We don’t know why, but for some reason fans — usually of the millennial generation — have sometimes lambasted this move without realizing how it fits into the mythology surrounding His Airness, Michael Jordan. Today, on the move’s 23-year anniversary, we look at MJ’s mid-air hand-switch in the closing minutes of a Game 2 win during the 1991 NBA Finals.
Jordan was ringless at the time, and Magic Johnson‘s Lakers team had taken Game 1 in Chicago, briefly blinding prognosticators to the unerring dominance of a Bulls team more-than ready to become a champion.
With Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant starting to come into their own and the best player in the world finally reaching a career apogee which would stretch for the next eight years and six titles, the move has come to symolize the inchoate transformation of MJ into the Greatest Of All Time:
MJ would end Game 2 with 33 points on 15-of-18 shooting to go with 13 assists, seven rebounds, two steals and a block in just 36 minutes of action. The Bulls would win the game by 21 and take the next three for Jordan’s first of six titles.
There’s a reason you’re going to see this play during the NBA’s promos before tonight’s Game 1. It remains one of our first and finest memories as a basketball fan, and the moment we realized we were watching history unfold in the moment.
The hairs are prickling at the back our neck as we remember sitting on the couch as an eight-year-old and falling to the ground in shock as MJ swooped in for the dazzling score.
For some of us, it remains a moment embedded in our brains forever.
On a personal level, if I ever decide to have kids, I’ll just show them this clip whenever they first ask me about the GOAT. Then I’ll spend the next few years trying to teach them the proper form for a jumper.
What do you think?
Follow Spencer on Twitter at @SpencerTyrel.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.