Season by Season
1994 to 1995
Hakeem Reigns Supreme
The biggest news of the season came five months into it. After sitting out 17
months and sending a severe case of depression through the sports world,
Michael Jordan ditched his hobby, baseball, for his true love, basketball.
When he returned to the court with the Chicago Bulls on March 19 he wore
the unfamiliar jersey number 45, but his presence provided the same thrills
that had captivated fans all over the world. The Bulls were unable to
get past Orlando in the second round of the playoffs, but Jordan's somewhat
rusty return was still a success and had Bulls fans thinking about next
year with renewed enthusiasm.
Hakeem Olajuwon rose to the occasion again in the Finals, leading Houston's sweep of Orlando and giving the Rockets back-to-back titles.
The 1995 NBA Finals came down to youth versus experience. The young but
talented Orlando Magic won 57 games in the regular season and defeated
the Celtics, Bulls and Pacers to make it to the Finals in only their sixth
season of existence. Meanwhile the defending champion Houston Rockets
made it out of the tough Western Conference to protect their crown. And
it was the tested veterans who ruled, as Houston , led by center Hakeem
Olajuwon, who produced one of the greatest playoff efforts ever, won for
the second straight season in only the sixth Finals sweep in history..
The champion remained the same, but the season was marked by many changes.
The league introduced new rules, including a shorter three-point line
designed to invite more scoring and reduce the defensive and physical
mentality that had crept into the game and slowed the pace. And exciting
new stars were born, led by Detroit's Grant Hill and Dallas' Jason Kidd,
the league's first co-rookie of the year winners since 1970-71, when
Dave Cowens and Geoff Petrie shared the honor.
MADE TO BE BROKEN
The 1994-95 season saw two major records fall. Atlanta coach Lenny Wilkens
passed the legendary Red Auerbach on the list of all-time coaching victories,
while Utah's John Stockton replaced Magic Johnson as the NBA's all-time
When Wilkens won victory number 939 in early January against the
Washington Bullets to pass Auerbach's record of 939, which had stood
since the close of the 1965-66 season and Auerbach's retirement as
coach of the Boston Celtics, he lit up a cigar in tribute to the man
who had been the NBA's winningest coach for over three seasons.
"Red is a legend, so this is a huge achievement," said Wilkens.
"When I started coaching, all of us looked at Red and thought his
record was something that would stand forever."
NBA History Season by Season
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