No argument about the best NBA teams of all-time can take place without including the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls. They won a record 72 games during the regular season, then blitzed through the playoffs with a 15-3 record (only losing once to the Knicks in overtime, before dropping two straight to Seattle after the championship had been all but clinched). And while people like myself and Celts Fan will take some mid-’80s teams ahead of the Unstop-a-Bulls, the most successful team in history has to be mentioned.
That entire regular season was a joke for Chicago. They started out the year at 41-3, murdering teams so convincingly that people were already jotting down Ls before the games even started. They lost just once by more than 10 points throughout the entire regular season, and that was a 32-point drubbing in Madison Square Garden. I distinctively remember watching that game, and being in a complete daze for the rest of the day (it was a Sunday afternoon game). The team was so dominant that it felt alien to see them even be tested, much less get blown out.
Today, Phil Taylor of Sports Illustrated reminisced on that year and covering the Bulls.
But those scenes were no more memorable than the ones that I saw when the games were over, including the sight of Rodman and the artist formerly known (at the time) as Prince heading off into the night together after another Bulls win, no doubt headed for some Chicago hotspot where it was Androgynous Celebrity Night. Rodman, who joined Jordan and Pippen on the All-Defensive team, was like a magnet for Hollywood types. The late Gene Siskel, the well-known film critic and passionate Bulls fan, once told me that he was more nervous to meet the Worm than when he met Robert DeNiro. After one playoff win, I remember seeing Rodman walking casually down a hall at the United Center, completely unconcerned that supermodel Cindy Crawford was scurrying along in leather pants and high heels, trying to keep up with him.
Taylor hit on many of the well-known stories from that year, including how Scottie Pippen still wasn’t all that fond of Rodman because of the way the defensive ace had treated Pippen during the Bad Boy Pistons days of five or six years earlier, and how MJ once punched out Steve Kerr.
There’s even a mention of MJ being socially-conscious, which is probably the most surprising thing of all.
What do you think? What are your best memories of that team?
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