1997 NBA Finals

The 1997 NBA Finals was the concluding series of the 1997 NBA playoffs that determined the champion of the 1996–97 NBA season. The Western Conference champion Utah Jazz took on the Eastern Conference champion Chicago Bulls for the title, with the Bulls holding home court advantage. The series were played under a best-of-seven format, with the first 2 games in Chicago, the next 3 games in Salt Lake City, and the last 2 games in Chicago.

The Bulls won the series 4 games to 2. For the fifth time in as many Finals appearances, Michael Jordan was named NBA Finals MVP.

The Bulls and Jazz won a combined 133 regular season games, second most in Finals history. Until 2016, the 1997 NBA Finals was the last to feature teams that won a total of at least 130 regular season games.

1997 NBA Finals
Chicago Bulls Phil Jackson 4
Utah Jazz Jerry Sloan 2
DatesJune 1–13
MVPMichael Jordan
(Chicago Bulls)
Hall of FamersBulls:
Robert Parish (2003)
Michael Jordan (2009)
Scottie Pippen (2010)
Dennis Rodman (2011)
John Stockton (2009)
Karl Malone (2010)
Phil Jackson (2007)
Jerry Sloan (2009)
Tex Winter (2011)
Dick Bavetta (2015)
Eastern FinalsBulls defeat Heat, 4–1
Western FinalsJazz defeat Rockets, 4–2


Chicago Bulls

For the Chicago Bulls, the campaign was almost identical to their record-breaking 1995–96 season. They began the season 12–0, and by the All-Star break, was 42–6, putting them on pace to win 70 games for a second year in a row. But some late-season injuries and poor play denied them another 70-win season, and the Bulls settled for a 69–13 record, best in the league.

In the playoffs, the Bulls swept the Washington Bullets in the first round, dispatched the Atlanta Hawks in five games in the second round, then defeated the Miami Heat in five games in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Utah Jazz

The Jazz emerged as a force in the Western Conference during the 1990s, powered by its All-Star duo of point guard John Stockton and power forward Karl Malone. They advanced to the Western Conference Finals twice between 1992 and 1996, but lost on each occasion.

However, a different story was written for the 1996–97 season. Powered by league MVP Karl Malone, along with the talented John Stockton, the Jazz finally asserted themselves atop the Western Conference, finishing with a franchise-record 64 wins.

In the playoffs, Utah swept the Los Angeles Clippers in the opening round and eliminated the Los Angeles Lakers in five games in the second round. Then, with John Stockton's buzzer-beating, three-point shot in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals, eliminated the Houston Rockets to advance to their first NBA Finals in franchise history.

Road to the Finals

Utah Jazz (Western Conference champion) Chicago Bulls (Eastern Conference champion)
# Western Conference
1 c-Utah Jazz 64 18 .780
2 y-Seattle SuperSonics 57 25 .695 7
3 x-Houston Rockets 57 25 .695 7
4 x-Los Angeles Lakers 56 26 .683 8
5 x-Portland Trail Blazers 49 33 .598 15
6 x-Minnesota Timberwolves 40 42 .488 24
7 x-Phoenix Suns 40 42 .488 24
8 x-Los Angeles Clippers 36 46 .439 28
9 Sacramento Kings 34 48 .415 30
10 Golden State Warriors 30 52 .366 34
11 Dallas Mavericks 24 58 .293 40
12 Denver Nuggets 21 61 .256 43
13 San Antonio Spurs 20 62 .244 44
14 Vancouver Grizzlies 14 68 .171 50

1st seed in the West, 2nd-best league record

Regular season
# Eastern Conference
1 z-Chicago Bulls 69 13 .841
2 y-Miami Heat 61 21 .744 8
3 x-New York Knicks 57 25 .695 12
4 x-Atlanta Hawks 56 26 .683 13
5 x-Detroit Pistons 54 28 .659 15
6 x-Charlotte Hornets 54 28 .659 15
7 x-Orlando Magic 45 37 .549 24
8 x-Washington Bullets 44 38 .537 25
9 Cleveland Cavaliers 42 40 .512 27
10 Indiana Pacers 39 43 .476 30
11 Milwaukee Bucks 33 49 .402 36
12 Toronto Raptors 30 52 .366 39
13 New Jersey Nets 26 56 .317 43
14 Philadelphia 76ers 22 60 .268 47
15 Boston Celtics 15 67 .183 54
1st seed in the East, best league record
Defeated the (8) Los Angeles Clippers, 3–0 First Round Defeated the (8) Washington Bullets, 3–0
Defeated the (4) Los Angeles Lakers, 4–1 Conference Semifinals Defeated the (4) Atlanta Hawks, 4–1
Defeated the (3) Houston Rockets, 4–2 Conference Finals Defeated the (2) Miami Heat, 4–1

Regular season series

Both teams split the two meetings, each won by the home team:

November 23, 1996
Chicago Bulls 100, Utah Jazz 105
January 6, 1997
Utah Jazz 89, Chicago Bulls 102

1997 NBA Finals rosters

Chicago Bulls

1996–97 Chicago Bulls roster
Players Coaches
Pos. No. Name Height Weight DOB (YYYY-MM-DD) From
PG 1 Brown, Randy 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1968–05–22 New Mexico State
SF 30 Buechler, Jud 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 220 lb (100 kg) 1968–06–19 Arizona
PF 35 Caffey, Jason 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 255 lb (116 kg) 1973–06–12 Alabama
SG 9 Harper, Ron 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1964–01–20 Miami (OH)
SG 23 Jordan, Michael 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 195 lb (88 kg) 1963–02–17 North Carolina
PG 25 Kerr, Steve 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 175 lb (79 kg) 1965–09–27 Arizona
SF 7 Kukoč, Toni 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 192 lb (87 kg) 1968–09–18 Croatia
C 13 Longley, Luc 7 ft 2 in (2.18 m) 265 lb (120 kg) 1969–01–19 New Mexico
C 00 Parish, Robert 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m) 230 lb (104 kg) 1953–08–30 Centenary College of Louisiana
SF 33 Pippen, Scottie 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1965–09–25 Central Arkansas
PF 91 Rodman, Dennis 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1961–05–13 SE Oklahoma State
PF 8 Simpkins, Dickey 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 248 lb (112 kg) 1972–04–06 Providence
C 34 Wennington, Bill Injured 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m) 245 lb (111 kg) 1963–04–26 St. John's
C 18 Williams, Brian 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 235 lb (107 kg) 1969–04–06 Arizona
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injured


Utah Jazz

1996–97 Utah Jazz roster
Players Coaches
Pos. No. Name Height Weight DOB (YYYY-MM-DD) From
SG 40 Anderson, Shandon 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 208 lb (94 kg) 1973–12–31 Georgia
PF 55 Carr, Antoine 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 225 lb (102 kg) 1961–07–23 Wichita State
PG 10 Eisley, Howard 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 177 lb (80 kg) 1972–12–04 Boston College
C 44 Foster, Greg 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 240 lb (109 kg) 1968–10–03 UTEP
SG 14 Hornacek, Jeff 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1963–05–03 Iowa State
SF 43 Howard, Stephen 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 225 lb (102 kg) 1970–07–15 DePaul
C 31 Keefe, Adam 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 230 lb (104 kg) 1970–02–22 Stanford
PF 32 Malone, Karl 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 250 lb (113 kg) 1963–07–24 Louisiana Tech
SF 34 Morris, Chris 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1966–01–20 Auburn
C 00 Ostertag, Greg 7 ft 2 in (2.18 m) 280 lb (127 kg) 1973–03–06 Kansas
SF 3 Russell, Bryon 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 225 lb (102 kg) 1970–12–31 Long Beach State
PG 12 Stockton, John 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 170 lb (77 kg) 1962–03–26 Gonzaga
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injured


Series summary

Game Date Away Team Result Home Team
Game 1 Sunday, June 1 Utah Jazz 82–84 (0–1) Chicago Bulls
Game 2 Wednesday, June 4 Utah Jazz 85–97 (0–2) Chicago Bulls
Game 3 Friday, June 6 Chicago Bulls 93–104 (2–1) Utah Jazz
Game 4 Sunday, June 8 Chicago Bulls 73–78 (2–2) Utah Jazz
Game 5 Wednesday, June 11 Chicago Bulls 90–88 (3–2) Utah Jazz
Game 6 Friday, June 13 Utah Jazz 86–90 (2–4) Chicago Bulls

The Finals were played using a 2–3–2 site format, where the first two and last two games are held at the team with home court advantage's (Chicago's) home court (United Center).

Had the Western Conference Finals between the Jazz and the Houston Rockets reached a game 7, the Finals would have started on Wednesday, June 4 and followed the similar Wednesday-Friday-Sunday rotation.

All times are in Eastern Daylight Time (UTC−4).

Game 1

June 1
7:30 et
Recap at the Wayback Machine (archived September 2, 2000)
Utah Jazz 82, Chicago Bulls 84
Scoring by quarter: 18–17, 24–21, 22–24, 18–22
Pts: Karl Malone 23
Rebs: Karl Malone 15
Asts: John Stockton 12
Pts: Michael Jordan 31
Rebs: Dennis Rodman 12
Asts: Michael Jordan 8
Chicago leads the series, 1–0
United Center, Chicago
Attendance: 24,544
  • No. 43 Danny Crawford
  • No. 21 Bill Oakes
  • No. 4 Ed T. Rush

Despite injuring his foot in the Eastern Conference Finals against Miami, Scottie Pippen helped the Bulls to an 84–82 victory over Utah on Sunday. He scored 27 points while Jordan scored 31. The Bulls trailed by one in the 4th, yet were able to grab an 81–79 lead after Pippen blocked Antoine Carr, then made his third 3-pointer with 1:11 remaining. However, John Stockton answered with a 3 of his own with 51.7 seconds left to give Utah an 82–81 lead. Michael Jordan made 1 of 2 free throws with 35.8 seconds left to tie it at 82. Then, Karl Malone was fouled by Rodman with 9.2 seconds left and had a chance to give Utah the lead. Scottie famously psyched him out, saying, "Just remember, the mailman doesn't deliver on Sundays, Karl", before he stepped up to the line. He missed them both. Jordan got the rebound and quickly called a time-out with 7.5 seconds left. With the game on the line, the Bulls put the ball in Jordan's hands. He dribbled out most of the waning seconds, then launched a 20-footer that went in at the buzzer to give Chicago a 1–0 series lead, after which he pumped his fist in triumph. The fist-pumping often draws comparisons to another famous Jordan reaction to a buzzer-beater, when he leaped into the air after hitting The Shot that eliminated the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 of the 1989 Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

Game 2

June 4
9:00 ET
Recap at the Wayback Machine (archived February 10, 2001)
Utah Jazz 85, Chicago Bulls 97
Scoring by quarter: 20–25, 11–22, 28–31, 26–19
Pts: Karl Malone 20
Rebs: Karl Malone 13
Asts: John Stockton 7
Pts: Michael Jordan 38
Rebs: Michael Jordan 13
Asts: Michael Jordan 9
Chicago leads the series, 2–0
United Center, Chicago, Illinois
Attendance: 24,544
  • No. 25 Hugh Evans
  • No. 29 Steve Javie
  • No. 15 Bennett Salvatore

The Bulls simply dominated Game 2. After a hard-fought first quarter, the Bulls took control of the game with a 12–0 second-quarter run. Utah's 31 points in the first half was only one point above an NBA low. Karl Malone, who missed those two key free throws in Game 1, had another bad night, making only 6 of 20 field goals. Dennis Rodman nailed a late 3-pointer to put the Bulls up 97–85.

Game 3

June 6
9:00 et
Recap at the Wayback Machine (archived February 8, 2001)
Chicago Bulls 93, Utah Jazz 104
Scoring by quarter: 22–31, 23–30, 15–16, 33–27
Pts: Scottie Pippen 27
Rebs: Ron Harper 7
Asts: Michael Jordan 6
Pts: Karl Malone 37
Rebs: Karl Malone 10
Asts: John Stockton 12
Chicago leads the series, 2–1
Delta Center, Salt Lake City
Attendance: 19,911
  • No. 17 Joey Crawford
  • No. 42 Hue Hollins
  • No. 35 Jack Nies

Utah's fans welcomed their proud Western Conference champs with force. During the introductions of the Jazz's starting lineups, the Bulls players plugged their ears, due to the loud cheers and fireworks within the Delta Center. The Chicago Bulls started off the first three quarters with mediocre play, despite Scottie Pippen tying a then-Finals record with seven 3-pointers. Utah was led by Karl Malone, who scored 37 points and had 10 rebounds. Chicago attempted a 4th-quarter comeback, cutting a 24-point deficit down to 7, but Utah ultimately won its first game of the series. With the Bulls trailing by 18 points in the second quarter, Michael Jordan threw down an alley-oop slam which drew loud boos from the crowd. Dennis Rodman defended his poor performance in Game 3 with a vulgar remark denigrating Mormons. Rodman was fined $50,000 for this remark. He apologized, claiming he was not aware that Mormon referred to a religion and intended his remark at obnoxious Jazz fans.[1][2]

Game 4

June 8
7:30 et
Recap at the Wayback Machine (archived February 24, 1999)
Chicago Bulls 73, Utah Jazz 78
Scoring by quarter: 16–21, 24–14, 16–21, 17–22
Pts: Michael Jordan 22
Rebs: Scottie Pippen 12
Asts: Jordan, Kukoč, Pippen 4 each
Pts: Karl Malone 23
Rebs: Karl Malone 10
Asts: John Stockton 12
Series tied, 2–2
Delta Center, Salt Lake City
Attendance: 19,911
  • No. 27 Dick Bavetta
  • No. 45 Joe Forte
  • No. 4 Ed T. Rush

Due to the extremely loud Jazz fans in Game 3, Bulls coach Phil Jackson wore a pair of ear plugs. A tight game with many lead changes throughout, the Jazz led by 5 after the first quarter, but trailed by 5 at halftime. The score was tied going into the fourth quarter. Late in the game, Michael Jordan made a fast break dunk to give the Bulls a 71–66 lead, but John Stockton made a momentum-shifting 3 at the top of the key to cut the deficit to 71–69. Jordan made a jumper to give the Bulls a 73–69 lead, but the Bulls would not score again. The Jazz pulled to within 1 when Stockton stole the ball from Jordan and made 2 free throws at the other end. On the next possession John Stockton grabbed a rebound from a Jordan miss and threw a full-court pass to Karl Malone for a layup with 44.5 seconds left that put Utah in front for good, 74–73. After Stockton made the assist, he jumped up into the air several times pumping his fist. After some Bulls misses, Karl Malone made two free throws with 17 seconds left to put the Jazz up by 3. On the next possession, Michael Jordan's potential game-tying 3 with less than 10 seconds left rattled out; Stockton grabbed the rebound and threw another full-court pass to Bryon Russell, who escaped the intentional foul and dunked with 5 seconds left in the game to seal it, drawing a huge roar from the crowd. The Jazz's 12–2 run tied the series at two games apiece. The Delta Center grew so loud that during the final moments of the game when Bryon Russell made the dunk that iced the game, Marv Albert was unable to be clearly heard. The 78–73 score was one of the lowest scores in NBA Finals history.

Game 5

June 11
9:00 et
Recap at the Wayback Machine (archived February 10, 2001)
Chicago Bulls 90, Utah Jazz 88
Scoring by quarter: 16–29, 33–24, 18–19, 23–16
Pts: Michael Jordan 38
Rebs: Scottie Pippen 10
Asts: Jordan, Pippen 5 each
Pts: Karl Malone 19
Rebs: Greg Ostertag 15
Asts: Karl Malone 6
Chicago leads the series, 3–2
Delta Center, Salt Lake City
Attendance: 19,911
  • No. 43 Danny Crawford
  • No. 25 Hugh Evans
  • No. 21 Bill Oakes

Game 5, known as "The Flu Game", was one of Michael Jordan's most memorable games. At 2 a.m. on Tuesday morning, Jordan called his personal trainer to his hotel room, where he was lying in the fetal position and sweating profusely. He hardly had the strength to sit up in bed and was diagnosed with a stomach virus or food poisoning, likely caused by a pizza ordered the night before.[3] The Bulls' trainers told Jordan that there was no way he could play the next day. The Jazz had just won Games 3 and 4 to tie the series at two wins apiece, and a third consecutive win would give them the series lead. The Bulls needed their leader for this critical game, and despite his sickness, Jordan got out of bed at 5:50 p.m. on Wednesday, just in time for the 7 o'clock tip-off at the Delta Center.[4]

Jordan was weak as he stepped on the court for Game 5. At first, he displayed little energy, and John Stockton, along with reigning MVP Karl Malone, led the Jazz to a 16-point lead (36–20) in the second quarter. But Jordan slowly began to make shots despite lacking his usual speed. He scored 17 points in the quarter as the Bulls ended the half with a large run cutting the Jazz lead to four (53–49). While Jordan was fatigued in the third and sitting on the bench, Utah was able to reclaim the lead and stretched it to 8 points (77–69). Jordan shot well again in the fourth quarter, scoring 15 points. With 46.4 seconds left and Chicago down 85–84, he was fouled and went to the free throw line. He made the first to tie the game, but missed the second. Toni Kukoč got the offensive rebound to Jordan, who dribbled back to allow the offense to set up. He passed the ball to Pippen, who was quickly double-teamed. Pippen then passed the ball back to a now-unguarded Jordan, who made a 3-point shot to give the Bulls an 88–85 lead with 25 seconds remaining in the game. A Greg Ostertag dunk brought the Jazz back within one point, but Luc Longley answered with a dunk of his own, and Chicago held on for a victory when John Stockton missed the first of two free throws in front of the stunned crowd. With only a few seconds remaining and the game's result safely in Chicago's favor, Jordan collapsed into Scottie Pippen's arms, creating an iconic image that has come to symbolize The Flu Game.[4]

Malone was the high-scorer for the Jazz with 19 points but shot poorly during the game, air-balling an off-balance shot on the possession prior to Jordan's 3-pointer. Malone finished the second half 1-for-6 from the field. Jordan played 44 minutes, finishing the game with 38 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 1 block.

Game 6

June 13
9:00 et
Recap at the Wayback Machine (archived February 10, 2001)
Utah Jazz 86, Chicago Bulls 90
Scoring by quarter: 23–17, 21–20, 26–27, 16–26
Pts: Karl Malone 21
Rebs: Greg Ostertag 8
Asts: John Stockton 5
Pts: Michael Jordan 39
Rebs: Jordan, Rodman 11 each
Asts: Michael Jordan 4
Chicago wins the series, 4–2
United Center, Chicago
Attendance: 24,544
  • No. 17 Joey Crawford
  • No. 29 Steve Javie
  • No. 15 Bennett Salvatore

Michael Jordan hadn't fully recovered from the flu, but he was feeling much better and led the Bulls with 39 points. Chicago struggled in the first half, scoring just 37 points and making only 9 of 27 field goals. With the Bulls struggling in the third quarter, Michael Jordan dunked after a steal, bringing the crowd to its feet and Jud Buechler buried a 3 to help give the Bulls the momentum. The Bulls trailed by 9 early in the fourth quarter, but went on a 10–0 run to take their first lead since the opening minutes when Steve Kerr hit a 3-pointer, but the Jazz regained the lead and the game remained one possession until the final score. In the final minutes, Jordan's fadeaway jumper extended the Bulls lead to 3, before Bryon Russell hit a 3-pointer with 1:44 left to tie the game at 86. The two teams failed to score on their next possessions. Shandon Anderson then missed a reverse layup. The Jazz argued that this was due to Pippen grabbing the rim before the shot, causing the basketball standard to shake. However, the officials ruled that the ball had no chance of going in. Dennis Rodman grabbed the rebound and called time-out with 28 seconds left in a tie game. The Jazz expected Jordan to take the final shot. Instead, Jordan drew a double-team, then passed to a wide-open Steve Kerr, who hit a 17-footer with 5 seconds left to send the United Center into a frenzy. The Jazz looked for a final shot to stay alive, but Scottie Pippen made a significant defensive play as he knocked away Bryon Russell's inbound pass intended for Shandon Anderson and rolled the ball over to Toni Kukoč, who dunked the final 2 points of the game before the roaring crowd to bring the Finals to an end, despite there being 0.6 seconds left in the game. Afterwards, Jordan was named Finals MVP for the 5th time. This would also be the last United Center championship celebration until the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks beat the Tampa Bay Lightning to win the 2015 Stanley Cup.

Player statistics

  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game
Chicago Bulls
Randy Brown 5 0 4.8 .200 .000 1.000 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.8
Jud Buechler 6 0 8.7 .500 .250 .500 1.2 0.3 0.5 0.5 1.7
Jason Caffey 5 0 3.4 .000 .000 .000 0.4 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0
Bison Dele 6 0 20.2 .472 .000 .538 3.3 0.8 1.0 0.2 6.8
Ron Harper 6 6 27.0 .344 .273 .667 4.5 2.3 1.0 1.0 4.8
Michael Jordan 6 6 42.7 .456 .320 .764 7.0 6.0 1.2 0.8 32.3
Steve Kerr 6 0 19.5 .360 .250 1.000 0.8 1.0 0.7 0.2 4.3
Toni Kukoč 6 0 23.3 .405 .556 .800 3.2 2.7 0.2 0.0 8.0
Luc Longley 6 6 21.8 .606 .000 .200 3.8 1.2 0.7 0.5 6.8
Scottie Pippen 6 6 42.8 .421 .375 .778 8.3 3.5 1.7 1.8 20.0
Dennis Rodman 6 6 27.2 .250 .167 .375 7.7 1.5 0.7 0.2 2.3
Utah Jazz
Shandon Anderson 4 0 21.0 .316 .250 .667 1.8 0.5 1.0 0.0 4.3
Antoine Carr 6 0 9.8 .409 .000 .000 1.7 0.8 0.0 0.0 3.0
Howard Eisley 6 0 10.5 .500 .500 .900 0.7 2.5 0.2 0.0 5.3
Greg Foster 6 0 16.0 .476 .333 .923 3.5 0.7 0.3 0.3 5.5
Jeff Hornacek 6 6 34.3 .379 .375 .846 3.5 2.2 0.7 0.0 12.0
Adam Keefe 4 0 7.5 .333 .000 .500 1.8 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.8
Karl Malone 6 6 40.8 .443 .000 .603 10.3 3.5 1.7 0.3 23.8
Chris Morris 6 0 11.5 .471 .500 .000 1.7 0.2 0.3 0.5 3.5
Greg Ostertag 6 6 21.8 .400 .000 .500 7.3 0.3 0.5 1.5 4.3
Bryon Russell 6 6 38.7 .390 .441 .875 5.8 0.7 0.8 0.2 11.3
John Stockton 6 6 37.5 .500 .400 .846 4.0 8.8 2.0 0.5 15.0


Marv Albert was the play-by-play announcer for his seventh straight NBA Finals for the NBA on NBC. It was his third straight NBA Finals working with color analysts Matt Guokas and Bill Walton. This would be the last NBA Finals that Albert would announce in the 1990s because of a sex scandal that would force NBC Sports to fire him later in 1997.

During these NBA Finals, NBC Sports' Hannah Storm became the first woman to serve as pre-game host of an NBA Finals. She would continue in this role for the next three NBA Finals.

NBC Sports also used Ahmad Rashād (Bulls sideline) and Jim Gray (Jazz sideline) as the sideline reporters.

This would be the only NBA Finals on NBC during the 1990s that would not include Bob Costas in any capacity. He had served as the pre-game host from 1991 to 1996. The next year, during the 1998 NBA Finals, Costas served as the play-by-play announcer, a role in which he would continue until the 2000 NBA Finals.


Both teams would meet again in the Finals in 1998, the first time the same two teams met in the NBA Finals since 1989, when the Lakers and Pistons went up against each other. Only this time, the Jazz had home-court advantage. The Bulls won that series in 6 games, highlighted by Michael Jordan's last shot as a Bull in Game 6.


  1. ^ Jet Magazine staff (1997-06-30). "Rodman fined $50,000 for remarks about Mormons". Johnson Publishing Co. Retrieved 2009-12-16.
  2. ^ Wise, Mike (June 13, 1997). "N.B.A. Fines Rodman $50,000 for Remarks on Mormons". The New York Times. Retrieved December 16, 2009.
  3. ^ Grover, Tim. "Trainer: MJ had food poisoning". ESPN. Retrieved 23 April 2013.
  4. ^ a b Weinberg, Rick (2004). "79: Jordan battles flu, makes Jazz sick". ESPN. Archived from the original on 2007-09-21.

External links

1996 NBA Finals

The 1996 NBA Finals was the championship series of the National Basketball Association (NBA)'s 1995–96 season, and the culmination of the season's playoffs. The Western Conference champion Seattle SuperSonics (64–18) played the Eastern Conference champion Chicago Bulls (72–10), with the Bulls holding home court advantage. The teams' 136 combined regular season wins shattered the previous record of 125, set in 1985 between the Los Angeles Lakers who won 62 games and the Boston Celtics who won 63 games in the past regular season. The series was played under a best-of-seven format. This was the first championship in the Chicago Bulls second three-peat.Chicago won the series 4 games to 2. Michael Jordan was named NBA Finals MVP.

NBC Sports used Ahmad Rashād (Bulls sideline) and Hannah Storm (SuperSonics sideline).

Hal Douglas narrated the season-ending documentary Unstoppabulls for NBA Entertainment.

This was the 50th NBA Finals played.

1997 in basketball

The following are the basketball events of the year 1997 throughout the world.

1997–98 Chicago Bulls season

The 1997–98 NBA season was the Bulls' 32nd season in the National Basketball Association. The Bulls entered the season as the two-time defending NBA champions, where they defeated the Utah Jazz in the 1997 NBA Finals in six games, winning their fifth NBA championship. During the offseason, the Bulls acquired Scott Burrell from the Golden State Warriors. Without All-Star forward Scottie Pippen for the first half of the season due to a back injury sustained from the 1997 NBA Finals, the Bulls played around .500 with a 9–7 record in November. However, Pippen would eventually return as the Bulls posted a 13-game winning streak between March and April, as they finished first place in the Central Division with a 62–20 record. In the playoffs, the Bulls defeated the New Jersey Nets 3–0 in the first round, the Charlotte Hornets 4–1 in the semifinals, and then the Indiana Pacers 4–3 in the Conference Finals en route to advance to the NBA Finals. In the Finals, they met the Utah Jazz in a rematch from last year's NBA Finals and just like last year, they would go on to defeat the Jazz in six games to win the championship. The championship was their sixth in eight years and completed the franchise's second "3-peat".

This was Michael Jordan's last season as a Bull, as he announced his second retirement after it was over. However, he did make a second comeback with the Washington Wizards in 2001. Also leaving Chicago after the season were starters Pippen and Dennis Rodman as well as head coach Phil Jackson—however, he did return to coach the Los Angeles Lakers in 1999. Because of these departures, this was the last season for the Bulls dynasty that had headlined the NBA throughout the 1990s. What followed was a long rebuilding process between 1998 and 2004, and the Bulls did not return to the postseason until 2005. The season also saw Jordan earn his fifth and final NBA Most Valuable Player Award, while being selected for the 1998 NBA All-Star Game, where he also won his third and final All-Star Game MVP Award.

Following the season, Jackson resigned as Head Coach, Jordan retired for the second time, Pippen was traded to the Houston Rockets, Rodman later signed with the Los Angeles Lakers as a free agent, Luc Longley was dealt to the Phoenix Suns, three-point specialist Steve Kerr signed with the San Antonio Spurs, Burrell signed with the New Jersey Nets, and Jud Buechler signed with the Detroit Pistons.

1997–98 Utah Jazz season

The 1997–98 NBA season was the Jazz's 24th season in the National Basketball Association, and 19th season in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Jazz entered the season as runner-ups in the 1997 NBA Finals, where they lost to the Chicago Bulls in six games. Without John Stockton for the first 18 games due to a knee injury, the Jazz slowly got off to an 11–7 start to the season. However, Stockton would eventually return as the Jazz won 31 of their final 36 games after the All-Star break, and finished first place in the Midwest Division with a 62–20 record. The Jazz's top scorer Karl Malone, who averaged 27.0 points per game, was part of a Jazz offense that had two other players, Stockton and Jeff Hornacek, averaging double-digits in points. Malone was the only member of the team to play in the 1998 NBA All-Star Game.

In the first round of the playoffs, the Jazz trailed 2–1 to the 8th-seeded Houston Rockets. However, they won the series in five games. In the semifinals, they defeated the San Antonio Spurs in five games. After that, the Jazz swept the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals in four straight games to advance to the NBA Finals for the second consecutive year, and once again, met the Chicago Bulls in a rematch of last year's NBA Finals, in which they lost to the Bulls in six games. In the Finals, just like last year's NBA Finals, they lost in six games to the Chicago Bulls. Following the season, Antoine Carr signed as a free agent with the Houston Rockets, and Chris Morris signed with the Phoenix Suns.

1998 NBA Finals

The 1998 NBA Finals was the championship round of the 1998 playoffs of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the conclusion of the 1997–98 NBA season. The Eastern Conference champion Chicago Bulls played against the Western Conference champion Utah Jazz, with the Jazz holding home-court advantage with the first 2 games in Salt Lake City. In a repeat of the previous year's Finals, the Bulls won the series 4 games to 2 for their third consecutive NBA title and their sixth in eight seasons. Michael Jordan was voted the NBA Finals MVP of the series (he also had won the award the last five times the Bulls won the Finals: 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, and 1997). This would be his sixth NBA championship and sixth Finals MVP award in six full basketball seasons. Until 2014, it was the last consecutive Finals rematch between two teams.

The 1998 Finals garnered the highest Nielsen TV ratings in NBA history at 18.7, and even surpassed the Nielsen ratings for the 1998 World Series, marking the first time the NBA had a higher rating in its championship round than of Major League Baseball's championship round.

Until 2012, this was the most recent final played entirely outside of Texas and California.

Buzzer beater

In basketball and other sports, a buzzer beater is a shot that is taken before the game clock of a quarter, a half, or an overtime period expires but does not go in the basket until after the clock expires and the buzzer sounds. The concept normally applies to baskets that beat an end-of-quarter/half/overtime buzzer but is sometimes applied to shots that beat the shot clock buzzer.

Officials in the National Collegiate Athletic Association, National Basketball Association, Women's National Basketball Association, Serie A (Italy), and the Euroleague (Final Four series only, effective 2006) are required to use instant replay to assess whether a shot made at the end of a period was in fact released before the game clock expired. Since 2002, the NBA also has mandated LED light strips along the edges of the backboard and the edge of the scorer's table for the purposes of identifying the end of a period.

Chicago Bulls Championship riots

Mass rioting and looting occurred in Chicago, Illinois in the immediate aftermath of the Chicago Bulls winning six NBA Championships in the 1990s.

Dennis Rodman

Dennis Keith Rodman (born May 13, 1961) is an American retired professional basketball player who played for the Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, and Dallas Mavericks in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was nicknamed "The Worm" and is famous for his fierce defensive and rebounding abilities.

Rodman played at the small forward position in his early years before becoming a power forward. He earned NBA All-Defensive First Team honors seven times and won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award twice. He also led the NBA in rebounds per game for a record seven consecutive years and won five NBA championships. His biography at NBA.com states that he is "arguably the best rebounding forward in NBA history". On April 1, 2011, the Pistons retired Rodman's No. 10 jersey, and he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame later that year.Rodman experienced an unhappy childhood and was shy and introverted in his early years. After aborting a suicide attempt in 1993, he reinvented himself as a "bad boy" and became notorious for numerous controversial antics. He repeatedly dyed his hair in artificial colors, had many piercings and tattoos, and regularly disrupted games by clashing with opposing players and officials. He famously wore a wedding dress to promote his 1996 autobiography Bad As I Wanna Be. Rodman pursued a high-profile affair with singer Madonna and was briefly married to actress Carmen Electra. Rodman also attracted international attention for his visits to North Korea and his subsequent befriending of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in 2013.

In addition to being a retired professional basketball player, Rodman is a retired part-time professional wrestler and actor. He was a member of the nWo and fought alongside Hulk Hogan at two Bash at the Beach events. In professional wrestling, Rodman was the first ever winner of the Celebrity Championship Wrestling tournament. He had his own TV show, The Rodman World Tour, and had lead roles in the action films Double Team (1997) and Simon Sez (1999). Both films were critically panned, with the former earning Rodman a triple Razzie Award. He appeared in several reality TV series and was the winner of the $222,000 main prize of the 2004 edition of Celebrity Mole.

I Believe I Can Fly

"I Believe I Can Fly" is a 1996 song written and performed by American singer, songwriter, record producer, and former professional basketball player R. Kelly, from the soundtrack to the 1996 film Space Jam. It was originally released on November 26, 1996, and was later included on Kelly's 1998 album R.

In early 1997, "I Believe I Can Fly" reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100; it was kept from the number one spot by Toni Braxton's "Un-Break My Heart". Although Kelly has had two number one songs on the pop chart, "I Believe I Can Fly" is his most successful single. It reached the number-one spot of the Billboard R&B Singles Chart and remained there for six non-consecutive weeks, keeping "Un-Break My Heart" from the top position of that chart for four of those weeks. "I Believe I Can Fly" also topped the charts in eight countries (including the United Kingdom), has won three Grammy Awards, and was ranked number 406 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time in 2004. The music video was directed by Kelly with Hype Williams and designed by visual artist and designer Ron Norsworthy.

Jack Nies

Jack Nies (pronounced niece) (born November 11, 1937) is a retired National Basketball Association (NBA) referee. Wearing #35 throughout his 31-year career, only Dick Bavetta and Joey Crawford have had more years of NBA officiating experience than Nies. Nies officiated 2,046 regular-season games throughout his career, making him the sixth referee to do so. In addition, Nies oversaw 150 playoff games, 10 NBA Finals games, two NBA All-Star Games (1996 and 2005), and the 1987 Legends Classic. Internationally, he was part of the referee crew that oversaw the 1994 Mexico Challenge and the 1997 McDonald's Championship; 2007 Istanbul, Turkey; Malaga and Madrid Spain—NBA Preseason Games

Nies retired from the NBA following the 2008–09 season.

Jim Gray (sportscaster)

Jim Gray is an American sportscaster. He is currently with Showtime, Fox, and Westwood One Radio network, as a reporter, commentator, and interviewer,

having served in the same capacity at ESPN, NBC Sports and CBS Sports.

Gray is an Emmy Award-winning journalist, reporter, producer, and executive producer of sports documentaries and features.

List of NBA Finals broadcasters

The following is a list of the television and radio networks and announcers that have broadcast NBA Finals games over the years.

NBA 60 Greatest Playoff Moments

The NBA 60 Greatest Playoff Moments were chosen in 2006 to honor the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of the National Basketball Association (NBA). These 60 moments (in total, there were sixty-two moments; the last three were deemed tied) were selected through a vote by a 25-member panel of experts made up by media members and former players. The last 50 moments (from the eleventh to the sixtieth) were ranked by the panel. The top 10 moments were instead ranked by fans who voted online. The voting ended on June 5, 2006 and the results were announced in a television special aired on NBA TV the following day.

As the name suggested, all of these moments happened during the NBA playoffs. Forty moments selected happened in the Finals round, with 19 of them happening during the 1980s and 18 of them happening during the 1990s.

NBA Fastbreak '98

NBA Fastbreak '98 is a basketball simulator released for the Sony PlayStation in 1997. It was published by Midway Games. The cover features a shot of the 1997 NBA Finals. Fastbreak '98 takes place during the 1997-98 National Basketball Association season. The game was also released with minimal changes as "NBA Action 98" on Sega Saturn published by Sega Sports

NBA on television in the 1990s

As the national broadcaster of the NBA, CBS aired NBA games from the 1973-74 until the 1989–90 season, during which the early 1980s is notoriously known as the tape delay playoff era.

NBC then succeeded the broadcast rights from 1990 to 2002. During NBC's partnership with the NBA in the 1990s, the league rose to unprecedented popularity, with ratings surpassing the days of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird in the mid 1980s. Upon expiration of the contract in 2002, the league signed an agreement with ABC, which began airing games in the 2002-03 season. NBC had made a four-year $1.3 billion ($330 million/year) bid in the spring of 2002 to renew its NBA rights, but the league instead went to ESPN and ABC with a six-year deal worth $2.4 billion ($400 million/year), a total of $4.6 billion ($766 million/year) when adding the cable deal with Turner Sports.

Outstanding Live Sports Special

The Sports Emmy Award for Outstanding Live Sports Special has been awarded since 1976. It is awarded to a network for their coverage of one specific sporting event in a calendar year, which means it should not be confused with the award for Outstanding Live Sports Series.

Ray Clay

Ray Clay is an American public address announcer best known for his work for the Chicago Bulls organization in the 1990s.

Steve Kerr

Stephen Douglas Kerr (born September 27, 1965) is an American professional basketball coach and former player who is the head coach of the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is an eight-time NBA champion, having won five titles as a player (three with the Chicago Bulls and two with the San Antonio Spurs) as well as three with the Warriors as a head coach. Kerr has the highest career three-point percentage (45.4%) in NBA history for any player with at least 250 three-pointers made. He also held the NBA record for highest three-point percentage in a season at 52.4% until the record was broken by Kyle Korver in 2010.

On June 2, 2007, the Phoenix Suns named Kerr the team's president of basketball operations and general manager. Kerr helped managing partner Robert Sarver buy the Suns in 2004 and became one of Sarver's trusted basketball advisors. Kerr announced his retirement from the Suns in June 2010. Afterwards, Kerr returned as a color commentator for NBA on TNT until 2014, when he pursued a career in coaching.

On May 14, 2014, the Golden State Warriors named Kerr the team's head coach. On April 4, 2015, with a win over the Dallas Mavericks, Kerr broke the NBA record for the most regular-season wins for a rookie coach. The Warriors went on to win the 2015 NBA Finals, making Kerr the first rookie coach to win a championship since Pat Riley in the 1982 NBA Finals. On April 13, 2016, the Warriors broke the record for the most wins in an NBA season, breaking a record previously held by Kerr's 1995–96 Chicago Bulls. The Warriors returned to the Finals for four straight years, losing in 2016, winning again in 2017 and 2018, and losing in 2019.

Vivint Smart Home Arena

Vivint Smart Home Arena is an indoor arena located in Salt Lake City, Utah. The building is owned by the Miller Family Legacy Trust. The arena is the home of the Utah Jazz of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and has been the home venue for other professional athletic teams such as the Utah Blaze of the Arena Football League and the Utah Starzz of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA). It seats 18,306 for basketball, has 56 luxury suites, and 668 club seats.

Opened in 1991, the arena was known as the Delta Center, under a naming rights deal with Delta Air Lines, which has a hub at Salt Lake City International Airport. Salt Lake City-based EnergySolutions purchased the naming rights in November 2006, after Delta decided not to renew their 15-year contract due to filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy the year prior. From 2006 to 2015, it was known as EnergySolutions Arena. On October 26, 2015, the arena was renamed as part of a 10-year naming rights contract with the Provo-based home security system provider Vivint.The arena was also home to the figure skating and short track speed skating competitions of the 2002 Winter Olympics, where it was referred to as the Salt Lake Ice Center.

Chicago Bulls 1996–97 NBA champions
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