The Greatest Sports Photo of All Time

This photo is the greatest sports photo of all time — at least according to Sports Illustrated. The magazine has published a gallery containing 100 of the greatest images (from an American’s perspective), and the #1 image is the above shot of Michael Jordan hitting the game-winning shot to help the Chicago Bulls beat the Utah Jazz and win the 1998 NBA Finals in 6 games.

John Schuhmann over at the NBA’s Hang Time Blog published an interesting interview with Fernando Medina, the photographer behind the iconic photo:

The image was photographed on slide film, so unlike the digital cameras of today, I had no way of seeing the photo until it had been developed by a film lab […] I knew the camera had triggered, but, I had no way of knowing if the flash strobes had fired

[…] I headed to the local film lab that NBA Photos was using to develop the game film that evening. That was the first time I saw the image. No one had found it yet in the dozens of bags of slides from that night. Knowing how I had marked the specific film bag, I found it, opened the box of slides and it was the second image I pulled from the box. I held it up to the light and looked at it for a moment, handed it to Amati, and never saw it again until it was published in ESPN Magazine. That was the first time I was able to actually “see” and truly appreciate the photo.

The television broadcast footage of Jordan hitting the shot has become an iconic clip in sports history as well:

The Shot of the Shot Is No. 1 [Hang Time Blog]

Thanks for sending in the tip, Ivan!

Image credit: Photograph by Fernando Medina/NBAE/Getty Images

  • watsup

    Modern western clothing? all the major fashion houses are inspired by european stylists and designers. As for your american cars, some of the best cars n the world, bugatti, ferrari, lambo are all european. I believe most computer tech is actually asian developed. And americans do lack taste, just a loud and bashful nation, thats not to say there are not some decent americans however nearly half the country voted Romney who is a moron

  • Jim

    No one in Europe drives an American car as they are all terribly designed and built even worse. I use a mac which is designed by Jony Ive (English) and all my suits are English tailored. I could quite happily rid myself of all American influence on Western culture and not really notice. I completely agree with the others, loud, brash, no taste. (I’l let you have the airplane, but then again I hate flying so thanks for that one)

  • Seth Reddington

    As much as I adore Jordan and this moment, this is in no way the best sports photograph of all-time. Ali/Liston and Ruth’s last game come to mind

  • Fotografia Creativa PuntodeVis

    maybe a 100 people more have the same shot from different points… nothing of great! less than all time!

  • Jason Stewart

    Ferrari and Lambo are not the “best cars in the world”. You’re confusing “Fastest” with “Best”.

  • RCB


  • Mantis

    As an American I would like apologize for this embarrassing comment.