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It was, without question, a fairy tale ending, a moment of crowning glory, the victor's march. The most remarkable career in professional basketball was coming to an end. Michael Jordan was calling it quits - this time for good. The man who had graced the NBA with his incomparable acrobatics, dazzling smile and seemingly endless string of "great" games was bowing out. But it just may be his final act that people will remember.
As Phil Jackson said, “That was beautiful, what a finish!”
With Chicago down by one point and the ball in the hands of Karl Malone on the Bulls' end of the court, the victory was surely won. All Malone and the Jazz had to do was run out the clock. But this was not an ordinary ending. This was Michael Jordan with one last opportunity to show off his remarkable skill. It was the artist's finishing touch on a masterpiece called Air Jordan. It was picturesque, classic MJ announcing to basketball fans everywhere that there was only room for one man at the top of basketball's Who's Who.
As the clock ticked off the final seconds, time stood still as the thousands packed in the arena and millions more watching by television held their collective breath. And then as if fate had laid a providential hand on Jordan, the monumental move was made. With catlike quickness, #23 whisked the ball from Malone's grasp, streaked down court, and with every ounce of pride and determination pumping through his veins, the man who had seemingly done it all did it again and nailed a two-pointer from the top of the key for an 87-86 Bulls’ victory. It was indeed a fitting end to the greatest basketball career of them all.
Now, America's Sports Artist, Rick Rush, has recorded this classic treasure for sports fans everywhere with "Beautiful Finish," a work certain to retain a timeless value. Rush's dynamic creation of MJ's finale details the heart and soul of Jordan's last second heroics with all the excitement, color and poignancy that saturated Jordan's career: Jordan's steal, the final second jumper flanked by Scottie Pippen, and a desperate Bryon Russell, the Jazz's defender, on the floor.
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