Golden Moments of the NBA Finals
Break up the Bulls? No way, says Michael Jordan, the man most responsible for bringing Chicago five National Basketball Association championships in the last seven years, including a 4-games-to-2 decision over Utah this season. In his view, the Bulls "deserve" the opportunity to fall from power rather than inwardly dissolve, even though his own short-lived retirement once temporarily drove a stake into the club's title run.
Jordan, the hands-down MVP of the Finals, knows the forces at play, including his need to negotiate a new contract, signs that Phil Jackson may be ready to move on, and the possibility that controversial forward Dennis Rodman has worn out his welcome with Chicago's front office, to say nothing of the league.
If Rodman's comments about Mormons (which drew a $50,000 fine) were the low point, several noble efforts crowned the series. The best was probably by Jordan. Although ill in Game 5, he played 44 minutes and scored 38 points.
Utah's wondrous Mutt 'n Jeff act of Karl Malone and John Stockton also had its memorable moments, such as when Malone redeemed himself a week after missing a pair of crucial free throws in Game 1 by making two in the clutch during Game 4. Stockton also used the occasion to produce a brilliant flurry of game-saving gems, including a pinpoint, floor-length pass to Malone that belongs in the NBA's 50-year scrapbook.