All season long, NBA observers have been discussing whether this year's Golden State Warriors can really keep up their torrid pace long enough to have a legitimate shot at breaking the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls' all-time record for wins in a regular season. With the Warriors entering the All-Star break at a remarkable 48-4, the best record through 52 games in league history, the Bulls' 72-10 mark — once seemingly impossible to equal, let alone better — now seems to be firmly within the Dubs' grasp.
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According to Warriors All-Star shooting guard Klay Thompson, even the legendarily competitive linchpin of that unbelievable Chicago squad is on-board with the idea of Golden State taking its place at the head of the NBA's history books. At the 1:25 mark of the video below, Thompson talks with CSN Bay Area's Rosalyn Gold-Onwude about meeting the great Michael Jordan after taking home the Three-Point Contest crown, and receiving a somewhat shocking blessing:
He said, "Go ahead and break the record." I told him — I was talking to him about my little brother [ Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Trayce Thompson] playing for the [Birmingham] Barons, they played for the same baseball team. You know, I still get starstruck when I see him, because I'm like, "Oh, wow, that's MJ, that's the guy everyone wanted to be growing up."
You know, he was cool to talk to. He gave me a lot of props. He told me to tell my pops [former NBA player Mychal Thompson] hey, tell my uncle. It was great seeing him, man. He's easy to talk to. You know, I didn't know he was, because it's Michael Jordan, but I felt like I've honestly arrived, too, because he knew who I was. That was really cool.
I mean, yeah, "Michael Jordan telling me he's cool with me and my teammates breaking one of the most impressive records in basketball" sure sounds cool as hell.
No, the Warriors don't exactly need MJ's permission to continue tenderizing the opposition to a historic degree, and no, this doesn't necessarily constitute Jordan admitting that this year's Warriors are a better team than his Bulls, or anything like that. Still, it's a pretty rad "real recognize real" moment, and one that frankly kind of plays against type; given Michael's famously insane competitive streak and unwillingness to give an inch in any direction to even purely theoretical opposition, it would've been far less surprising to hear MJ offer some side-eye snark about playing in a softer era or that he'd have put the clamps on Stephen Curry or something like that. This, then, is a surprise, and a welcome one, I think.
For those of you keeping score at home, the Warriors are one game ahead of the '95-'96 Bulls' pace through 52 games, and will need to finish the regular season 25-5 to take possession of the record. Anything can happen over the next 30 games, of course — cold shooting, injuries, the run-of-the-mill struggles that seem to afflict every team but Golden State — but if they keep things up, the record could very well be theirs ... and, by the sound of it, the GOAT will be right there alongside the rest of us cheering as Steph, Klay, Draymond Green and the gang make history.
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