With ESPN’s much-anticipated, 10-part documentary on Michael Jordan and the 1990s Chicago Bulls, “The Last Dance,” premiering this Sunday, we at WARR Media want to take you through each of the six championship seasons that made up that unprecedented (at least in Chicago) and still-unrivaled decade-long run.
Members of the WARR.com staff, The D & Davis Show and some of our close friends will touch on the six title runs with the specific talking points that you see below.
MFP (Most Favorite Player): The emergence of B.J. Armstrong in ’93 was one of the elements that helped define the dynasty and secure a third straight championship.
The Bulls triple-post era offense doesn’t work without legit shooters and in ’93 the team’s perimeter shooting was in the midst of a makeover as the grizzled veteran Trent Tucker was brought in to replace an ostracized Craig Hodges. B.J. did his part to fill the void left by Hodges as well while establishing himself as a bona-fide starter, and one of the the league’s most efficient marksmen from behind the arc (league leading 45.3 percent), earning himself the nickname “Babyface Assassin.”
In the playoffs, Armstrong led a three-headed point guard attack (including Tucker and John Paxson) where hugging the perimeter to create space for MJ and knocking down open looks. B.J. was now a critical part of the championship equation. (Sean “Pharoah” Terry)
Most Memorable Game: On November 22, 1992, the Bulls squared off against the Phoenix Suns in an early season match-up. Little did we know that game would be a showcase of the eventual clash of the titans that came in the NBA Finals. The Bulls notched a victory on this day, setting the high water mark for scoring that season and outpacing the Suns 128-111.
The future MVP, Charles Barkley, had a modest 22 points (Mike out-did him with a game-high 40) but the new look Suns left an impression. I can vividly remember watching that game and seeing a team with championship bravado, stacked and talented enough to be worth seeing again in June. (ST)
Top 7 Upsets In NBA Finals History – Bulls vs. Suns (FanSided)
— Consideration can go to two more games — first, the last game where 1980s Michael Jordan surfaced past 1989 was Mike’s 64-point performance against the Magic in a 128-124 overtime loss on January 16, 1993.
Much like the younger MJ, he had one of his biggest scoring bursts but in a loss where not much of the other Bulls showed up. Jordan himself was even more inefficient than usual, needing 49 shots to reach his second-highest single-game total. Still the game was great in the moment, a high-tempo affair for the time and rookie Shaq went wild with 29 points and 24 rebounds.
The last game worth singling out was Game 3 of the Finals — another loss interestingly enough, but the 129-121 Suns win in three OTs was a wild, gun-slinging contest where desperate Phoenix had just enough to hold off Jordan’s game-high 44 points.
The Suns trio of Barkley, Kevin Johnson and Dan Majerle were at their best in this game that kept the series from going 3-0 in the Bulls favor, squeezing the first drama out this match-up and setting up much more to come. (Kyle Means)
Favorite Stat of the Season: The road team winning every game except for the Bulls home win in Game 4 — that win (featuring 55 from Jordan) wound up being enough to tip the series in their favor permanently. (Ryan Bukowiecki)
Most Hated Opponent: Knicks again, although Starks yamming on Mike and Horace in Game 2 of the ECF is an all-time moment. — “Take a chance like when John Starks dunked on the Bulls”. (Chris Pennant)
Favorite Personal Moment: The epic containment of Charles Smith was incredibly satisfying as a Bulls fan. It essentially clinched a series in Game 5 that the Bulls started out 0-2 in. But with this relentless defensive effort, an encapsulation of the “Doberman” aesthetic that Phil Jackson and Johnny Bach promoted through the first 3-peat.
It also had to be one of, if not the most, embarrassing moments for the Knicks and their fans in that era. No love was lost and we knew that if they could have done the same to Scott Williams they would have did so and kicked him in the balls to boot. But nope, the Timberlands were on our feet, son, and we stomped out the Garden with them with a series lead that won’t be lost and a third consecutive Finals trip on the horizon. (KM)
— Neil Funk screaming “Paxson….YEAAAAAAAAH!” after Pax’s trey in Game 6. (CP)
Top NBA Finals moments: Paxson’s 3-pointer seals three-peat for Bulls (NBA.com)
Bulls Pop Culture Moment: Definitely the adoption of the term “3-Peat.” It didn’t originate with the Bulls, and ironically the then-hated Pat Riley got over with the feat being accomplished in Chicago due to his early patents of the term, but it became wholly associated with this team accomplishing that long-awaited piece of history.
By the Summer of 1993 everyone in Chicago was brimming with the irrational confidence of a Denzel Valentine contested three from 25 feet as far as the Bulls were concerned and the “3-Peat” period was the embodiment of that confidence. This team and its stars earned that confidence in them, that’s why the two losses in the Knicks and Suns series were easier to deal with than they would have been in other seasons.
The Bulls were a team that were not in any position to let us down or let themselves down, at least until one fateful day that coming October. (ST)
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