Michael Jordan Avoids a Block by Sam Perkins by Switching Hands Mid-Air While Dunking

This is what Jordan did with 7:44 left in the fourth quarter: He took a pass at the foul line from Cliff Levingston, dribbled down the middle of the painted lane and rose to dunk the ball with his right hand.

A simple enough move for even the average NBA player, right?

Problem. "At first I saw a clear lane to the basket and I was going to dunk the ball, but I saw long-armed Sam Perkins in the way," Jordan explained.

There was no indication Perkins would jump and attempt a block. Probably, Perkins just wanted to get out of the way and not be "posterized," which is what happens when the dunkee is humiliated by the dunker. But Jordan thought Perkins, his college teammate, would try to block the dunk, so he switched the ball from his right to his left hand at chest level.

He was coming back to earth, we thought. Maybe the whistle had blown, because Jordan had pulled his hand back, away from the rim. But no foul had been called, and Jordan leveled off. As his body floated to the right, Jordan extended his left hand, and flipped the ball off glass, with reverse spin, into the basket. "It was another example of him doing the impossible, the unbelievable," Magic Johnson said. "He changed hands, floated about five more yards and said, 'Well, I don't know, I might need to float a little further.' Then he puts it in off glass."

At first I saw a clear lane to the basket and I was going to dunk the ball, but I saw long-armed Sam Perkins in the way.”

— Michael Jordan