We all relish the fact that Chicago won a record 72 games in the 95-96 season, but let’s not forget the Bulls 1996 NBA Finals. We loved the fact that Michael Jordan was finally back in his old modest basketball self–while still in baseball condition and not basketball condition. The Bulls had suffered a loss in the Conference Semi-finals in the previous year to the young budding Orlando Magic, which featured a young Anfernee ‘Penny Hardaway’ and the ever so dominant Shaquille O’Neal.

With respect to the ever-so competitive tandem of Gary “The Glove” Payton and Shawn “Reign-man” Kemp of the Sonics, it’s hard to imagine a better finals match-up than these two titans: the Seattle Supersonics and the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls featured a core group, or the big-three, consisting of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman. Not only did we get to see a great series, but we also got a chance to check out some awesome kicks featured on the court.


Michael Jordan was starting a brand new dynasty with a newly coordinated Chicago Bulls team. That’s not to take away from the young Seattle Supersonics team coached by George Karl. The Sonics were determined to show the Bulls that this was a young man’s game, and that Jordan, Scottie, and the Zen Master, Phil Jackson, needed to hang up their jerseys.

Gary Payton wearing the Nike Air Thrill Flight & Shawn Kemp wearing the Reebok Optix Photo via Getty


Toni Kukoc of the Bulls wearing Air Max Uptempo, Vincent Askew of the Sonics wearing Reebok The Blast – Photo via Getty


Hersey Hawkins of the Sonics wearing the Fila Muscle Ball vs Scottie Pippen of the Bulls wearing the Nike Air More Uptempo – Fighting for a loose ball – Photo via Getty


Michael Jordan of the Bulls, wearing the Jordan XI ‘Playoff’ boxing out Shawn Kemp of the Sonics, wearing the Reebok Optix – Image via Hk-Kicks


Michael Jordan of the Bulls, wearing the Jordan XI ‘Playoff’ dunking over Detlef Schrempf of the Sonics, wearing the adidas EQT BB Photo via Getty


Shawn Kemp of the Sonics, wearing the Reebok Optix, dunking over Dennis Rodman, of the Bulls Photo via Getty


Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan of the Bulls respectively wearing the Nike Air More Uptempo and the Jordan XI’Playoff’. Luc Longley of the Bulls, wearing Nike Air Max Uptempo, against Detlef Schrempf of the Sonics, wearing the Adidas EQT BB. Photo via Getty/Andrew D. Bernstein


Michael Jordan of the Bulls wearing the Jordan XI ‘Playoff’ shooting a lay-up while being fouled by David Wingate of the Sonics


Jordan & Rodman, wearing the Nike Shake Ndestrukt taking a breather after a foul call during the ’96 NBA Finals

The final image would be the most unforgettable and memorable one. After a grueling six games, the ’96 Finals was won by the Chicago Bulls 4-2. It would be the first championship that Michael Jordan won without his father by his side. James Jordan, Sr. was murdered three years prior, in 1993. Michael stated this particular championship stood apart from the rest he’d won.

A memorable picture of Michael Jordan crying in the locker room while holding the Game ball.


But we here at Sneaker History can’t leave you with too many sad notations and images of the Bulls 1996 NBA Finals, so we’ll leave you with the one we cheer for…4

Michael Jordan celebrating with his cigar and champagne.

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