If you were to ask basketball fans to identify the greatest team assembled in history, many would point to squads like the ’92 Olympic Dream Team or possibly even one of the ’70s Lakers rosters. But how exactly does one measure greatness? If you’re focusing on overall records and statistics, there’s one team that towers above them all: the 1996-97 Chicago Bulls, who finished the regular NBA season with a final record of 72 wins and a measly ten losses. To put it in perspective, the only teams that have come close to this record are the ’66-67 Philadelphia 76ers and the ’71-72 Lakers, both with 68-13 records.
On February 27, 1996, the wheels were already in motion. Chicago, with a starting lineup of Ron Harper, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, and Luc Longley, hosted the Minnesota Timberwolves, who were led by rookie sensation Kevin Garnett. But despite KG and the Wolves’ best efforts, the Chitown boys were simply too much to be contained. Michael Jordan went off as usual, putting up a game-high 35 points, as well as six rebounds and seven assists. Longley and Pippen each chipped in another 16 points apiece, as the Bulls rallied to a 120-99 win, which positioned them with a record of 50-6 overall. Nearly twenty years later, these fifty wins in fifty-six games have yet to be matched.
Of course, on Michael Jordan’s feet were the beloved “Concord” Air Jordan XI, a model which was designed by Tinker Hatfield at a time when Michael Jordan’s return to basketball had yet to be made official. Since its original release, the Jordan XI has seen a handful of retro renditions, and has remained a mainstay on the hardwood for college and pro players alike. With its Jordan-first full-length Zoom Air cushion and durable upper, the Air Jordan XI is in a class of its own, worn by Michael Jordan and other players during some truly remarkable performances. There has been talk of a low-top variation releasing this summer, so stay tuned if you’re looking to hit the courts in these.