Up until 2016, 73 wins in an NBA regular season were unheard of, a record no one saw coming to life. But that was until the Golden State Warriors, fresh off an NBA title, began their reign of dominance. Beginning the season winning 24 straight games, Stephen Curry and Co looked invulnerable. Nevertheless, their impeccable season had a stain, something Michael Jordan made sure to point out in 2017 to Warriors owner, Joe Lacob.
Memorably, their historic season was also the year LeBron James did the impossible. James and the Cavaliers came back from down 3-1 in the NBA finals. He kept the Bay from having the perfect season, something Michael Jordan was able to do with the Bulls.
In 1996, the Chicago Bulls rewrote history, winning 72 games in the regular season. Nevertheless, that was far from the validation His Airness and the troops wanted. They wanted a perfect season, a campaign that would eventually end with a championship. Unsurprisingly, Jordan and Co. did just that.
The Warriors did beat Jordan's regular season record, but they ran into LeBron James, a man on a mission to give Cleveland their first title. Stephen Curry not only lost the final, but they were embarrassed. One of the greatest teams in NBA history lost a series after taking a 3-1 lead, a milestone the Warriors didn't want to associate with.
In 2017, all the owners met for several dinners with Michael Jordan also being present. And you know he had to let Lacob know their historic 2016 run wasn't as great as his own.
"Michael Jordan — people are drinking and having a good time and all that, but there was a moment where he said, you know, '73 don't mean [blank].' He did it, Michael Jordan did that. And I looked at him and I just decided not to make a big deal of it," said the Warriors owner according to CBS Sports.
The majority of the NBA world discredit the Warriors' 2016 run. But that's not the case with Lacob. He believes there is still a lot to celebrate from their historic season. He even considered having a banner at the Chase Center to mark the feat.
The Golden State Warriors did make history that year. To this day, no organization has even come in the breath of the 73-win mark. Despite their impossible achievement, however, all fans remember is LeBron James embarrassing the Bay on the biggest stage.
There might have been a moment of celebration after the Bulls completed 72 wins, but it was just that – a moment. Michael Jordan and the Bulls quickly shifted their focus to the bigger picture. And it was spearheaded by Ron Harper.
The two-way bench star made t-shirts for his teammates that said, "72-10 don't mean a thing without the ring". That was enough motivation, to complete a picture-perfect year. Chicago would beat the Seattle Supersonics to win the title, completing the season of dreams.
Harper's initiative might also be the inspiration behind Jordan's comments to Lacob. It was a quote he remembers, and with his competitive fire, it is one he will repeat over and over if the opportunity arises.