Michael Jordan is an awful owner. His franchise won 7 games last season and he just hired an unknown college assistant to become head coach of his fledgling team. The reason I love articles like this, is the fact that I can reflect on “Jordan the athlete”, instead of, “Jordan the owner”.
Nearly nineteen years ago today, June 20, 1993, Michael Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to their third straight title with a game 6 victory over Charles Barkley and the Phoenix Suns. The Bulls would score on a John Paxson 3 pointer with 3.9 seconds remaining to give the two time defending champs a 99-98 Finals clinching victory. The Chicago Bulls became the first team since the 1960′s Boston Celtics to win three straight NBA titles.
The Phoenix Suns were more than a formidable opponent. They were a defensive stop away from taking the Michael Jordan-led Bulls to a game 7 in Phoenix. The Suns were the winning-est team in the 92-93′ NBA regular season, amassing 62 victories and home court advantage throughout the playoffs. Michael Jordan was clearly the best player in the league, but Barkley earned the regular season MVP award that season by averaging 25.6 points, 12.2 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game.
The suns almost never got to the Finals that season, receiving a scare from the low seeded Los Angeles Lakers in the first round. The Suns dropped the first two games at home to the Lakers, in a five game series, before winning the next three and advancing to the second round.
The Finals series between the Bulls and Suns was an eventful one. It included Jordan scoring 55 points in a 111-105 game 4 victory, which was the only game won by the home team in that series. It also included a triple overtime game 3 thriller, in which the Suns would go on to win 129-121.
Michael Jordan was phenomenal as always. He averaged 41 points in the series and furthered his case as the greatest basketball player to ever live. He also became the first player to win the NBA Finals MVP award three straight seasons.
Here are some other noteworthy events from this week in sports history:
June 25, 1991: Martina Navratilova wins a record 100th singles match at Wimbledon. Sticking with tennis, nearly three years later, June 21, 1994, Steffi Graf would become the first defending champ to lose in the 1st round of a major tournament (Wimbledon to Lorrie McNeal).
June 22, 1994: Houston Rockets defeat the New York Knicks in game 7 to clinch a 4-3 NBA Finals victory. Hakeem Olajuwon averaged 26.9 points and 9.1 rebounds on his way to NBA Finals MVP. He outscored Patrick Ewing in all seven games.
June 19, 1992: Evander Holyfield beat Larry Holmes for the WBC, WBA and IBF heavyweight titles. A little over four years later, June 22, 1996, Michael Moorer defeated Axel Shultz in 11 for the IBF heavyweight title.