SPOKANE, Wash. — ESPN has been airing a new documentary called "The Last Dance" that has sports fans buzzing about the Chicago Bulls dynasty of the 1990s and Michael Jordan.
Former Washington State forward Craig Ehlo was in a recent episode, which showed a moment that defines his career, albeit not in a great way. However, he doesn’t look back on it negatively.
It was May 7, 1989, when Ehlo and the Cleveland Cavaliers were facing off against Jordan's Bulls in the a win-or-go-home game in the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
The former Coug hit a layup with three seconds to go to give the Cavs a one point lead. But nobody really thinks about that part.
What they remember and think about is what happened shortly thereafter.
Michael Jordan catches the ball, dribbles to his left, pulls up for a jumper, hangs in the air for an absurd amount of time, drills the shot and delivers one of the most iconic moments in sports history. It's now known as "The Shot", and he hit it over Ehlo.
“It kind of changed the face of both franchises," Ehlo said. "It propelled them to the confidence that they needed. We just felt like we have a big obstacle in the way, and it’s the Bulls and Jordan.”
Ehlo said the moments leading up to that shot were loud from the crowd as the Cavs led late. There was trash talking involved.
“I was kind of standing there alone with him at the top of the key and he was in that famous grab-the-shorts stance, kind of bent over," the former Coug recalled. "I just said like, 'You’re not going to score.' And he kind of just turned and looked at me, grinned and said, "You can’t stop me.'”
Jordan was right. He made sure he brought it up the only time the two met up face-to-face after that. It was while Ehlo’s son, Austin, was getting an autograph from Jordan.
Someone told Jordan that Ehlo and his son were there. He called them over to his booth guarded by security when it was Austin's turn in line.
“As we were leaving he was like, 'You’ve seen that shot haven’t you?'”
Ehlo had a solid career, but when people think of him, they tend to just think of Jordan and that shot. He said that used to be annoying for him, but now he looks back on it with a positive attitude thanks to something his dad told him.
“He said, 'Think about it. You were a third-round pick, your percentages and chances of even making the league were minimal,'" Ehlo recalled the things his dad said to him. "You went to center stage with the best player, and your team and your coaches, they wanted you to guard him.' So that’s pretty special..”