A lot of things Mike Francesa does are cringe-worthy, but the New York sports radio czar really out-did himself this time.
After announcing to his listeners that he was speaking with George Karl, Francesa said this:
“If you take it back even to your classic series with the Bulls, the great Bulls teams, that ended on the Jordan shot—I know he pushed off—you guys played great the rest of the series. And then the classic play in Game 6 obviously with Jordan and Russell.”
The shot Francesa is referring to came in Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals, when Jordan’s Bulls beat the Utah Jazz to clinch the title thanks to MJ’s jumper over Russell in the final seconds.
That Utah team was coached by Jerry Sloan. Karl coached the Supersonics at the time and also had stints with the Cavaliers, Warriors, Bucks, Nuggets and Kings, but never the Jazz.
Karl’s Sonics did face MJ’s Bulls in the 1996 Finals, losing in six games, as Karl patiently explained to Francesa.
“No, that was Utah. My scenario was, we lost Game 6 in a situation where we couldn’t put the ball in the basket.”
Indeed, the Sonic shot only 42.5 percent in Game 6, including 20.8 percent from 3-point range. They lost by 12 points, 87-75.
Here’s the clip of Francesa and Karl’s profoundly awkward mix-up:
Karl had to be polite, of course, because he’s trying to sell books, but you’ve got to imagine his eyes rolled out of his head when he realized Francesa was either misremembering his career or misremembering one of the most famous plays in NBA history.