John Stockton said he most certainly agrees with the notion that Michael Jordan pushed off against his Jazz teammate, Bryon Russell.
Michael Jordan put the entirety of the league on lock for a majority of the 1990s. His existence in the league left several NBA legends championship-less. Guys like Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Reggie Miller, John Stockton, and Karl Malone are just a few of the big names that could not win a single ring because MJ won 6 in eight years.
The only team Michael Jordan and his Chicago Bulls had faced multiple times in the NBA Finals was the Utah Jazz. After besting the Seattle Supersonics in 1996, the Bulls went on to face off against Stockton and Malone in two consecutive Finals.
The 1997 Finals saw the defending champions gentlemen sweep the challengers, leading to the Bulls winning their 5th ring. The following Finals saw the series end in 6 games with Michael Jordan hitting the dagger of all daggers.
John Stockton on Michael Jordan pushing off against Bryon Russell.
Michael Jordan had Bryon Russell on him of the majority of the series and it was him who MJ eventually went on to hit perhaps the most iconic shot in the history of the NBA. “17 seconds from Game 7 or from championship number 6,” was the iconic call made right before Jordan hit the jumper by breaking Russell’s ankle and giving the Bulls a one point lead.
However, a closer look at the video shows how Jordan pushed Russell out of the way with his left hand. Many, including Jordan himself, have said numerous times that it wasn’t a push-off and that he merely guided Russell in a direction that he was going towards anyway.
John Stockton believes ‘His Airness’ did push off but says that he wouldn’t call an offensive foul on the play if he was the referee. When asked if Bryon Russell would’ve gotten the same no-call, Stockton refused to answer.
The relationship between Bryon Russell and Michael Jordan eventually come full circle when the former ended up on the Wizards alongside the 6x Finals MVP.