The Chicago Bulls in the mid-’90s are still, to this day, considered to be the best team in NBA history, and rightfully so. They won three straight NBA championships with dominance rarely seen on the basketball court. They had Jordan, Pippen, Rodman, and a tremendous supporting cast that could step up on any given night. However, it’s also true that some factors helped them significantly, like the NBA expansion that happened in the early ’90s that, according to many, watered down the talent in the NBA.
In one of the older interviews, NBA legends Larry Bird and Magic Johnson talked about the Bulls and how despite them being a great team, they also have it more comfortable than the Lakers or Celtics did back in the ’80s. Bird was convinced that the expansion hurt the NBA to a certain degree because the level of talent on many teams wasn’t the same as before, making life easier for the Bulls.
“I think the expansion of teams really hurt the league because it depleted some of the talent in the league.”
Bird also added his Celtics would give the Bulls big problems, especially in the paint, because of their height advantage. The Celtics, alongside Larry Bird, who is listed at 6’9″, had Kevin McHale and Robert Parish, who were tremendous in the frontcourt. That is where he sees their advantage against the Bulls in a seven-game series.
“We might have done good against them because we had the height advantage, and our frontline was so unbelievable with Kevin McHale and Robert Parish and Denis Johnson in the backcourt.”
Magic Johnson shared a similar opinion on this subject as Bird did, saying the teams from the ’80s were just bigger than the Bulls, which could potentially cause them problems. According to Magic, Kareem would be unstoppable in that matchup, saying he would give them that extra edge over the Bulls and that they would win in six or seven games.
“Kareem is the X factor because there isn’t anybody that could stop him on their team. He would set up shots for everybody else. I think Larry made a good point about his Celtic team as well. It probably would have been great finals or great series, but in the end, Kareem would end up winning it for us in game six or game 7.”
It’s hard to determine how the Bulls would matchup against the Celtics or the Lakers from the ’80s. In these types of never-ending debates, it’s all about personal preferences, and in this specific case, there are probably NBA fans who think the Lakers or the Celtics would beat the Jordan’s Bulls in a seven-game series. There is no question competitive players like Magic and Bird would do anything they can do to win in this type of matchup, which they proved numerous times in their legendary careers.