History

Top NBA Finals moments: Michael Jordan's shrug in 1992 Finals

In Game 1 of the 1992 Finals, Michael Jordan hit six 3s in the first half, leading to a key moment in NBA history.

From NBA.com Staff

In 1992, Michael Jordan got hot from deep, leading to one of the best reactions in NBA history.


The Game: 1992 Finals, Game 1

The Series Situation: Chicago Bulls and Portland Trail Blazers tied, 0-0

The Play: Michael Jordan keys a 57-23 run that starts late in the second quarter, putting on one of the most dazzling individual performances in Finals history. He buried the Portland Trail Blazers with a barrage of 3-pointers, a then-record six in the first half, as the Chicago Bulls pulled away.

The Significance: Michael Jordan was, at best, a mediocre 3-point shooter, making just 32.7 percent of his shots from there and, in the 1991-92 season, made just 27 percent of them. Yet that June, he stitched together perhaps the most memorable 3-point shooting sequence of all time. His rat-a-tat-tat firing of six 3-pointers against the Trail Blazers in the 1992 NBA Finals led to “The Shrug,” one of the best reactions in NBA history.

Jordan came out firing in Game 1, Chicago Stadium was buzzing by his fourth 3-pointer and nearly exploded after his fifth. Then came the sixth. Guarded by Cliff Robinson, Jordan let it fly. When the ball swished, his first reaction wasn’t a shrug, but instead a taunting shake of the head — no, no, no — in Robinson’s direction. The Shrug. As in: “What in the hell did I just do?” or “What can I say?” The Shrug happened when Jordan glanced courtside at Magic Johnson, then an NBC commentator, and it became iconic.

His six three-pointers were a Finals record for a half, same for his 35 points (Jordan finished with 39). Jordan’s top foil in the series, Clyde Drexler, had 16 points. The Bulls won in six games and Drexler outscored Jordan in only one game (which the Blazers lost).

— Shaun Powell

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