Welcome to the Best Team Ever bracket series, where the greatest of all time had their most dominant seasons stacked up against each other until we ultimately crowned a champion in each sport. The tournament was decided by fan vote! Check out the first round of voting here, the second round of voting here, the Final Four voting here and the championship round of voting here. Polls closed on Tuesday.
Michael Jordan reigns supreme. Again.
The greatest player in NBA history commanded the Best Team Ever, at least according to Yahoo Sports polling, and it was not close. Facing the toughest road of any roster in the 16-team bracket, the 72-win Bulls received 74 percent of the vote or better in disposing of the best versions of both Bill Russell and Larry Bird’s Boston Celtics, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers and Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant’s Golden State Warriors — arguably the four greatest dynasties not featuring Jordan.
It should come as little surprise, despite our custom GOAT Grade algorithm listing the 1996 Bulls as a third seed behind the 2017 Warriors and 1986 Celtics. Jordan not only never lost in the Finals, he never even faced a Game 7 in six title series. We can debate whether Chicago faced teams as talented as some other dynasties, but it did not appear the majority of voters wanted to have that conversation.
Jordan’s 1996 Bulls won more regular-season games than any other title team in history (sorry for the reminder, 2016 Warriors fans) and did so by registering the best net rating ever (outscoring opponents by an average of 13.4 points per 100 possessions). They lost a single game en route to the Finals, sweeping Shaquille O’Neal, Penny Hardaway and the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference finals.
After Chicago took a 3-0 Finals lead, the Seattle SuperSonics forced a Game 6 before Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and company put them away. Despite that closer-than-you-might-think championship series, Yahoo Sports voters so overwhelmingly supported the Bulls in this bracket that they apparently figured none of the best teams ever could challenge them any better than Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp. Either that, or they just figured there was no way Jordan was ever losing a Game 7.
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