The Chicago Bulls won the NBA title every year, for almost a whole decade, from 1991. They only missed the 1994 and 1995 titles after Jordan left the team to play baseball. The Bulls faced the legendary Utah Jazz in both the 1997 and 1998 finals.
Utah Jazz was led by their power forward; Karl Malone and point guard John Stockton. On the other hand, the Bulls were under the leadership of Michael Jordan together with other determined players: Scottie Pippen, Phil Jackson, and Dennis Rodman.
During Game Five of the 1997 NBA Finals, Michael Jordan had displayed outstanding performance and had managed to steer his team to a victory with 38 points. Though he had been suffering from a flu, he managed to score the winning three-pointer with just 25 seconds left. Scottie Pippen, a teammate, then helped Jordan off the court. Jordan won his fifth Finals MVP award while the Chicago Bulls proceeded to win the series in six games.
On June 14, 1998, Utah won Game One in overtime, but Bulls won the next three games. Utah Jazz then sent the series back to Utah after winning Game Five. The score was 83-81. Game Six was the final show of Michael Jordan’s skills. Scottie Pippen was suffering from back spasms, and he only managed to play for 26 minutes.
In the last minute, Jazz was heading by three before Jordan rescued Chicago by driving to the basket and scoring with just 37 seconds left. Utah’s veteran, Karl Malone, tried to maneuver with the ball, but Michael Jordan snuck and retrieved the ball from him. After nudging Utah’s Bryon Russell out of his way, Jordan hit an 18-foot jumper with just 5 seconds left. Chicago Bulls clinched their third championship in a row after John Stockton missed a three-pointer near the buzzer.
Jordan had led the Chicago Bulls to an 87-86 win over Utah Jazz to clinch the club’s third consecutive NBA title. Jordan scored 45 points and scored the winning shot with just 5 seconds left. It seemed like a fitting end to his historic career. The star had set up this dramatic finale after scoring 45 points and shooting the game-winning basket after having stolen the ball earlier. Jordan had overcome fatigue to reaffirm his status as NBA’s best player.
The defender lost his footing and fell on the court as he tried to prevent Jordan from passing. Jordan then stopped and threw the shot that would have been a win or loss for Chicago Bulls.
“Big surprise,” Commissioner David Stern remarked while he was presenting the Finals MVP trophy. “Michael Jordan, get over here. You grace us with your presence.”
“Let’s face it,” said Steve Kerr, Bulls guard. "We all hopped on Michael's back. He just carried us. It was his game tonight. That guy was ridiculous. He is so good it's scary."
"We've been trying to double-team (Karl Malone)," Jordan said. "And Hornacek (Utah’s) was trying to, I guess, pick Karl Malone, and he never really cleared, which gave me an opportunity to go back. Karl never saw me coming, and I was able to knock the ball away."
The series was huge even though it marked the end of the Chicago dynasty.