The Running of the Bulls

Updated March 3, 2017 | Infoplease Staff
High Five! Bulls Dennis Rodman, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Ron Harper and coach Phil Jackson each hold one of the team's NBA championship trophies at a rally in Chicago. The Bulls beat the Jazz in the 1997 Finals for their fifth title in seven seasons.
Wide World Photos

Once again the basketball court was transformed into the narrow streets of Pamplona. This time the Utah Jazz played the part of the thrill-seeking daredevils and Chicago's Bulls ran them down on their way to a fifth NBA title in seven seasons.

Jordan, the star attraction of what continues to be the Greatest Show on Earth at times has cited his desire to match Magic Johnson's accomplishments with the Lakers as his reason for sticking around. Like Magic, Jordan now has one for the thumb.

The Bulls cruised threw the playoffs losing only two games in their three series leading up to the Finals. Conversely, the Jazz fought and scrapped their way through the West bracket. It took John Stockton's clutch three-pointer in Game Six of the Western Conference Finals against the Rockets to vault the Jazz to their first NBA Finals appearance ever.

Michael Jordan seemed snortin' mad and anxious to disprove the voters that decided Jazz power forward Karl Malone was the league MVP. The Jazz came to realize what all the other teams that faced the Bulls in the Finals eventually realize. Once again, Jordan and Co. made clear that as long as they're together the NBA championship is theirs to lose. Try as they might Malone and Stockton, even after 11 years together, could not pick and roll their way past the aging Bulls.

His Airness won his fifth NBA Finals MVP award averaging 32 points, seven rebounds and six assists proving to everyone that, Karl Malone notwithstanding, he is still the best player in the league. Still, as good as Jordan was, hitting the buzzer-beater to win Game One and coming back from the sickbed to score 38 on the road in Game Five, it was not a one man show. Scottie Pippen (20 ppg, 8 rpg) proved that he and Jordan form the most dynamic duo in the league, not Stockton and Malone.

Jordan again excelled in Game Six, pouring in 39 points, while league MVP Malone struggled, shooting 7 of 15 from the foul line. Despite getting close in several games, the Jazz couldn't ever seem to finish the Bulls off. They had plenty of chances to win Games One and Five, but they were unable bury that final sword. And the Bulls run on.

Sources +