Jordan has squeezed off 37 shots. Twenty-one have found their mark, three from beyond the arc. Throw in his 10 foul shots and Jordan, as Spike Lee will put it, has dropped "a double nickel" on the Knicks.
During the 1994-95 season, Chicago's second-most celebrated basketball player may have been a West Sider named William Gates. He's the costar of Hoop Dreams, the acclaimed documentary film that traces Gates's life from age 14, when he was only a whisper in the Cabrini-Green housing projects, through high school, to the day his world-weary mother and washed-up older brother tearfully send him off to Marquette on a full scholarship. In a moment that gets just right the suddenness with which parenthood can steal up on adolescents living in places like Cabrini-Green, the film cuts to a shot at the Gates's kitchen table. Encircling it are an infant girl, Alicia; her teenage mother, Catherine; and William, who, it becomes quickly clear, is Alicia's father. They are discussing the day Alicia was born and Catherine's request that William be in the delivery room—a request that went unfulfilled. "I can't miss a game just because an incident occurs, you know, unless it was like a death or something like that," William says.
"Something like that!" says Catherine. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing! Like the girl is born every day...."
"Especially around that time of the year, too, state tournament," says William.
Last night, Oscar night, Gates was in the Garden, playing in the Golden Eagles' 87-79 NIT semifinal defeat of Penn State.
Gates didn't intend to let the Bulls pass through town tonight without looking in on his homeboys, and, a movie star now, he lined up courtside seats with Lee. But at 6 a.m. Catherine, now Gates's wife, called to tell him she was again going into labor, more than five weeks early.
It's an instructive epilogue to the film that Gates headed back to Chicago to witness the birth of his second child, William Jr. "Catherine's getting me back," Gates thought to himself as he headed for the airport. "Michael saved that performance for me, and I missed it," he will say upon hearing what had occurred in his absence.
Gates never did make it back for the NIT final, which Marquette lost 65-64 in overtime to Virginia Tech. Yet his decision bespoke a maturity that developed only after Hoop Dreams finished filming. He seems to have learned that you can hoop-dream all you want, but ultimately reality will settle back in—and in reality there's much more to life than a basketball game.
The foul that puts Starks on the line, where his free throws will tie the game at 111, is Perdue's sixth. Jackson sends Wennington in at center, and the Bulls call a timeout.
In the huddle the Bull staff points out that the Knicks have permanently changed their defensive thinking. After letting Starks (and such others as Greg Anthony, Hubert Davis and Derek Harper) be used and abused for most of the game, New York has sent Ewing over the last three times Jordan probed the Knick defense. Jackson and his aides remind Jordan that there will be a vacuum in the middle into which a teammate might slip.