Season by Season
Jordan and the Bulls went head-to-head with Magic and the Lakers as Chicago whipped L.A. 4-1 to win its first championship.
Michael Jordan had won four straight NBA scoring titles by the time
the 1990-91 season began, and his vast array of endorsements had made
him a household name. But he was dogged by the Wilt Chamberlain syndrome.
Every sports fan with even a passing familiarity with the NBA would
quote how no NBA team with the league scoring champion had won the
NBA title since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had led the Milwaukee Bucks to
the NBA title way back in 1971.
Jordan had been the NBA's Rookie of the Year in 1985, had been named to the All-NBA First Team four straight years, and had even been named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team three straight times. But Jordan's Bulls couldn't seem to get by Detroit, having lost to the Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals each of the past two years. But the Bulls had made drastic changes since Jordan's rookie year. John Paxson was signed as a free agent in 1985. Horace Grant and Scottie Pippen were added as a result of the 1987 NBA Draft. Bill Cartwright was acquired for Charles Oakley in 1988. B.J. Armstrong was selected in the 1989 NBA Draft. By 1990, the Bulls were ready to supplant the Pistons.
BULLS, JORDAN CLAIM FIRST CHAMPIONSHIP
The 1991 NBA Finals was billed as a matchup between two larger-than-life superstars, Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson. But as the series played out, it became obvious that it took a team, not one superlative individual, to win an NBA Championship. Jordan was superb, as his series averages of 31.2 points, 11.4 assists and 6.6 rebounds demonstrated, but the Bulls were no one-man team. Their defense held the Lakers to a record-low 458 points for a five-game series. Jordan, who had won his fifth straight scoring title in April, had finally silenced those who said he couldn't lead the Bulls all the way.