Commentary

Greatest Finals performances: No. 2

Updated: June 16, 2011, 12:05 AM ET
By John Hollinger | ESPN.com

Michael JordanFernando Medina/Getty ImagesDoesn't get any prettier than this: MJ hitting the game-winner to clinch the Bulls' 1998 Finals victory.

Editor's note: We're ranking the best Finals performances since the NBA-ABA merger.


Rankings: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40 | 41-50


2. Michael Jordan, Chicago, 1998

If any Finals performance can be defined by a single image, it's this one: Jordan at the free-throw line in Salt Lake City, simultaneously holding his form on the game-winning basket in the clinching Game 6 and waving goodbye to the game of basketball … at least for a while.

This would be his final effort in a Bulls uniform as well as his last championship. Jordan was huge in both of Chicago's road wins -- victories the Bulls needed, since Utah had home-court advantage -- with 37 points in a 93-88 Game 2 win and 45 in the clincher. That included the final two baskets, bracketing a strip of the ball from Karl Malone and helping Chicago overcome a debilitating back injury to Scottie Pippen.

Jordan's numbers in the other games weren't too shabby, either, as he averaged 33.5 points and nearly 12 free-throw attempts per game overall. His 30.8 PER for the series is superhuman by anyone else's standards, especially in the Finals. And because of how good he was in the most important moments, his performance earns the No. 2 spot on the list.


Rankings: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40 | 41-50


John Hollinger writes for ESPN Insider. To e-mail him, click here.

Justin Kubatko of Basketball-Reference.com contributed research to this list.