Real recognize real: '95-96 Bulls salute Warriors after Win No. 72

Ball Don't Lie
Make room for Steph and company, Mike. Sharing is caring.
Make room for Steph and company, Mike. Sharing is caring.

On Sunday night, the Golden State Warriors became the first team this season to beat the San Antonio Spurs in Texas and improving to 72-9, tying the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls for the most wins in a single season in NBA history. For now, they stand shoulder-to-shoulder with those Bulls at the top of the NBA record book; come Wednesday night, they'll have an opportunity to take one step beyond by bumping off the Memphis Grizzlies at Oracle Arena to become the first NBA team ever to win 73 games.

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After the Dubs became undeniable, some members of that legendary Bulls team were gracious enough to stop denying them.

That might have come as something of a surprise to Steve Kerr, a key contributor to that 72-will Bulls team as a shooting guard who has posted an .853 winning percentage through his first two regular seasons (with a little help from his friends), far and away the best mark in NBA coaching history. From Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle:

Kerr expects to hear from more of the Bulls now that the Warriors have tied the mark. He expects good friend Jud Buechler to call with congratulations and Luc Longley to call with a “snarky joke.”

As for the rest of the team: “Everybody else will just mutter expletives under their breaths.”

A great line, but as it turns out, a losing bet.

There was New York Knicks president of basketball operations Phil Jackson, who coached those Bulls and who has had ... let's call it a slightly odd relationship to these Warriors, but who doffed his cap all the same:

There was former Bulls guard Ron Harper, five months removed from insisting Chicago would sweep these Warriors and win 78 games today, giving credit where it's due:

There was Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen, one week after also breaking out his hypothetical broom and saying he'd have locked up reigning Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry, showing his appreciation for a race well run:

In a season that's seen an awful lot of legends toss salt on the style and accomplishments of today's stars, it's pretty neat to see some of the integral principals on one of the greatest teams of all time offer a head nod and a golf clap to the 2015-16 Warriors. (Even if doing so merely constitutes a willingness to acknowledge and say true things rather than some grand and magnanimous gesture.)

While we did not get an immediate post-game reaction from Bulls leader/greatest of all time/legendarily competitive individual/Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan about having to make some room at the top of the podium for Golden State, we did learn that Klay Thompson isn't the only Warriors to whom MJ gave the green light during All-Star Weekend. From Ethan Sherwood Strauss of

"With Pip coming out and saying what he said, that's cool," Draymond Green said of Scottie Pippen's recent prediction that the '96 Bulls would sweep the 2016 Warriors. "At the end of the day, we respect those guys," Green said. Then, he spoke of meeting Jordan and receiving a message. "Mike told me, at All-Star [Weekend], 'Go win the record. Go get the record. If y'all don't win this record, I'm 'a be hot and I'm blaming you.' We're almost there. We got one more game or he gonna blame me."

Something tells me that Draymond and company didn't need any extra incentive to take care of business against Memphis and finish the 2015-16 season as the only team in NBA history to lose fewer than 10 games. Even still, the prospect of having Michael Jordan get upset at you probably doesn't hurt when it comes to motivation to succeed. Just ask Will Perdue or, even better, the blonde dude in a suit smacking clipboards at the head of the Golden State bench.

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Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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