Skip to main content

Chicago Bulls vs. Seattle SuperSonics: One of the most watched NBA finals of All-Time

  • Author:
  • Publish date:

In the 1996 Finals, the Bulls faced the Seattle Supersonics team that won 64 games during the regular season.

On June 16, 1996, Chicago's series-clinching victory over Seattle drew an 18.8 rating and a 35 share on NBC, with the six-game pulling in an estimated 60 million viewers, making it the most-watched NBA game ever on television.

The Bulls were coming off a season in which Michael Jordan returned from an 18-month retirement, only to lose in the second round of the playoffs to the Orlando Magic. Heading into the upcoming season, Chicago was no longer the same team as they were in their most recent championship season of 1993.

A new core of players such as Luc Longley, Toni Kukoč, Steve Kerr, Ron Harper, Jud Buechler, Bill Wennington, and Randy Brown. But perhaps their most significant addition to the team was Dennis Rodman. The result of this ensemble was probably the greatest regular season of any team in NBA history at the time, as the Bulls won a then-record 72 games.

The SuperSonics were led by Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp, with George Karl as head coach. The team was considered a perennial title contender throughout the mid-1990s, but the closest they came to reaching the finals was in 1993 when they lost to the Phoenix Suns in seven games in the Western Conference Finals

The Bulls won the first three games of the series. Down 3-0, the Sonics won the next two in Seattle to send the series back to Chicago. The Bulls won Game 6 by a score of 87-75.

Three years after losing his dad, Jordan won his fourth championship on Father’s Day.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

However, The Sonics had problems with injuries, and some of them believe if they were complete they could win the champs. They important guard, Nate McMillan played six minutes in Game 1 and missed the next two games due to a lower back injury while Gary Payton, who was dealing with a calf injury, did not guard Jordan in the first three games.

“Nate was a huge part of the team. He made all the right plays offensively and defensively”, said Detlef Schrempf (forward, Seattle Supersonics).

 “If I was healthy and we could have executed our game plan, we could have beaten the Bulls, or at least taken them to seven games,” said Nate McMillan

Gary Payton:” I wish I could have played [Michael] in the first three games, but I had torn a muscle in my calf and George had told me that he didn’t want to wear me out. I was telling George, “Please just let me play against him.” First game, he killed us. George didn’t really want me to do that. He said, “Well, we’ve got a long series, let’s just wait.”

Assistant coach of Seattle Supersonics, Dwane Casey concluded this with the statement:

“Ifs and buts, you know. I don’t know if it would have made a difference. Michael was playing at such a high level.”

MJ was back in the game, and it seems he didn’t plan to stop there.

“We were in the locker room after celebrating, and I told Michael, “Hey, that’s my first championship. I’m done.” He said, “You’re done? Nah, this is my fourth championship ring. We have to win two more. I need to have one more ring than Magic.” Ron Harper said.

Draymond Green admits GSW wouldn’t have won in titles without Kevin Durant

Draymond Green admits GSW wouldn’t have won titles without Kevin Durant: "We would not have beat the Cavs without Kevin”

Draymond Green admits the Golden State Warriors needed Kevin Durant to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017 and 2018.

LeBron James inspired Dwight Howard to get better: "That’s what I gotta get to if I want to be the best player in the nation"

Dwight Howard explains how LeBron James inspired him to be a better player after playing against each other in high school

Dwight Howard didn't know who LeBron James was until they faced each other in a game in high school. After the game, Howard got inspired to get to LeBron's level.

John Wall is finally free from Houston's prison

John Wall is finally free from Houston's prison

John Wall finally recovered from his injury and the Los Angeles Clippers are hoping he can help them win their first NBA championship


Kendrick Perkins reveals LeBron, Kobe and Carmelo broke up the OKC Thunder during the 2012 Olympics

The veterans took advantage of the opportunity and eliminated their biggest competition for years to come by getting into Harden's head.


"I smell pus*y Lord!"-Iman Shumpert reveals a crazy Kevin Garnet trash-talking story

"Boy, I dunked that ball the next play and called him all types of bit*h!"-Shumpert took KG's trash talk personal.

Shaq & Kobe go head to head with Magic & Kareem for the title of the greatest Lakers' duo

The battle of the two greatest duos in Lakers' franchise history

Magic & Kareem or Kobe & Shaq -- two greatest duos in LA Lakers' history go head to head in NBA 2k22


Eddy Curry opens up about his time with the New York Knicks — “That was the year I started experiencing knee problems”

If there’s one way to define Eddy Curry’s basketball career, it’s probably “untapped potential"

Lebron James and Michael Jordan on court during halftime during the 2022 NBA All-Star Game

LeBron James’ $45 Lobos tequila defeats Michael Jordan’s Cincoro tequila in the 2022 Spirits tequila competition

This year's Spirits tequila competition was reportedly the largest iteration ever, with almost 5,000 different alcoholic brands participating.