Today in Sports History: June 20th

6/20/1993 - Paxon three gives Bulls three-peat

The Chicago Bulls become the first team in 27 years to win three consecutive championships, and they do it on one of the most famous shots in NBA history. With 13.3 seconds remaining in regulation, the Phoenix Suns held a 98-96 lead in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. The Bulls' offense had gone dry and had managed only nine points in the period -- all of which had come from Michael Jordan.

Jordan received the ball from the backcourt and dribbled ahead as the clock ran down. He dished it to Scottie Pippen, who suddenly had a clear path to the rim. Pippen dribbled in before a defender blocked him off, then passed it to Horace Grant. Grant then whipped the ball out to three-point specialist John Paxon, who had been left wide open from the left wing as the Suns tried to cut off the ball. With nobody near him, Paxon drilled a 25-foot three to give the Bulls a 99-98 lead with 3.9 seconds left.

"You just catch it and you shoot it," Paxson later said of the shot. "I've done it hundreds of thousands of times in my life. This is a dream. I can't describe what I feel right now. Maybe we're the ones destined to win after all."

After a Phoenix Suns timeout, the ball was given to Oliver Miller, who dished it back to point guard Kevin Johnson. Johnson streaked into the lane, hoping for a desperation floater. But just as he was about to attempt his floater, Horace Grant slapped the ball out of his hands, preventing the Suns from getting a shot off. The Bulls had won, and the hero of the game was the man who had lost his starting role to B.J. Armstrong.

"You play all year and then it comes down to this -- every eye in the arena following the ball," Suns coach Paul Westphal said of Paxson's shot. "It seemed as if the ball was in the air for an hour. Every kid dreams of that in his backyard, and Paxson got to live out his dream. It was a great shot. We lost to a great team."

"This was the greatest basketball game I've ever played in," said Barkley, who had 21 points and 17 rebounds. "We gave it everything and the Bulls can say they did the same."

With the win, Michael Jordan's legacy had been sealed. He averaged a record 41.0 per game throughout the series and won his third consecutive Finals MVP. He was now generally considered to be the greatest player of all time -- even better than Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. However, Game 6 would be the last game he played in for nearly two seasons, as he announced his brief retirement that October.

6/20/2004 - Griffey joins the 500 club

Ken Griffey Jr. was the odds-on favorite to break Hank Aaron's home run record. But injuries slowed him down considerably and he never even got close. He was the youngest player in history to hit his 400th home run, yet when he slammed #500 in June of 2004, Griffey was the sixth fastest to the milestone.

Griffey hit #500 in style. With his father of the same name in the stands, Griffey hit his home run on father's day of all holidays. It was appropriate, considering that the Griffeys were the most famous father-son duo in all of baseball. They even batted back-to-back for a time when they were in Seattle.

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