Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls enjoyed immense success in the 90s. Who else can say they won 6 NBA championships and secured two three-peats? Only them.
However, this came at the cost of the other teams losing their relevance in their league.
So, it is time to see which were MJ's and the Bulls' top opponents during this journey.
After tons of struggle, the Utah Jazz finally found themselves in the 1997 NBA Finals but only to have the Chicago Bulls waiting for them. The Jazz put up a great fight against them as three of Chicago's wins came with only a minor margin of a couple of points. In game 1, MJ's buzzer-beater got them through and they won the series 4-2, claiming their fifth title.
The Suns made a blockbuster deal that got them, Charles Barkley, from the SIxers. It all paid of as he was named NBA MVP that season and they were able to make their way to the NBA Finals. And even though the Bulls were able to put an end to the series in Game 6, Michael Jordan had to fight tooth and nail for this victory
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The Seattle Supersonics had Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp who helped them achieve their franchise record of winning 64 games. This was their best season in history, yet they were unable to keep up with MJ and the Bulls, who had a 72 games league record. Jordan and Co. won the first three games and ended the series at 4-2.
The reason this bout was so hyped was that there wasa media-fueled rivalry between MJ and Blazers' Clyde Drexler at the time. The two shares quite a few skills but MJ didn't like the comparison which he used as motivation in the 1992 Finals.Averaging 35.8 points in the series, MJ finished the job in 6 games. But this team was definitely one of their toughest opponents.
After losing in 1997, the Utah Jazz got another shot at revenge against the Bulls in 1998. They had pretty much the same squad but their record was not as great. So, they suffered the same fate they did before, losing to Jordan in 6 games. They won the sixth game thanks to MJ's game-winner over Byron Russell, which became one of the most iconic shots in NBA history.
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In 1991, the Lakers were coming off a decade-long deep postseason but they just weren't the same squad anymore. Although they found their way to the Finals, they could not keep up with the power-hungry Bulls, winning in 5 games. This was their only Finals bout that didn't go up to a Game 6.
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The 1997-98 Pacers were a hard-nosed team and were a defensive juggernaut with Reggie Miller and Rik Smits. They really pushed the limits of MJ And the Bulls, probably better than any other opponent, They became the only team to force a Game 7 against the Bulls in the ECF. However, things did work out for MJ and the Bulls who eventually went on to win their 6th title.
After losing consecutively in 1991 and 1992, the Knicks finally thought they had built a roster good enough to defeat the Bulls. Needless to say, they were wrong! They did take a 2-0 lead against them in the ECF but could not maintain it. Bulls eventually won four straight games after that to advance to the Finals, where they would win their third straight championship.
This '96 series was personal as the Magic had eliminated them in the postseason just last year after Jordan returned from his short baseball stint. At the time, Magic won a franchise-high 60 games but the Finals were a tad bit different. The Bulls completely dominated the conference finals and won it, kicking off their second shot at a three-peat.
The Bulls vs Pistons' feud is one that went down in history. The Bulls had a tough time getting past this team in order to become NBA championships and failed quite a few times before it actually happened. In 1991, Mj and team finally bested them in the ECF and started their first championship run.