‘The Shot’ as you’ve never seen it before
By Rob Mahoney
Although certain NBA highlights have been immortalized through repetition, we don’t consider enough the ways that visual perspective influence our understanding of those memorable events.
If, like most basketball fans, you’ve only lived and relived some of the game’s greatest moments through video, then you’re bound by the rigid confines of a broadcast view. If you happened to catch some bit of basketball history in person, then you’re likely to draw on a vivid, multisensory experience from the unique vantage point of your ticketed seat.
Either way, what you remember from that experience is dependent on what you saw and what you didn’t, the company you kept and the context of the initial showing. It’s all rather personal, in a way, even as so many recall now-ubiquitous plays from an identical point of view.
But today, we have a video that challenges that perspective in a particularly fun way, and inverts our point of view on a play that’s become an essential part of the Michael Jordan lore. MJ’s game-winning and series-clinching jumper over the Cavaliers’ Craig Ehlo and the in the first round of the 1989 playoffs ranks as one of the most indelible sequences in a highlight-filled career, though it’s most often recounted from a perspective on the opposite baseline. Above is a video of that very same shot from a directly opposite angle — one that gives the play an entirely different feel and inspires a fuller appreciation of the jumper’s absurdity. Ehlo, to his credit, is all over it. Jordan just lingered in the air long enough to pull of a miracle and crystallize an event that would be played countless times over.
Skip ahead to the 1:48 mark if you’re the impatient type, but be sure to stick around for the postgame explosion and interviews that have otherwise been trimmed from the typical clips of Jordan’s infamous game-winner.