The 1991 NBA Finals was the championship round of the 1990–91 NBA season. It was the very first NBA Finals.
The Chicago Bulls of the Eastern Conference took about the Los Angeles Lakers of the Western Conference for the name, together with Chicago having home court advantage. It was Michael Jordan’s first NBA Finals appearance, Magic Johnson’s final, and also the final NBA Finals for the Lakers until 2000. The Bulls would win the series, 4-1. Jordan averaged 31.2 points about 56% shooting, 11.4 assists, 6.6 rebounds, 2.8 steals and 1.4 blocks en route to his first NBA Finals MVP Award.
The show was not the first time that Lakers and the Bulls confronted in the playoffs. Before 1991, they met four postseason series (1968, 1971, 1972 and 1973), all Lakers victories. Chicago was a member of the Western Conference at the moment and proceeded to the East in 1981. The 1991 Finals indicated the first time the Bulls defeated the Lakers.
This series would indicate this Lakers Showtime era’s conclusion and the beginning of the Bulls’ dynasty. After winning five championships in eight finals appearances in the 1980s, the Lakers would struggle for the remaining 1990s before winning five championships between the 2000-2002 and 2009-2010 seasons.
The 1991 Lakers were headed by Johnson, who was 32 and playing in what would be his final full season, as well as fellow All-Star teammate James Worthy; Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had retired two seasons earlier. The Bulls, led by NBA MVP Michael Jordan and celebrity small forward Scottie Pippen, would acquire five more championships after 1991 at a seven-year interval, cementing their status as a dynasty.
As it was all said and done, Michael Jordan became just the third man in NBA history (after George Mikan and Abdul-Jabbar) to capture the scoring title and the NBA Finals Championship in the same season.
Until 2015, the Bulls were the final team to win an NBA championship despite having a complete roster lacking in championship or championship experience. Not one of the Bulls players had logged a minute of NBA Finals experience before this.
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