The Numbers: The Shot

The record for the most points scored by a player in NBA history on May 7th is 44 points. While this seems like an arbitrary “record” to point to, the last two of those points are one of the most iconic moment in history.

The year was 1989. The setting was Game 5 of the opening-round series in a time when the first-round was still only five games.

The Bulls were ahead by one with three seconds left in the game.

Michael Jordan had put them up one with nine seconds left on Chicago’s last possession. Craig Ehlo of the Cavs passed the ball in, cut to the basket on a give-and-go, and dropped the ball in to put Cleveland back up.

And then…

It was to be called “The Shot” and is one of the most iconic buckets in league history.

As detailed further on ESPN’s The Last Dance, this was also a major step in the Bulls going on to become of the greatest dynasties the Association has seen. The Cavaliers had been heavy favorites and were the better team during the regular season. The Bulls were just a team on the rise.

People still doubted if Jordan could win a ring.

The Bulls went on to beat the New York Knicks during the second round before losing to the Detroit Pistons in the Conference Finals, but, “The Shot” was the seed of confidence that would blossom two seasons later when the Bulls won the first of their six rings.