The 1990-91 season saw Michael Jordan rise to the top of the NBA. He led the Chicago Bulls to their first championship over the Los Angeles Lakers in five games, capping off an incredible campaign that saw him win the regular-season MVP and the Finals MVP Award.
After struggling to get past the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference, the Bulls swept them in the 1991 conference finals and carried that momentum over to the NBA Finals, where they handed Magic Johnson his fourth loss in the Finals. Basketball fans remember the heartwarming scene in the Bulls locker room after they won the title, as Jordan hugged the Larry O’Brien trophy with his dad right by his side.
However, many people forget that legendary sportscaster Bob Costas embarrassed himself in the postgame locker room next to Jordan and his wife.
Michael Jordan and the Bulls won four straight games after losing Game 1 of the ’91 Finals
The 1991 Finals didn’t start off well for the Bulls. They lost Game 1 to the Lakers by a final score of 93-91 at the Chicago Stadium, and Jordan was the only player who played well. He scored 36 points in his first Finals game, while the rest of his teammates combined for 55.
After the Bulls lost Game 1, most of the pundits predicted the Lakers would easily win the series since they were more experienced. However, Jordan and Co. looked forward to Game 2 since they only lost Game 1 by two points despite playing poorly. Head coach Phil Jackson made a defensive change, putting Scottie Pippen on Johnson instead of Jordan. The Bulls forward held the Lakers guard to 4-of-13 shooting in Game 2, and Chicago won by 21 points to even the series.
Jordan and the Bulls never looked back after winning Game 2. They won Game 3 by eight points, Game 4 by 15, and Game 5 by seven to capture the NBA title. MJ averaged 31.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 11.4 assists in the series and won his first of six Finals MVPs. He was very emotional in the postgame locker room after winning his first ring since it took him seven long years to become a champion.
The image of Jordan hugging the Larry O’Brien trophy while his dad holds him is a classic sports moment. Everyone remembers it, especially Costas, who is lucky that it happened because he almost stole the show in the postgame locker room by humiliating himself on live TV.
Bob Costas called Michael Jordan’s wife his mom
While trying to interview Jordan in the Bulls locker room, Costas called the NBA superstar’s wife his mom. He then blamed the mistake on all the champagne he had in his eyes from the celebration.
“Here we are with Michael, surrounded by his mom and his dad,” Costas said. “The wife…that wasn’t fair, but I’m covered with champagne I can hardly see.”
This isn’t one of Costas’ best moments from his legendary reporting career. The fact that it took place in Jordan’s presence makes it even funnier since the two spent a lot of time around each other in the ’90s. Costas was one of NBC’s lead NBA reporters during the Bulls’ dynasty.
Jordan clearly didn’t hold any animosity toward Costas since it was an honest mistake. The latter was interviewed for the Last Dance docuseries since he was around the Bulls and His Airness so much. 30 years after the blunder took place, it’s entertaining to look back at Costas confusing Jordan’s wife for his mom. It just goes to show that even the best make mistakes.
Bob Costas believes MJ is the greatest ever
In May 2020, Costas told Scott Van Pelt that there’s no contesting Jordan is the greatest ever. He was fortunate to be the play-by-play caller during Game 6 of the ’98 Finals between the Bulls and Utah Jazz when Jordan hit the game-winning shot over Bryon Russell. It was MJ’s final shot with Chicago.
Jordan went 6-0 in the Finals with the Bulls and won all six Finals MVPs. He prevented three Hall of Famers — Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, and John Stockton — from winning championships and never played in a Game 7 in the Finals. Costas is certainly lucky he got to cover Jordan and be around greatness every day.
We may never see another NBA team win six championships in an eight-year span. More importantly, we will likely never witness a player go undefeated in the Finals.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.