- Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman said in “The Last Dance” they just wanted to get out of Michael Jordan’s way on his iconic, championship-sealing shot over the Utah Jazz in the 1998 Finals.
- Pippen said he wanted to “get the hell out of the way,” while Rodman thought “He is going to shoot this f—er … He is not going to pass the f—ing ball.”
- Jordan hit the shot to win a sixth championship in eight years, and the Bulls disbanded the next summer.
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Michael Jordan’s final shot with the Chicago Bulls is arguably his most iconic, and his teammates had no misgivings about their roles on the play.
In the final 37 seconds of Game 6 of the 1998 Finals, Jordan scored a layup to cut the Utah Jazz lead to one point. On the next play, he stole the ball from Karl Malone, brought the ball up the court, drove to his right, crossed-up Jazz forward Byron Russell, and hit the game-winning shot to seal a sixth championship.
MJ didn’t take another shot in a Bulls uniform.
In those final seconds, no one else on the Bulls touched the ball, and none of them thought they were going to. Asked about it in “The Last Dance,” Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman said they weren’t going anywhere near the ball.
“Get the hell out the way,” Pippen said in the series, laughing. “‘Get the hell out the way’ only thing I was thinking.”
“I didn’t have to do s—,” Rodman said. “All I did was plant myself right down there. I knew it. I said, ‘He’s gonna shoot this f—er.'”
Throughout Jordan’s career, he had a habit of finding open teammates for big shots in big moments. Former guard John Paxson hit several big shots, and Steve Kerr later hit several important shots in the 1997 and 1998 playoffs. Rodman said he knew that wasn’t going to happen on that play.
“He is not going pass this f—ing ball,” Rodman said. “Whether it was John Paxson, or f—ing Steve Kerr. Hell no. This is his turn.”
The sequence can be seen below. As Pippen crossed half-court, he told his teammates to back away to the corners. Rodman barely crossed half-court on time, then immediately ran to the paint.
In the series, Jordan also addressed the controversy over his final shot, which some people think was a push-off an offensive foul. Jordan called it “bulls—” saying he barely touched Russell.
The Bulls disbanded shortly after their sixth championship. Jordan retired briefly, though he came back as a member of the Washington Wizards three years later. Phil Jackson retired before returning to coach the Los Angeles Lakers. Pippen, Rodman, and Kerr all went to new teams.
Jordan called it “maddening” that the team didn’t get another shot to win a seventh championship.
- Read more:
- DiGiorno had the tweet of the night after Michael Jordan said delivery pizza caused his famous ‘flu game’ illness
- A screaming Pacers fan became the unexpected star of the final night of ‘The Last Dance’ and everyone is making the same jokes
- How Dennis Rodman went from a homeless, junior college walk-on to one of the most interesting and controversial NBA legends
- WHERE ARE THEY NOW: Michael Jordan’s 1997-98 Chicago Bulls team documented in ‘The Last Dance’
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