Could history have been rewritten? “The Shot” never having existed?
On Sunday’s Episode 3 of the “The Last Dance,” Michael Jordan’s iconic shot over Craig Ehlo in the 1989 NBA Playoffs was put under the microscope. Jordan famously sunk a series-clinching shot over Ehlo, securing the second playoff series win of his career.
Ron Harper, also a member of those Cavaliers teams, voiced his displeasure during the episode for Cavs coach Lenny Wilkins putting Ehlo on Jordan for that shot instead of him.
On Wednesday, Ehlo offered some insight to Harper’s comments, per Cleveland.com:
I never said I was a Jordan stopper like Gerald Wilkins or anything. But back then Harp and me were on the court at the same time and he was our big offensive threat. So, when I came in it was a no-brainer that I would guard Jordan so Harp could rest on defense and play on offense.
Harp had never really talked about defense or guarding people. He wasn’t a bad defender, I will give him that much, but I think those years with the Bulls where he got those championships, he was definitely third or fourth fiddle, so all of a sudden he becomes this lockdown defender, apparently. I don’t really remember him during our time wanting to play defense that much. He kind of shocked me with those comments, saying he wanted to guard Michael.
So, in summation: Ehlo was perfectly fine guarding Jordan, while calling into doubt Harper’s real desire to want to defend him. Seems like something that’s festered to this day.
Whatever the case may be, “The Shot” lives in fame as one of the first true iconic Jordan moments, and whether it was Ehlo or Harper, destiny likely wouldn’t have been rewritten.