The Bulls are headed to their fifth consecutive postseason – without Derrick Rose, no less – and it's their eighth appearance in the past nine years. Playoff time has always been exciting in Chicago and this year should be no different. So RedEye asked current Bulls and veteran reporters about their favorite NBA postseason memories, either watching as a kid or playing in the NBA.
And as you would expect, Michael Jordan's name came up. A lot.
My favorite playoff memory, probably, is Michael Jordan in the finals in Utah. Just going out like that. For the best player who ever lived to hit a shot like that was just seemed fitting. And as a player, you know, I'm hoping to have more. Right now, the scrapbook's a little limited.
Watching Michael Jordan crossing over Bryon Russell. When I was younger, I didn't understand that a crossover wasn't a simple play. And as I got older and started watching the NBA more, and then seeing how tough it is to guard people in this league today, I can only imagine how hard it was to guard Michael Jordan back then.
My favorite memory as a player is [when] we were down—it was my second year in the NBA—against Atlanta. It was the second round of the playoffs and a crucial game to go up 3-2. Derrick [Rose] was getting double-teamed and he passed the ball to me on two straight plays. And I don't know what got into me, I made two straight buckets. I was rolling that game in the fourth quarter. I'll remember that for the rest of my life. It was so loud in the UC that game. It's gotta be that as my favorite—or the dunk on D-Wade.
My favorite moment watching the playoffs? Man, Michael Jordan, Game 6 in Utah. What did they call it, "The Shot"? Just to see how he went out, that was amazing.
And my favorite moment as a player was in 2012 with the Oklahoma City Thunder when we played the Dallas Mavericks in the first round. KD [Kevin Durant] hit a game-winner in Game 1—off one leg. It was nice, man.
As a player, I won a championship [with San Antonio in 2005], so nothing beats that. Nothing beats winning a championship. Game 7; winning the championship against Detroit—at home. That's my favorite playoff memory.
Another one would be Robert Horry in Game 5 in the Finals on the road in Detroit; where he hit all those shots for us. And that inbounds play at the end of the game. He hit a big 3-pointer for us to win that game.
As a player, probably my fondest is winning a championship [in 2004 with Detroit] and beating the Lakers. Nobody thought we were going to win and that whole thing was exciting for me.
And watching? Definitely the Bulls with Michael Jordan. When he went up against Magic Johnson [in the 1991 Finals against the L.A. Lakers] and switched the ball in his hands on that one shot. I think about that, and the game where hit all those 3s against Portland [in the 1992 Finals]. Those are my favorites.
When I was in college, it was crazy how dominant Kobe and Shaq were. That lob that Kobe threw Shaq against Portland and he dunked it and screamed, that was crazy. And MJ, when he hit the shot against Utah and his form was perfect – fundamentally sound. Moments like that stand out in your mind.
Everybody remembers Mike, man. That crossover against Utah; everybody loves that. When you think about Mike you think, "Damn, he did [Bryon Russell] nasty!"
As a player, I haven't really played in the playoffs, but hopefully I can make some this year.
Sam Smith (Bulls.com)
To me, the most significant one was the Jordan shot against Cleveland. But it was why it was. Jordan had blown the game before [Game 4 in Chicago], a lot of people forget; he missed two free throws. Here you have the guy who's viewed as the greatest player ever missing free throws to clinch the series at home. Now it's going back to Cleveland, and it comes down to one shot. If Jordan misses that shot, I don't know what would have happened to that team. They would've been forced into big changes. That one shot had the biggest ramifications for the direction of the franchise and it was sort of the launching pad from there.
Michael Wilbon (ESPN)
Oh man, there's so many. Michael sweeping the Pistons in Detroit and seeing them walk off the floor; I was at all of those games. The game in the Finals against Magic and the Lakers; the one where MJ switched hands on the shot. The game winner over [Craig] Ehlo.
I'll tell you what, my favorite is when the Bulls beat the Knicks in [Madison Square] Garden and Jordan had the baseline dunk on [Patrick] Ewing. That's the one. Well, that and the infamous block, strip, block, block on Charles Smith in 1993.
Bryan Crawford is a RedEye special contributor.
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