One Member Of The 1989 Cavs Remembers Time Out Conversation Going Differently Than Ron Harper
One of the most memorable moments from episode three of “The Last Dance” on ESPN this past Sunday was former Cleveland Cavaliers guard Ron Harper reliving the last second shot hit by Michael Jordan in the decisive Game 5 of the second round of the 1989 NBA Playoffs.
“We’re up by one and I said, ‘Coach I got MJ,’” recalled Harper. “Coach tells me, ‘I’m going to put Ehlo on MJ.’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, OK, whatever. F**k this bulls**t.’”
Well one player remembers the huddle conversation going a different way. Craig Ehlo, whose name will forever be synonymous with “ The Shot ” since it was his attempt to play defense on Jordan that has been shown on anything related to MJ’s career. In a phone interview with Chris Fedor from cleveland.com, Ehlo recalled coach Lenny Wilkens instructions not being met with any resistance from Harper.
“I never said I was a Jordan stopper like Gerald Wilkins or anything,” Ehlo said. “Harp had never really talked about defense or guarding people. He wasn’t a bad defender, I will give him that much, but I think those years with the Bulls where he got those championships, he was definitely third or fourth fiddle, so all of a sudden, he becomes this lockdown defender, apparently. I don’t really remember him during our time wanting to play defense that much. He kind of shocked me with those comments, saying he wanted to guard Michael.”
Ehlo wasn’t the only person shocked by Harper’s revelation during the episode. Former Cavs point guard was a little taken aback by his former teammates comments as well.
“That was pretty interesting,” said Price. “That caught me a little off guard. I didn’t know Ron had such strong feelings about that because I didn’t really remember all that.”
One thing Ehlo thought was a given in that game was that he was going to hold Jordan since he had been holding him the entire quarter.
“I had been guarding him the whole quarter,” Ehlo recalled. “I just don’t remember anything in the timeout where Harp said, ‘I will take MJ.’ He could have said it with Coach Wilkens face to face, but I had been guarding Michael previously and I think we all kind of just listened to what coach said and did it.”
Harper would later end up with the Chicago Bulls in 1994 right before MJ came out of retirement from a short-lived baseball career. He was a part of the team’s second “Three-Peat” run so his association with the Bulls could have caused “The Shot” story to change over the past 34 years.
Craig Ehlo thinks so.