06/16/2011 10:10 AM
In celebration of its 125th anniversary, in 2011, Sporting News is settling the score on the Great Sports Debates. This month’s debate puts to rest the argument of the NBA’s greatest teams of all time, with SN asking an All-Star panel of current and former coaches, players, executives and journalists to cast their votes. Led by Michael Jordan, the 1995-96 NBA champion Chicago Bulls earned the No. 1 spot. They won 72 regular-season games, the most all time, led the league with 105.2 points per game and were tops in both offensive efficiency and defensive efficiency.
Phil Jackson assistant Jim Cleamons said about the ’95-96 Bulls, “That team refused to lose. It was like, ‘Hey, we’re not supposed to lose.’ It hurt them every time they lost a game. That 72-10 record was their stamp on their quality of work and what they thought of each other.”
The NBA champion 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers, a team that won a record 33 straight games on the backs of Jerry West, Gail Goodrich and Wilt Chamberlain, are No. 2. The 1986-87 Lakers championship team, featuring No. 1 overall draft picks Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Mychal Thompson and James Worthy, is No. 3. Led by Larry Bird and four other future Hall of Famers, the 1985-86 Boston Celtics were NBA champions and make the list at No. 4. Anchored by Bill Russell, the NBA champion 1964-65 Celtics featured eight future Hall of Famers and ranks No. 5.
Coming in at No. 6 through 10: the 1966-67 76ers, 1982-83 76ers, 1970-71 Bucks, 1991-92 Bulls and 1988-89 Pistons.
The June 20 issue of Sporting News Magazine features Michael Jordan on the cover and is available on newsstands now. In addition to the NBA’s greatest teams, it also includes an NBA draft preview, a look into MLB’s fiercest rivalry, Reds vs. Cardinals, and a coaches survey about college football’s biggest issues.
For more information about Sporting News’ 125th anniversary, please visit www.sportingnews.com/125
Ten Greatest NBA Teams of All Time
1. 1995-96 CHICAGO BULLS
2. 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers
3. 1986-87 Los Angeles Lakers
4. 1985-86 Boston Celtics
5. 1964-65 Boston Celtics
6. 1966-67 Philadelphia 76ers
7. 1982-83 Philadelphia 76ers
8. 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks
9. 1991-92 CHICAGO BULLS
10. 1988-89 Detroit Pistons