Throwback: When Chicago Bulls Wrote History by Completing their First Three-Peat.

Published 06/20/2020, 9:49 AM EDT


June 20 marks the date of the first three-peat by the Chicago Bulls. Despite finishing with 57 wins, the Bulls were only the second seed in the East. Averaging a league 32.6 points didn’t secure the MVP for Michael Jordan. He fell 3rd in the voting, behind winner Charles Barkley and runner up Hakeem Olajuwon.

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In the Conference Finals, they faced the #1 seed New York Knicks. They struggled initially, losing the first two games. But after that they went on a rampage, winning four straight games to advance to the Finals. They faced the MVP Barkley and the Phoenix Suns in the 1993 NBA Finals. After going up 2-0, they only won one out of the three next games and found themselves 3-2 up and a chance to finish it at Phoenix.

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Chicago Bulls trying to emulate the Boston Celtics

On the team plane, Jordan addressed the team and said, “I don’t know about you guys, I’m only packing one suit.” He was determined to finish it in the next game. With a win next game, they had the chance to be the first team since the Boston Celtics to three-peat. Jordan also mentioned that Barkley winning the MVP motivated him. “You can have that, I’m gonna get this,” he said, referring to the NBA title.

The game continuously went back and forth between the two sides till the end. With 46 seconds to go, the Bulls were down by four. After grabbing a crucial board, Jordan got it done on both ends of the floor, finishing with a layup through traffic.

14 seconds left, Suns were still up by two. As Jordan brought the ball inside, he passed it to Pippen, who then passed it to the open man Horace Grant. The Suns immediately crowded the paint and Grant dished it to John Paxson, standing all by himself at the three-point line.

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The Suns could do nothing but look at the wide-open Paxson. After taking a second to gather himself, he took the biggest three-point of his life. Game-winner. It was the first points scored by anyone except Jordan in the whole of the fourth quarter. During the Last Dance, Paxson revealed, “The ball was not supposed to come to me. But as a player, you’re always ready. And for me, personally, it was pretty special.” 

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With that win, the Chicago Bulls etched their name into basketball history.

 

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Aaron Mathew

1666 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

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