Today in Sports History: April 16

In 1996, the Chicago Bulls bettered the 1972 Lakers NBA record of 69 wins in one season with their 86-80 victory at Milwaukee. Chicago finished the season with 72 wins and only 10 losses, a mark that would stand as the NBA’s best in a single season until 2015-16. That season, the Golden State Warriors surpassed the Bulls’ record with a 73-9 finish. However, unlike the warriors who suffered a heartbreaking defeat in the 2016 NBA Finals, the Chicago Bulls topped off their regular season success with a championship ring. The 1996 championship marked the fourth title in Bulls franchise history and the team’s first title in their eventual second three-peat. A star-studded team, Chicago’s big three consisted of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman.

Jordan didn’t miss a game in the 1996 regular season and led the team in scoring and steals. Averaging 30.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 2.2 steals, Jordan was named both NBA MVP and NBA Finals MVP in 1996. Pippen led the team in assists averaging 5.9apg, but he was also a major contributor in other categories averaging 19.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.7 steals. Pippen was named to the All-NBA First Team in 1996. Rodman served as the team’s defensive juggernaut, he collected 14.9rpg and earned NBA-All Defensive First Team honors. The three All-Stars dominated the league and in the 1996 playoffs the Bulls only lost one playoff game leading up to the NBA Finals. Faced off against the Seattle Supersonics in the 1996 NBA Finals, the Bulls won the series 4-2. Jordan, Pippen, and Rodman have all since been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

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