It was one of those questions that probably had to be asked. But pondering a list of basketball accomplishments that could have lapped even the best of his contemporaries, Michael Jordan was not about to take the hyperbolic bait.
It was April 16, 1996, the visitors locker room in the Bradley Center, and as far as Jordan was concerned, another annoying night spent fighting off a Milwaukee Bucks team that had no right to be this pesky.
“The first NBA championship. The [NCAA] championship,” Jordan began to tick off. “The Olympic gold medal in ’84. The second NBA title. The third NBA title. The second gold medal. Draft day.
“And then 70 wins.”
He had been asked to rank this moment, when the Bulls had just surpassed the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers and set a new record for most victories in a regular season. And clearly, Jordan was not ready to pop open the champagne that night.
But 70 victories was more than merely impressive, it was closer to surreal. Consider that if the Miami Heat, whom the Bulls host Wednesday night at the United Center and who currently have won 27 games in a row, win every game remaining on their regular-season schedule, they would still, at 68-14, be four victories shy of that Bulls team, which ended up at 72-10 (87-13 including the playoffs). They would also fall short of the 1996-97 Bulls, who finished 69-13.