1996 NBA Finals

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1996 NBA Finals
1996nbafinals.jpg
Team Coach Wins
Chicago Bulls Phil Jackson 4
Seattle SuperSonics George Karl 2
Dates June 5–16
MVP Michael Jordan
(Chicago Bulls)
Television NBC (U.S.)
Announcers Marv Albert, Matt Guokas and Bill Walton
Radio network ESPN
Announcers Brent Musburger and Jack Ramsay
Referees
Game 1: Dan Crawford, Joey Crawford, Bennett Salvatore
Game 2: Hue Hollins, Jess Kersey, Ed T. Rush
Game 3: Dick Bavetta, Hugh Evans, Steve Javie
Game 4: Joey Crawford, Mike Mathis, Bill Oakes
Game 5: Hue Hollins, Jess Kersey, Ed T. Rush
Game 6: Dick Bavetta, Hugh Evans, Steve Javie
Hall of Famers Bulls:
Michael Jordan (2009)
Scottie Pippen (2010)
Dennis Rodman (2011)
SuperSonics:
Gary Payton (2013)
Coaches:
Phil Jackson (2007)
Tex Winter (2011)
Officials:
Dick Bavetta (2015)
Eastern Finals Bulls defeat Magic, 4–0
Western Finals SuperSonics defeat Jazz, 4–3
NBA Finals

The 1996 NBA Finals was the championship series of the 1995–96 National Basketball Association (NBA) season. The Western Conference champion Seattle SuperSonics (64–18) played the Eastern Conference champion Chicago Bulls (72–10), with the Bulls holding home court advantage. The teams' 136 combined regular season wins shattered the previous record of 125, set in 1985. The series was played under a best-of-seven format.

Chicago won the series 4 games to 2. Michael Jordan was named NBA Finals MVP.

NBC Sports used Ahmad Rashād (Bulls sideline) and Hannah Storm (SuperSonics sideline).

Hal Douglas narrated the season-ending documentary Unstopabulls for NBA Entertainment.

This was the 50th NBA Finals played.

Background[edit]

Chicago Bulls[edit]

The Bulls were coming off a season in which Michael Jordan returned from an 18-month retirement, only to lose in the second round of the playoffs to the Orlando Magic. Heading into the upcoming season, Chicago was no longer the same team as they were in their most recent championship season of 1993, having lost key members of their first three-peat core in John Paxson, Bill Cartwright, Horace Grant, B. J. Armstrong, Stacey King, Will Perdue, and Scott Williams. The former two retired while the latter five left via free agency.

In their place was a new core of players such as Luc Longley, Toni Kukoč, Steve Kerr, Ron Harper, Jud Buechler, Bill Wennington and Randy Brown. But perhaps their biggest addition to the team was Dennis Rodman, a nine-year veteran who had been a rebounding champion for four straight years, and whose controversial lifestyle has been well-documented.

The end result of this ensemble was perhaps the greatest regular season of any team in NBA history at the time, as the Bulls won a then-record 72 games. They continued to gain momentum in the playoffs, beginning with a sweep of the Miami Heat in the first round, followed by a five-game defeat of the New York Knicks in the second round. The conference finals was a rematch of the previous season's series with the Orlando Magic, but it was a no-contest, as the Bulls swept the Magic to gain entry into the Finals.

Seattle SuperSonics[edit]

The SuperSonics were led by Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp, with George Karl as head coach. The team was considered a title contender during the mid-1990s, but the closest they came from a trip to the finals was in 1993, when they lost to the Phoenix Suns in seven games.

Two straight first-round exits followed, with the stunning 1994 loss to the eight-seeded Denver Nuggets the most painful of all. Motivated by a successive string of early playoff losses, the Sonics ran all over the Western Conference ladder, finishing with a franchise record 64 victories.

Seattle began its playoff run with a four-game win over the Sacramento Kings, followed by a sweep of the defending champion Houston Rockets They did ran into trouble against the Utah Jazz in the conference finals, but the determined Sonics won the series in seven games to make it to the finals for the first time since 1979.

Road to the Finals[edit]

Main article: 1996 NBA Playoffs
Seattle SuperSonics (Western Conference Champion) Chicago Bulls (Eastern Conference Champion)
Western Conference
# Team W L PCT GB
1 c-Seattle SuperSonics 64 18 .780
2 y-San Antonio Spurs 59 23 .720 5
3 x-Utah Jazz 55 27 .671 9
4 x-Los Angeles Lakers 53 29 .646 11
5 x-Houston Rockets 48 34 .585 16
6 x-Portland Trail Blazers 44 38 .537 20
7 x-Phoenix Suns 41 41 .500 23
8 x-Sacramento Kings 39 43 .476 25
9 Golden State Warriors 36 46 .439 28
10 Denver Nuggets 35 47 .427 29
11 Los Angeles Clippers 29 53 .354 35
12 Dallas Mavericks 26 56 .317 38
13 Minnesota Timberwolves 26 56 .317 38
14 Vancouver Grizzlies 15 67 .183 49

1st seed in the West, 2nd best league record

Regular season
Eastern Conference
# Team W L PCT GB
1 z-Chicago Bulls 72 10 .878
2 y-Orlando Magic 60 22 .732 12
3 x-Indiana Pacers 52 30 .634 20
4 x-Cleveland Cavaliers 47 35 .573 25
5 x-New York Knicks 47 35 .573 25
6 x-Atlanta Hawks 46 36 .561 26
7 x-Detroit Pistons 46 36 .561 26
8 x-Miami Heat 42 40 .512 30
9 Charlotte Hornets 41 41 .500 31
10 Washington Bullets 39 43 .476 33
11 Boston Celtics 33 49 .402 39
12 New Jersey Nets 30 52 .366 42
13 Milwaukee Bucks 25 57 .305 47
14 Toronto Raptors 21 61 .256 51
15 Philadelphia 76ers 18 64 .220 54
1st seed in the East, best league record
Defeated the (8) Sacramento Kings, 3–1 First Round Defeated the (8) Miami Heat, 3–0
Defeated the (5) Houston Rockets, 4–0 Conference Semifinals Defeated the (5) New York Knicks, 4–1
Defeated the (3) Utah Jazz, 4–3 Conference Finals Defeated the (2) Orlando Magic, 4–0

Regular season series[edit]

Both teams split the two meetings, each won by the home team (Which was one of the ten Bulls losses of the season):

November 26, 1995
Chicago Bulls 92, Seattle SuperSonics 97
January 10, 1996
Seattle SuperSonics 87, Chicago Bulls 113

Starting lineups[edit]

Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame‡

Chicago Position Seattle
Ron Harper PG Gary Payton
Michael Jordan SG Hersey Hawkins
Scottie Pippen SF Detlef Schrempf
Dennis Rodman PF Shawn Kemp
Luc Longley C Ervin Johnson

1996 NBA Finals rosters[edit]

Chicago Bulls[edit]

1996 Chicago Bulls Finals roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Nat. Name Ht. Wt. DOB
G 0 United States Brown, Randy 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1968–05–22 New Mexico State
G/F 30 United States Buechler, Jud 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 220 lb (100 kg) 1968–06–19 Arizona
F 35 United States Caffey, Jason 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 255 lb (116 kg) 1973–06–12 Alabama
C 53 United States Edwards, James 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m) 225 lb (102 kg) 1955–11–22 Washington
F 54 United States Haley, Jack 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 240 lb (109 kg) 1964–01–27 UCLA
G 9 United States Harper, Ron 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1964–01–20 Miami (OH)
G 23 United States Jordan, Michael (C) 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 215 lb (98 kg) 1963–02–17 North Carolina
G 25 United States Kerr, Steve 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 175 lb (79 kg) 1965–09–27 Arizona
G/F 7 Croatia Kukoc, Toni 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 220 lb (100 kg) 1968–09–18 Croatia
C 13 Australia Longley, Luc 7 ft 2 in (2.18 m) 265 lb (120 kg) 1969–01–19 New Mexico
G/F 33 United States Pippen, Scottie (C) 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 218 lb (99 kg) 1965–09–25 Central Arkansas
F 91 United States Rodman, Dennis 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 220 lb (100 kg) 1961–05–13 SE Oklahoma State
F 22 United States Salley, John 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 230 lb (104 kg) 1964–05–16 Georgia Tech
F 8 United States Simpkins, Dickey 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 248 lb (112 kg) 1972–04–06 Providence
C 34 Canada Wennington, Bill 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m) 245 lb (111 kg) 1963–04–26 St. John's
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injured

Seattle SuperSonics[edit]

1996 Seattle SuperSonics Finals roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Nat. Name Ht. Wt. DOB From
G/F 2 United States Askew, Vincent 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1966–02–28 Memphis
F/C 34 United States Brickowski, Frank 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 240 lb (109 kg) 1959–08–14 Penn State
F 1 United States Ford, Sherell 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1972–08–26 Illinois
G 33 United States Hawkins, Hersey 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1966–09–29 Bradley
C 50 United States Johnson, Ervin 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 245 lb (111 kg) 1967–12–21 New Orleans
F/C 40 United States Kemp, Shawn 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 230 lb (104 kg) 1969–11–26 Trinity Valley CC
G/F 10 United States McMillan, Nate 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 195 lb (88 kg) 1964–08–03 North Carolina State
G 20 United States Payton, Gary 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 180 lb (82 kg) 1968–07–23 Oregon State
F/C 14 United States Perkins, Sam 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 235 lb (107 kg) 1961–06–14 North Carolina
F/C 55 United States Scheffler, Steve 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 250 lb (113 kg) 1967–09–03 Purdue
F/C 11 Germany Schrempf, Detlef 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 214 lb (97 kg) 1963–01–21 Washington
G 3 United States Snow, Eric 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1973–04–04 Michigan State
G/F 25 United States Wingate, David 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1963–12–15 Georgetown
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injured

Series summary[edit]

Game Date Home Team Result Road Team
Game 1 Wednesday, June 5 Chicago Bulls 107–90 (1–0) Seattle SuperSonics
Game 2 Friday, June 7 Chicago Bulls 92–88 (2–0) Seattle SuperSonics
Game 3 Sunday, June 9 Seattle SuperSonics 86–108 (3–0) Chicago Bulls
Game 4 Wednesday, June 12 Seattle SuperSonics 107–86 (1–3) Chicago Bulls
Game 5 Friday, June 14 Seattle SuperSonics 89–78 (2–3) Chicago Bulls
Game 6 Sunday, June 16 Chicago Bulls 87–75 (4–2) Seattle SuperSonics
All times are in Eastern Daylight Time (UTC−4).

Game 1[edit]

June 5
9:00 et
Recap at the Wayback Machine (archived October 27, 1996)
Seattle SuperSonics 90, Chicago Bulls 107
Scoring by quarter: 18–24, 30–29, 29–26, 13–28
Pts: Shawn Kemp 32
Rebs: Gary Payton 10
Asts: Gary Payton 6
Pts: Michael Jordan 28
Rebs: Dennis Rodman 13
Asts: Ron Harper 7
Chicago leads the series, 1–0
United Center, Chicago, Illinois
Attendance: 24,544
Referees:
  • No. 43 Dan Crawford
  • No. 17 Joey Crawford
  • No. 15 Bennett Salvatore

Although Chicago was not playing well offensively, they were able to compensate with superb defense. Chicago was leading only by 2 at the end of the third quarter, however in the final quarter shots by Toni Kukoč and 2 key steals by Ron Harper clinched the Bulls a win.

Game 2[edit]

June 7
9:00 et
Recap at the Wayback Machine (archived October 27, 1996)
Seattle SuperSonics 88, Chicago Bulls 92
Scoring by quarter: 27–23, 18–23, 20–30, 23–16
Pts: Shawn Kemp 29
Rebs: Shawn Kemp 13
Asts: Payton, Schrempf 3 each
Pts: Michael Jordan 29
Rebs: Dennis Rodman 20
Asts: Michael Jordan 8
Chicago leads the series, 2–0
United Center, Chicago, Illinois
Attendance: 24,544
Referees:
  • No. 42 Hue Hollins
  • No. 20 Jess Kersey
  • No. 4 Ed T. Rush

Game two was started well for Seattle with a 27–23 first quarter lead. However Seattle would once again lose the lead before halftime. Despite Shawn Kemp's 29 points and 13 rebounds, Chicago triumphed with a final score of 92 to 88. In the victory, Dennis Rodman tied an NBA Finals record with 11 offensive rebounds.

Game 3[edit]

June 9
7:30 et
Recap at the Wayback Machine (archived October 27, 1996)
Chicago Bulls 108, Seattle SuperSonics 86
Scoring by quarter: 34–16, 28–22, 13–23, 33–25
Pts: Michael Jordan 36
Rebs: Dennis Rodman 10
Asts: Scottie Pippen 9
Pts: Detlef Schrempf 20
Rebs: Brickowski, Payton 7 each
Asts: Gary Payton 9
Chicago leads the series, 3–0
KeyArena, Seattle, Washington
Attendance: 17,072
Referees:
  • No. 27 Dick Bavetta
  • No. 25 Hugh Evans
  • No. 29 Steve Javie

The Sonics suffered a 22-point blow-out on their return to Seattle, giving the Chicago Bulls a seemingly insurmountable 3-0 series lead.

Game 4[edit]

June 12
9:00 et
Recap at the Wayback Machine (archived October 27, 1996)
Chicago Bulls 86, Seattle SuperSonics 107
Scoring by quarter: 21–25, 11–28, 31–31, 23–23
Pts: Michael Jordan 23
Rebs: Dennis Rodman 14
Asts: Scottie Pippen 8
Pts: Shawn Kemp 25
Rebs: Shawn Kemp 11
Asts: Gary Payton 11
Chicago leads the series, 3–1
KeyArena, Seattle, Washington
Attendance: 17,072
Referees:
  • No. 17 Joey Crawford
  • No. 13 Mike Mathis
  • No. 21 Bill Oakes

Seattle did not want to suffer the ignominy of a sweep. Going into this game, the SuperSonics were looking to rebound from the deficit. They succeeded with a 107–86 win over the Bulls. The series would now go to five games. The Sonics were helped by the return of team captain Nate McMillan whose presence entering the game brought the KeyArena crowd to its feet.

Game 5[edit]

June 14
9:00 et
Recap at the Wayback Machine (archived October 27, 1996)
Chicago Bulls 78, Seattle SuperSonics 89
Scoring by quarter: 18–18, 24–25, 18–19, 18–27
Pts: Michael Jordan 26
Rebs: Dennis Rodman 12
Asts: Scottie Pippen 5
Pts: Gary Payton 23
Rebs: Shawn Kemp 10
Asts: Gary Payton 6
Chicago leads the series, 3–2
KeyArena, Seattle, Washington
Attendance: 17,072
Referees:
  • No. 42 Hue Hollins
  • No. 20 Jess Kersey
  • No. 4 Ed T. Rush

Seattle would once again deny the Bulls the championship, stretching the series to six games. Payton had this to say: "We feel great. We knew we could play with this team. It just took too long. We should have come with this a little earlier."[1] Shawn Kemp's performance in this game was considered by many to be his best in a Seattle uniform.

Game 6[edit]

June 16
7:30 pm
Recap at the Wayback Machine (archived October 27, 1996)
Seattle SuperSonics 75, Chicago Bulls 87
Scoring by quarter: 18–24, 20–21, 20–22, 17–20
Pts: Detlef Schrempf 23
Rebs: Shawn Kemp 14
Asts: Gary Payton 7
Pts: Michael Jordan 22
Rebs: Dennis Rodman 19
Asts: Michael Jordan 7
Chicago wins the series, 4–2
United Center, Chicago, Illinois
Attendance: 24,544
Referees:
  • No. 27 Dick Bavetta
  • No. 25 Hugh Evans
  • No. 29 Steve Javie

Chicago won the series 4 games to 2 on Father's Day. The victory was partly due to the stellar performance of the Bulls power forward Dennis Rodman, who repeated his Game 2 performance of 11 offensive rebounds, tying his own NBA Finals record.

Player statistics[edit]

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game
Chicago Bulls
Player GP GS MPG FG% 3FG% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
Brown, RandyRandy Brown 6 0 8.2 .500 .500 .500 0.3 0.8 0.7 0.0 2.8
Buechler, JudJud Buechler 6 0 5.5 .222 .000 .000 0.0 0.2 0.7 0.0 0.7
Harper, RonRon Harper 6 4 19.3 .375 .308 .917 2.2 1.7 0.7 0.3 6.5
Jordan, MichaelMichael Jordan 6 6 42.0 .415 .316 .836 5.3 4.2 1.7 0.2 27.3
Kerr, SteveSteve Kerr 6 0 18.8 .303 .182 .857 0.8 0.8 0.2 0.0 5.0
Kukoč, ToniToni Kukoč 6 2 29.5 .423 .313 .800 4.8 3.5 0.8 0.3 13.0
Longley, LucLuc Longley 6 6 28.3 .574 .000 .727 3.8 2.2 0.5 1.8 11.7
Pippen, ScottieScottie Pippen 6 6 41.3 .343 .231 .708 8.2 5.3 2.3 1.3 15.7
Rodman, DennisDennis Rodman 6 6 37.5 .486 .000 .579 14.7 2.5 0.8 0.2 7.5
Salley, JohnJohn Salley 5 0 3.0 .000 .000 .000 0.2 0.4 0.0 0.0 0.0
Wennington, BillBill Wennington 6 0 7.0 .667 .000 .500 0.5 0.2 0.0 0.0 2.8
Seattle SuperSonics
Player GP GS MPG FG% 3FG% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
Askew, VincentVincent Askew 4 0 15.5 .222 .200 1.000 2.5 0.5 0.5 0.0 1.8
Brickowski, FrankFrank Brickowski 6 3 11.3 .222 .200 .000 2.0 0.5 0.2 0.2 0.8
Hawkins, HerseyHersey Hawkins 6 6 38.3 .455 .273 .923 3.5 1.0 1.2 0.2 13.3
Johnson, ErvinErvin Johnson 3 3 6.7 .333 .000 .000 2.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 1.3
Kemp, ShawnShawn Kemp 6 6 40.3 .551 .000 .857 10.0 2.2 1.3 2.0 23.3
McMillan, NateNate McMillan 4 0 12.8 .429 .600 1.000 2.8 1.5 0.5 0.0 2.8
Payton, GaryGary Payton 6 6 45.7 .444 .333 .731 6.3 7.0 1.5 0.0 18.0
Perkins, SamSam Perkins 6 0 31.7 .377 .235 .810 4.7 2.0 0.5 0.0 11.2
Scheffler, SteveSteve Scheffler 4 0 2.0 .000 .000 .000 0.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Schrempf, DetlefDetlef Schrempf 6 6 39.7 .443 .389 .875 5.0 2.5 0.5 0.2 16.3
Snow, EricEric Snow 6 0 1.5 .000 .000 .000 0.3 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0
Wingate, DavidDavid Wingate 6 0 8.0 .500 .500 1.000 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 2.5

Aftermath[edit]

The 1996 NBA Finals would be the last Finals appearance of the Seattle SuperSonics. The Sonics would win the Pacific Division again in 1997 and 1998, but fell to the second round of the playoffs each time. The series was George Karl's only Finals appearance in his coaching career to date. In 2008, the Sonics franchise moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder. They would make the finals four years later after the move.

This was also the last time a Seattle-based team played for a major professional sports championship until Super Bowl XL in 2006, when the Seattle Seahawks lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Seahawks would go on to handily defeat Denver in Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014 and lose to the New England Patriots the following year in Super Bowl XLIX. In terms of overall sports leagues, the city would later enjoy three championships when the WNBA's Seattle Storm, a one-time SuperSonics sister team, won both the 2004 and 2010 WNBA Finals.

The Bulls came close to winning 70 games for the second straight year, instead settling for a 69-win campaign in 1997. They won their second straight title over the Utah Jazz in six games of the 1997 NBA Finals. In the off-season that preceded Scottie Pippen became the first person to win NBA championship and Olympic gold medal in the same year twice, playing for Team USA at the Atlanta Olympics.[2] The Bulls would also defeat the Utah Jazz in six games in the 1998 NBA Finals.

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.nba.com/history/finals/19951996.html
  2. ^ Smith, Sam (August 4, 1996). "DREAM TEAM'S SLEEPWALK ENDS WITH GOLD MEDAL". Chicago Tribune. p. 1. 

External links[edit]