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25 years on: Remembering the 72-10 Chicago Bulls from the 1995-96 NBA season

Victory! Photo: NBAE-Andrew-Bernstein
Victory! Photo: NBAE-Andrew-Bernstein
SENIOR ANALYST

The 72-10 Chicago Bulls are regarded as one of the best NBA teams of all-time. A quarter century ago, the 1995-96 juggernaut was the first team to crack the 70-win mark.

Michael Jordan won the NBA MVP and Finals MVP, and Chicago Bulls head coach Phil Jackson won his only Coach of the Year award.

Dennis Rodman (also winning the rebounding title), Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan were all 1st team All-NBA. Jerry Krause was named Executive of the Year, Toni Kukoc 6th Man of the Year.

My Top 5 NBA teams of all-time

Here's is how I feel the all-time great NBA teams stack up.

  1. 1996 Chicago Bulls
  2. 2017 Golden State Warriors
  3. 1983 Philadelphia 76'ers
  4. 1972 Los Angeles Lakers
  5. 1986 Boston Celtics

Chicago Bulls dominance

The Chicago Bulls started 23-3 that season before winning 18 straight to sit at 41-3. Phil Jackson describes what the Chicago Bulls felt like every night:

"They just liked to win every game," Jackson said of that 1995-96 team. "Didn't take games off. That was a team that really liked it. Michael was out to prove something, that his comeback was going to be for real, the him you saw in the playoffs last season was a guy who wasn't at his peak in basketball performance level. He wanted to drive that home. Dennis was proving to be what he always has been, a great rebounder and defender and disturber. He was great at it. It fit like a glove. Toni and Dennis played center. We had a mobile, manipulative, ball handling group of guys. People had a very hard time against that lineup."

When Mike was Mike

Hall of Famer Chris Webber spoke about Michael Jordan and the Bulls team whom his team the Bullets faced in 97, said:

"We lost by a total of what six or seven points in the three losses? This is a team that won 72 games? That was one of the best series I played in. We were talking junk to Mike the whole time. We knew him, looked up to him and admired him. In the back of our mind I guess we knew we were gonna lose. Juwan and I said if we are gonna lose we are gonna go out and make sure they don’t forget us. We had to take it back to college because they were gonna kill us. I remember how loud Landover Arena was and them barely beating us the last game on a Pippen shot at the buzzer. We had a good young team. It’s cool to be young now because you have a chance to win, but then when Mike was in his thirties, you didn’t have a chance. You had to wait around six to eight years."

Don't talk junk to Michael Jordan. Ever. The Last Dance showed how determined Jordan was, and even when tired during the season, he always turned it up and emphatically took the opposition's will -- often in dramatic fashion. Michael Jordan was the most famous athlete in the world at the time, and the dominance the Chicago Bulls exhibited that entire season is as memorable as its record.

Michael Jordan was the catalyst. There was no more feared athlete. He was the perfect athlete. A perfect athlete that simply did not fail when the lights were brightest. That the Bulls had an excellent head coach in Phil Jackson, the triangle specialist on the bench in Tex Winter, a solid 2nd unit, four elite defenders: Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and of course Dennis Rodman meant they could have won every game that year. Their last three losses were by a point each, so even winning 72 games might have been underperforming for the legendary team.

Many will say the Golden State Warriors, at 73-9, should be the top NBA team of all time. The difference is, the Chicago Bulls finished the job and won the NBA championship that season. Michael Jordan was so far above the rest of the league that despite being the face of the league and the Chicago Bulls, he was a straight basketball assassin, and even 25 years later kids still want to be like Mike, and so do the Chicago Bulls.

Also Read: Michael Jordan’s net worth, salary, endorsements and more


Edited by S Chowdhury
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