• Kurtis Tatkenhorst

June 14- Jordan and the Bulls Win the 1998 NBA Championship

1998- On this day in Sports History, the Chicago Bulls won the 1998 NBA Championship. They beat the Utah Jazz 87-86 in Game Six to win their sixth NBA Championship in eight years. This game was Michael Jordan’s last for the Chicago Bulls. He ended his career with the Bulls just the way Michael Jordan should as he had 45 points and hit the game winning shot that would end up being one of the most famous shots in NBA history.

Fernando Medina/NBAE/Getty Images

In order to get to the NBA Finals, the Bulls had to face Reggie Miller and the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers gave the Bulls all they could handle as the series went to seven games. The Bulls won Game Seven 88-83 to make the Finals and face the Utah Jazz. The Jazz had the number one seed in the Western Conference and was tied with the Bulls for the best record in the NBA at 62-20. The Bulls lost Game One 88-85 to begin the series down 1-0. They’d come back to win the next three games of the series, including a dominating 96-54 win in Game Three, to lead the series 3-1. The Jazz came back to win Game Five as Michael Jordan missed a three pointer that would have won the game as time expired.

The Bulls were one of the oldest teams in the league and they were fatigued at this point. Scottie Pippen would have to miss a lot of Game Six due to back pain. They did not want to go into a Game Seven that would have been held in Utah. The game was close but the Jazz led for most of it. The Bulls went into the fourth quarter down five points. They’d come back to briefly take the lead with five minutes left, but were unable to hold it. With 41 second left, the Bulls were down 86-83, but Michael Jordan would soon cement his legacy as arguably the best basketball player of all time. He’d go on to make a layup to bring the Bulls within one. He’d then steal the ball from the Jazz’s Karl Malone with 18 seconds left. Jordan would then cross over at the top of the key and nail a game winning shot with five seconds left giving the Bulls the 1998 NBA Championship. It would be one of the most iconic shots in NBA history and it’d be Michael Jordan’s last shot in the Bulls uniform.

After averaging 33 points in the series, including 45 points in Game 6, Michael Jordan was named the 1998 NBA Finals MVP. It was his sixth Finals MVP award which is the most in history. The 1998 NBA Championship finished the Bulls’s second Three-Peat and gave them a total of six NBA Championships in eight years. Following the 1998 season, Phil Jackson, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, and Steve Kerr would all leave Chicago or retire. Yet, they were able to do so with the NBA Championship that was won on this day in 1998.



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Sources:

Bucher, Ric. “Jordan Gets 45, Bulls Take Six.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 15 June 1998

“Chicago Bulls at Utah Jazz Play-By-Play, June 14, 1998.” Basketball Reference

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