You know the shot we’re talking about. Michael Jordan dribbles to his right, inside the three-point arc, then crosses back to his left. Bryon Russell’s ankles fail him. Jordan steps back, squares up, and drills a jumper.
Game over. 1998 NBA Finals over; the Bulls beat the Jazz. Jordan’s career over—at least for a little bit.
It was one of the most iconic moments in basketball history, and of course people in Utah are still salty about it. If you’ve seen the clip, you’ve certainly noticed it kind of looks like MJ pushed off against Russell.
So, did he push off? Should it have been an offensive foul? Well, that debate’s been going for nearly two decades, and it probably won’t be decided amongst basketball fans anytime soon.
It has officially been settled in the court of law in Utah, though. Supreme Court Chief Justice Matthew Durrant made it very clear how he feels about the play and made a “ruling” on it during a legislative session last week.
“I know that some argue he did not push off; most of them live in Chicago,” Durrant said, according to Lee Davidson of the Salt Lake Tribune. “But after much consideration, I am now prepared to rule. He pushed off. And if you think I don’t have the power to decide that, you haven’t read the Utah Constitution.”
How’d he get on the topic? Durrant was discussing the improvement of technology in Utah’s court system over the past 20 years, then mentioned it’s been about 20 years since The Shot.
We're so sorry, Utah. Good news, though: your squad is in fifth in the West and looks really good this year!