Former Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard Craig Ehlo has responded to Ron Harper’s comments from The Last Dance regarding “The Shot.”
Ehlo has had to live with the painful reminder of being the one who Michael Jordan scored that iconic jumper over to knock the Cavs out of the playoffs in 1989 – he gets calls about it every anniversary – and it was again rubbed in during episode three of ESPN’s captivating docuseries.
Recalling the moment, Jordan branded Cleveland’s coach Lenny Wilkens’ decision to have Ehlo mark him on the last play a mistake. And Harper, who ended up playing for both teams, winning championships with the Chicago Bulls, then later with the Los Angeles Lakers, claimed he had asked to guard MJ.
“We’re up by one and I said, ‘Coach I got MJ,’” Harper said. “Coach tells me, ‘I’m going to put Ehlo on MJ.’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, OK, whatever. F**k this bulls**t.’”
Ehlo, though, doesn’t recall Harper ever asking to guard Jordan on the play and says he was shocked at his former teammate’s comments.
“I never said I was a Jordan stopper like Gerald Wilkins or anything,” he said during a phone interview with cleveland.com this week. “But back then Harp and me were on the court at the same time and he was our big offensive threat. So, when I came in it was a no-brainer that I would guard Jordan so Harp could rest on defense and play on offense.
“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.”