In this new feature, fans with different perspectives remember the most iconic sports moments of all time. Leading off . . . “The Patrick Ewing Dunk:” Michael Jordan’s famous dunk over Patrick Ewing
Game Three of The 1991 NBA Playoffs. The Chicago Bulls against the NY Knicks.
The Bulls, after setting a franchise record for wins, would go on to beat the Detroit Pistons and then Magic Johnson’s Los Angeles Lakers to win the Championship. It would be the first year of that Bulls Team’s “Three-Peat.” But all that would come later. Before that, they had to get by the Ewing-Oakley-Starks Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
And…they did. With an exclamation point applied by Michael Jordan in the final game of that series. Jordan himself describes it as his most memorable dunk ever:
“It was one where we got into a screen and roll and then I stepped back,” Jordan said, recalling how he eluded John Starks and Charles Oakley before flying along the baseline into the paint to face Ewing. “And then Patrick — I told him ‘Georgetown guys don’t block shots, all they do is take charges.’ I dunked it so hard on him it was unbelievable.”
Bulls fans and many fans of the game agree. I would say:
That dunk is one of the greatest of all time. He first escapes Starks-Oakley double-team, has a brilliant stop-and-fake, and then spins to the baseline and rises up and over one of the greatest shot-blockers of his era. I mean, look at Hubert Davis hold his head in disbelief! Iconic.
Knicks Fan (and Good Men Project reader and contributor) Billy Fishkin feels slightly differently:
That dunk by MJ – while iconic – drives me nuts.
First, his change of direction is about the most egregious “carry” I’ve ever seen.
Second, he leads with his left elbow out, into Patrick’s throat. I’m fine with no call against Jordan, but to whistle Ewing for a foul when the only contact was Jordan’s lead elbow???
Oh, and throw in that it was during one of the many Knick playoff series losses to the Bulls…I hate that play. And I hate the Drake.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a Jordan fan or not, there are some things he did on a basketball court that deserve to be considered iconic. This dunk is one of them. Even if we take the “Ewing factor” out of the equation, iconic moments in sports can only be “iconic” if they are polarizing. And much like Christian Laettner’s shot to beat Kentucky in ’91, this dunk not only provided further evidence of Jordan’s greatness, it also spurred Knicks fans to further hate him. That’s why this is an iconic memory in sports.
Photo Credit: YouTube
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