CHICAGO – This is about the time that Chicago Bulls fans become nostalgic because it’s the middle of June when their greatest dreams for their favorite team were realized.
All six of their championships were won at this time in the 1990s when the Michael Jordan-led group was the class of the National Basketball Association. But there is one day that stands out among the rest when it comes to significance in winning titles.
That is June 14th, which is the anniversary of not one but two championships by the Bulls, and each of these moments featured its own unique storyline for the team in order to clinch.
Let’s start with the first June 14th title clincher which came in 1992, when the team found themselves in a tough spot heading into the fourth quarter of Game 6 against the Blazers at Chicago Stadium. Portland played well on the brink of elimination and took a 15-point lead into the fourth quarter as they looked to force a Game 7.
Yet something special came from the Bulls’ bench at the beginning of the final 12 minutes as they helped to spark a rally. A pair of Bobby Hansen three-pointers sparked the rally which Jordan helped to finish with a couple of late buckets en route to a 33-point effort as the Bulls came back to win 97-93.
A jubilant crowd went crazy as the team won their first championship at Chicago Stadium and provided the city with a title clincher at home for the first time since the Bears won the 1963 NFL Championship over the Giants at Wrigley Field.
Six years later, on June 14, 1998, the dynasty would come to an end in triumphant fashion with the leader of the greatest era in franchise history delivering a fitting finish to his career in Chicago against the Jazz in Game 6 in Salt Lake City. Down by three points with under 40 seconds left, Jordan got a driving hoop to cut the deficit to one then stole the ball on the other end to set up the finish.
Guarded by Bryon Russell and time ticking down, Jordan shook off the defender and then hit the game-winning jumper, keeping his hand in the air as the ball went through hoop as if the signal that this was the end of his tenure with the Bulls.
Indeed, the 87-86 victory to win a sixth championship was the conclusion of the dynasty and Jordan’s career in Chicago, though he would play basketball again for the Wizards from 2001 to 2003.
Larry Hawley looked back on both of these moments in this edition of #WGNTBT, and you can watch that in the video above.