For the last sixteen years, many sports fans all over the world have raised the question. If Michael Jordan didn’t decide to retire from the NBA to pursue a professional baseball career after his father, James Jordan, was murder in 1993. Could the Bulls have won eight straight championships?
During his year and a half away from the game of basketball, the Houston Rockets won their first championship in franchise history. Led by the number one pick in Jordan’s draft class, Hakeem Olajuwon. Jordan would come back on March 18, 1995, after an announcement from two-word fax: “I’m back.”
Jordan would help lead the Chicago Bulls in the playoffs that season. However, they were eliminated from the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals by the Orlando Magic in six games.
The following season the Bulls resumed their dominance of the NBA by winning another three straight finals.
Last week, Vernon Maxwell, a member of the Rockets back-to-back championship teams, tweeted that the Rockets had a 5-1 record against the Bulls during the first three-peat.
“5-1 vs Chicago during their first 3peat,” he Maxwell tweeted.
On Monday, he tweeted that yes, it was in the regular season, but 28 other teams couldn’t say they had the same success against the Bulls during that timeframe.
“Google it. Yes, it was the regular season, but 28 other teams can’t say they had as much success vs Chicago.”
Maxwell’s former teammates Clyde Drexler, Kenny Smith, and Robert Horry have all said that their team would beat the Bulls in 1994 and 1995 if Jordan didn’t retire.
Four years ago, Smith shared with Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson that the Rockets would have beat the Bulls because they didn’t match up well against them.
” We would’ve beat the Bulls without a question, they didn’t match up well with us, and during those years that they were actually winning championships, which wasn’t the playoffs. We were 8-2 against them during those years. We matched up well with them. We wouldn’t have been scared I tell you that much,” said Smith.
“Oh, we would have beat them like they stole something, said Drexler, a member of the 1995 Rockets team.
“Think about the team that beat them with Michael was the Orlando Magic, and we swept the Magic. But, I love Michael. Tell him, I love him and keep it in the fairway,” Drexler told Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson.
However, Scottie Pippen, who was a member of the Chicago during all six championships did respond to Smith on the Jump a couple of years ago.
“It would have been hard for him [Kenny Smith] to deliver the ball to Hakeem in the finals,” said Pippen.
Robert Horry said “Hell yes, and they had nobody that could guard ‘Dream.’
Scottie Pippen the following day would share, “It was hard to say because we did not face them with a championship roster, and in fairness, it would have been a great series.”
Pippen continued, “I do want Robert to know that we dominated Clyde Drexler and his team in 92. Did he forget about that? I want to remind him I had three titles when I showed up and that we already had three titles. We would have been better moving forward.”
The Bulls went on win six championships in the 1990s and were named the team of the decade.