Beating L.A.

My favorite is the culmination of the struggle, beating the Lakers in L.A., winning the title after everybody said he wouldn't beat the Lakers. Everyone said back then there's no way Michael will win a championship because he's a selfish player, he's a scorer, he's a George Gervin-esque kind of guy. You gotta be like magic, like Larry, share the ball¿those are winners. And Michael was viewed as a marketing property, a great figure, but a loser, and he had heard that for many years. <br><br>And then to get past that and do it, and win in an unselfish way, making those last five passes to [John] Paxson [in the clinching Game 5], and win it with him moving the ball, it was sort of the culmination not only of him winning but him evolving as an all-around player. Still averaging 30 points, but involving the team and winning. I think that's why he dissolved into tears at the time, because it was such an emotional mountain for him to climb. And then to achieve it like that, especially in L.A. against Magic, it was sort of the culmination of all his dreams.<br><br>
--Sam Smith, longtime NBA reporter
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( Chicago Tribune / February 14, 2013 )

My favorite is the culmination of the struggle, beating the Lakers in L.A., winning the title after everybody said he wouldn't beat the Lakers. Everyone said back then there's no way Michael will win a championship because he's a selfish player, he's a scorer, he's a George Gervin-esque kind of guy. You gotta be like magic, like Larry, share the ball¿those are winners. And Michael was viewed as a marketing property, a great figure, but a loser, and he had heard that for many years.

And then to get past that and do it, and win in an unselfish way, making those last five passes to [John] Paxson [in the clinching Game 5], and win it with him moving the ball, it was sort of the culmination not only of him winning but him evolving as an all-around player. Still averaging 30 points, but involving the team and winning. I think that's why he dissolved into tears at the time, because it was such an emotional mountain for him to climb. And then to achieve it like that, especially in L.A. against Magic, it was sort of the culmination of all his dreams.

--Sam Smith, longtime NBA reporter

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