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Special Commemorative: 1996-97 NBA Champion Chicago Bulls

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The Ref messed up the game on both ends...but considering Pip playing in EXTREME pain and Jordan doing what he does, the Bulls deserve it!
    -- Kenny-o
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The Morning Line

Sports Illustrated staff writer Marty Burns checks in after each game of the NBA Finals

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Posted: Monday June 15, 1998


Michael Jordan sat in the back of the Bulls team bus, smoking a cigar roughly the size of Luc Longley's right foot and celebrating with teammates Scottie Pippen, Ron Harper and Joe Kleine. It was a full hour after the Bulls' amazing 87-86 victory over the Jazz, which clinched the team's sixth NBA title in eight years, but Jordan was still going strong. Even if the team bus was stuck in the Delta Center parking lot, awaiting some last-minute baggage for the trip back to the hotel.

Through the tinted bus windows, Jordan could be seen clowning with Pippen, blowing smoke in forward Scott Burrell's face and mugging for center Bill Wennington's hand-held video camera. In the seat behind Jordan, the shiny gold Larry O'Brien Trophy rested comfortably. Right nearby, where Jordan could keep an eye on it.

Has there ever been a greater competitor in any team sport than Jordan? Just when you thought you'd seen it all from His Airness, he pulls another miracle out of his bag of tricks. A layup, a steal, a game-winning jumper. He makes it look as easy as 1-2-3.

As Jordan made his move on Jazz forward Bryon Russell and rose for the game-winning shot, the crowd at the Delta Center emitted an audible gasp. It was as if everybody in the building knew Jordan's shot was going to fall. "Without a doubt, the greatest player ever to play the game," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said.

Sunday, maybe for the final time, we got to see why all over again.  

Related information
Marty Burns' comments after Game 5
Marty Burns' comments after Game 4
Marty Burns' comments after Game 3
Marty Burns' comments after Game 2
Marty Burns' comments after Game 1
Marty Burns predicts the winner
This Day in Michael Jordan Playoff History
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