The year is 1996 and the Michael-Jordan-led Chicago Bulls, had just beaten the Seattle Supersonics, led by Gary Payton in the NBA Finals. The team with Hall of Famers Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and of course Michael Jordan capped off a 72-10 campaign, a record for wins in a season, that concluded with a championship. From that point on, many considered the 1995-1996 Bulls the greatest to ever step foot on an NBA court. However, I have a question. What about this year’s Golden State Warriors?
As of the this article’s publication date, the Warriors sit at 69-9 and are poised to at least tie or even break the Bulls’ record with four games remaining. It would only seem fit that 20 years later that the Warriors would break the Bulls’ record, but what about after that? If the Warriors win the championship this year, they will be the greatest team of all time. Yes, the greatest of all time and here’s why.
To start off, let’s put into context how significant the Bulls’ record is. Before it happened, the most wins in a season was set by the ‘71-‘72 Lakers with 69. The record stood for over 20 years and was broken by three wins. It was a record that was thought to stand the test of time but was eventually beaten. Look at it from a cross-sport perspective.
It’s like going 19-0 in football (sorry Patriot fans), winning 120 games in baseball or getting 132 points in hockey, these seem impossible to be matched. It’s a huge record to break and has to be brought into consideration. Now, that’s one notch for my argument, but I can’t solely rely on that for my case. Look at the talent both teams faced.
Crusty, old basketball enthusiasts like to say that basketball was better in the 90s, along with rap, television, movies and basically everything else. Yes, that decade had the greatest of all time (G.O.A.T.) that is Michael Jordan, but as far as talent across the league it is relatively the same compared to today’s talent, maybe even less. What makes Charles Barkley any different from Tim Duncan or Payton from Chris Paul? All are great players who have played on great teams, but the Warriors have played more talented teams with talent like that more times than the Bulls had.
The Bulls only faced highcaliber teams with the likes of Hakeem Olajuwon, Barkley, Payton, John Stockton and Karl Malone maybe twice that year because the Bulls are in the Eastern Conference and the players I named all played in the Western Conference. The Bulls wouldn’t face a Western team again until the finals. The most challenging team the Bulls faced was the Orlando Magic led by a young Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway. Now look at the talent the Warriors have faced.
The team has faced the likes of the Spurs, Thunder, Clippers and Grizzles at least six to eight times. All of the teams I mentioned have future Hall of Famers on them, and the Warriors have played the best talent the NBA has to offer more times than the Bulls had to. Also, I guarantee the Warriors will face two of those teams again in the playoffs so the road is a lot tougher compared to the road the Bulls had.
Now, if the Warriors win, and that is a big if, they will be considered the greatest team in NBA history. I have high confidence in the fact that they will win the finals if they get there because the teams in the East are nowhere near as good as the teams in the West. But, anything can happen from now until then. Let’s just hope Stephen Curry remains healthy so that my claim rings true.