The Chicago Bulls won six out of ten championships in the 90s, which also saw two three-peats. Their Western Conference opponents were Los Angeles Lakers, Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns, Seattle Sonics and the Utah Jazz (back to back). Micheal Jordan would take home all-six Finals MVP Awards, as the Bulls went Undefeated in all six appearances.
Gary Vitti is the former Los Angeles Lakers head athletic trainer, he was with the team for 32 years, including the championship team that faced the Bulls in 1991. Thinks the Bulls “didn’t play anybody,” in the NBA Finals, Gary Vitti told Scoop B Radio.
Vitti even addresses Michael’s status as the Greatest Of All Time:
“So when Michael got his first ring in ‘91 and the five that came after it, there wasn’t anybody left,” said Vitti.
“The Lakers were done because Kareem had retired and then Magic [Johnson] came up 0 positive for HIV in ‘91. So he wasn’t challenged again by the great Laker team, the ones that because Kareem had already retired before ‘91, so he wasn’t part of that series against I don’t know what they would have done.”
“They had Luke Longley; they had Bill Levingston; I mean what were they going to do with Kareem? So he didn’t play the Lakers, the Celtics got old very very fast. Bird, Parish, and McHale all got old at the same time, so the Celtics were done.”
So, what exactly is Vitti trying to imply?
“There was no challenge there, and the Pistons were done, so basically when you really look at the six rings that the Bulls won, they didn’t play anybody,” said Vitti.
“They didn’t play any of the championship caliber teams of the 80s like the Lakers, the Sixers, the Celtics, and the Pistons. All four of those teams had basically had their run, and it was over, and so it’s not taking anything away from him because he did what he was supposed to do. He dominated, but the game wasn’t the same game, it was different.”
I recently had the opportunity to speak with former Chicago Bull and the current head coach of the Golden State Warriors Steve Kerr about Vitti’s comments.
“ I just wonder if Gary Vitti was equipped to handle that many injuries during his time. I question his ability to tape ankles. I think Gary was always overrated and when you compare Gary to some of the other trainers and medical staff. He just didn’t have to deal with the adversity that the trainers have to deal with today, Kerr told me.
Someone else who faced Michael in the Finals was Cedric Ceballos in 1993, with the Phoenix Suns.
“We beat the Lakers to play the Bulls in 1993. So, if we were nobody then why did we beat the Lakers to get to the Finals. There were no rivalries for Michael because he was that good. Magic had Larry with the Lakers vs Celtics there wasn’t anyone at that time on that level,” Ceballos told me.
“They gave Karl Malone a gift by giving him the MVP in 1997, but Jordan should have won it that year too. When Charles won his MVP, he was the best player in basketball, but he wasn’t the best player period. He had an unbelievable season played great, but he was not the best player. Everyone said if he wasn’t hurt Y’all probably would of beat the Bulls. It would have been close, but Michael would have found a way. Vitti is biased he spent 30 years with the Lakers.”
“I love him to death! He watched Magic go through all of his championships, and the same with Kobe & Shaq I get it. You can say the same thing with Kobe and Shaq when they won three straight. There was no one competing at their level. They lucked out on a couple of shots the same thing with Jordan and the Bulls. He lucked out when Reggie didn’t hit that shot in the conference finals, and Michael was able to hit it when it counted. There is a lot of “coulda, shoulda, wouldas” in each scenario in a game of inches in football. There really was no one in Mike’s era, who was at that level. You can’t blame Michael for that it is just like Shaq and Kobe were the most dominant during their era. Their only enemy was themselves.”