John Paxson Finally Reveals Why Michael Jordan Trusted Him With Bulls’ Three Peat Winning Buzzer Beater

Published 09/05/2021, 12:46 PM EDT
Chicago Bulls All-Star forward # 23 Michael Jordan file photos. (Photo by Tom Berg/WireImage)


The Chicago Bulls put a neatly tied bow to the 1992-93 NBA season by securing their first historic three-peat. In fact, one entire episode of ‘The Last Dance’ focused on this season and the ’93 NBA Finals. And there were many reasons for it. Michael Jordan was completely unstoppable against Charles Barkley’s Phoenix Suns. He bagged another Finals MVP and most of all, several other players of the Chicago Bulls stepped up but most of all John Paxson who dropped the game-winner that Jordan had faith in.

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How did John Paxson make that bucket?

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After a tug-of-war of a series, the Chicago Bulls vs Phoenix Suns dragged it to a Game 6 with the Bulls leading 3-2. This was Chicago’s golden opportunity to put an end to a tiresome season and win three consecutive NBA Finals. With less than 15 seconds for the buzzer to go off, the Suns were leading by two points. The score paused at 98-96.

Of course, it was Michael Jordan who added all of their 9 points of the last quarter. So, everyone was looking at him to score the game-winner. However, something unexpectedly incredible happened. Once Jordan got the ball up to the court, he passed it to Scottie Pippen, who received it just a little past the logo. The ball then went to Horace Grant, who had a tougher shot ahead of him, so instead, he gave it to John.

John Paxson found himself completely open and then sunk the three-pointer that got them their 99-98 lead. And when the Suns failed to act upon their last possession, it was game over and history had been made.

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Why Michael Jordan had faith in his teammate

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Although the outcome proved to be beneficial, fans had been wondering for years why MJ gave up the ball himself. And why didn’t he make the shot instead. But now, John Paxson has finally revealed Jordan’s mindset behind it.

He explained, “Michael had to trust you as a competitor. In my mind, it was as simple. He didn’t like you being any nonsense in terms of how you played. He just wanted you to go out and compete.”

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It takes greatness to recognize greatness. Paxson only had 8 points in Game 6, yet everyone believed he was capable of making that clutch shot. Trusting teammates no matter how legendary you are is what makes you a hero, not taking all the important shots. That’s also why MJ is the GOAT.

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Yashima Bhatia

1499 articles

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked.

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