The 1998 NBA Finals was truly a historic event in basketball. To many fans, it represented what could be Michael Jordan's last stand on the NBA's biggest stage. On top of that, they were facing their fiercest Finals rivals, the Utah Jazz who had taken them to the limit the prior year. So all eyes were on the 1998 NBA Finals, as the Bulls looked to win their 6th NBA championship.
Coming into Game 6 in Utah, the Bulls actually had an advantage, leading the series 3-2. But playing in Utah, in front of a raucous Jazz fanbase was not an easy task. And to make matters worse, during the game, Scottie Pippen jammed his back and had to receive medical treatment for most of the game.
The absence of Pippen on the court allowed the Jazz to create a sizable lead, as they looked prime to push the Chicago Bulls to their first Game 7 in the NBA Finals. There was just one problem for them; Michael Jordan was still on the court. And coming into the second half, Jordan led a rally for the Bulls that allowed them to get back in the game.
The sequence by Jordan in the closing moments of the game was truly spectacular (8:21 onwards). With 38 seconds left in the game, and the Jazz up by 3, Jordan made a pivotal layup to cut the deficit to just one point. And the Jazz brought the ball up the court. With the ball in the hands of Karl Malone, 1997's MVP and one of the best scorers in history, the Jazz were set to take their time.
But Jordan used his elite defense and situational awareness to steal the ball and move up the court with very little time left. Letting the clock run down a little, Jordan attempted to drive to the basket, before hitting a crossover that dropped the defender and making an incredibly clutch jump shot to seal the win and the Bulls' 6th NBA championship.
Jordan and the Bulls won their 6th NBA championship and delivered on a second three-peat. Jordan scored 45 points on the night, a truly incredible showing from him. Scottie Pippen also played a great game despite having back trouble, although he believes his performance was better than Jordan's flu game in 1997.
Jordan delivered on his promise of riding off into the sunset, as he retired the next season because Phil Jackson was not being allowed to return as head coach. It was truly a glorious exit, and one of the best ways to rubberstamp his legacy with the Chicago Bulls, one that can never be touched.