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MCINTYRE: Everyone in the place was thinking, Whoa, that must have been counted by a Chicago Republican.
SELLERS: Michael came out for his last dunk, and everybody was standing. He needed a 49 to win. The roar of the place was unparalleled. You can't achieve that type of roar at any of these arenas today. Chicago Stadium was built for spectator sports, not for theatrics. It was raw, everybody on top of each other, no one worried about amenities. I was yelling, "Come on! We've got a lot of money riding on this!" Michael looked over at me, and I was trying to tell him to do one of those dunks he worked on in practice, but he couldn't hear me.
JORDAN (to reporters after the contest):ap I was looking into the crowd at my friends, and they were all telling me to do different things. I was confused. Then I saw the man who got it all started: Dr. J. He motioned for me to go back to the free throw line. That was the best advice I heard all day.
GOODRICH: He dribbled around the middle of the court, acting like he didn't know what he was going to do, but that was all for show. Michael knew exactly what he was doing.
HARPER: When he walked all the way back to the baseline, we realized what was going on. There's only one dunk you go back there for. When he revved up, everybody in the place rose. It's like Michael was telling Dr. J., "This is my dunk now."
"I heard the 'Hallelujah' chorus."
IOOSS: Before his first dunk of the day I looked over at him, and he put his finger on his right knee, so I moved to the left. He did it every time. When he went to the baseline and tried the free-throw-line dunk, I was standing under the basket with my back to the stanchion, and he landed in my lap. That's the one he missed. Then he went back and waved his right hand, moving me left. I ended up about five feet left of the stanchion. That was the famous dunk. [The photo appears on the cover of this issue.]
BARKLEY: There are two types of dunkers: guys who jump off one leg and guys who jump off two. I'm a two-legged jumper. So is Dominique. If you try to jump from the free throw line off two legs, you won't come close. Michael is a one-legged jumper. He jumps and floats.
HARPER: He hit that f------ foul line, and everything seemed to slow down. He was going in slow motion.
FALK: I saw Michael's first tough dunk in college. I went to watch North Carolina play at Maryland, and with five seconds left, the ball popped loose and Michael collected it, cuffed it and sort of pinned it against his forearm before he dunked it. People saw him as a showman, but that's never who he felt he was. He didn't want to be perceived as a dunk king. Championships were all that mattered to him. The rest was window dressing. But the contest was in Chicago, and the league wanted him to do it, so he did. This was before the days that you needed choreographers and costumes. If I recall correctly, Michael levitated at a 45º angle and looked like he was going to hit his head on the rim. He was flying. It was the prelude to Space Jam.