Russell responded in an interview with ESPN Outside the Lines where he challenged Jordan to a rematch. We're still waiting for the rematch to happen. The NBA should just set this up right now.