"Without a doubt he pushed off" - John Stockton on Michael Jordan’s winning shot against the Utah Jazz in the 1998 NBA Finals

Michael Jordan and Bryon Russell. (Photo: Bleacher Report)
Michael Jordan and Bryon Russell. (Photo: Bleacher Report)

Michael Jordan's final shot as a member of the Chicago Bulls came in Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz. Jordan hit a jumper with 5.2 seconds left in the game to give the Bulls the lead. One final stop later, the Bulls won their sixth NBA championship.

However, there was controversy on the play as MJ appeared to have pushed off his defender Bryon Russell. The referees did not call an offensive foul, so it's up to everyone to pass the judgment. You can view the famous play below:

In an interview with Jason Whitlock, Utah Jazz legend John Stockton shared his opinion on Michael Jordan's shot in Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals. Stockon believes Jordan got away with an offensive foul, but he's okay with it because the refs didn't call it.

"Without a doubt he pushed off. Now whether you call it or not it's another story. First of all, Bryon kind of gets a bad rep for all that. Bryon, I think, held Michael to the lowest shooting percentages of any of his finals and he did the primary job of guard, he did a heck of a job," Stockton said.
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"Michael, he makes a obviously a huge shot he gave him a little nudge... If you're an offensive player in this league, you know how to use your body. You know how to gain leverage. You know how to find ways to get your shot so you know I don't have any animosity towards anybody, if you pushed a little bit. It wasn't called there you go, simple," Stockton added.

Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls faced off against John Stockton, Karl Malone and the Utah Jazz in the NBA Finals twice, in 1997 and 1998. In 1997, the Bulls won in six games, which included the famous Jordan "Flu Game" in Game 5 and Scottie Pippen's defensive play that led to Toni Kukoc's dunk in Game 6.

In 1998, the Bulls took a commanding 3-1 lead into Game 5, but failed to close the series out. Returning to Salt Lake City, Jordan made sure that the Bulls won their sixth NBA title with his greatest shot ever.


Michael Jordan comments on if he pushed off Bryon Russell

Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls
Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls

Michael Jordan released the documentary "The Last Dance" back in 2020. It showed Jordan's final season with the Chicago Bulls. One of the topics discussed in the documentary was MJ's final shot over Bryon Russell. When asked if he pushed off Russell, Jordan had a few words about it.

"Everybody says I pushed off, bulls**t. His energy was going that way. I didn't have to push him that way," Jordan said.
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Whether Jordan really pushed off Bryon Russell or not is up for debate for basketball fans. The only thing they cannot take away from that shot is the referees did not call the offensive foul. The shot went in and Jordan won his sixth ring.

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Edited by Sankalp Srivastava