Stephen Curry Got Called Out by George Karl for Saying Warriors Would Beat Michael Jordan, ’96 Bulls: ‘Nobody From Planet Earth Was Beating Michael’
Michael Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to 72 wins during the 1995-96 regular season, setting an NBA record. Many people thought that record would never be broken, but Stephen Curry and the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors had other ideas.
Curry guided the Warriors to 73 wins in 2015-16. However, unlike Jordan’s ’96 Bulls, the ’16 Warriors didn’t win the championship, losing to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in seven games. In the summer of 2016, Golden State signed Kevin Durant, and it won back-to-back titles in 2017 and 2018.
The Warriors were an offensive juggernaut with Curry and Durant, so much so that the former believes he and KD would have beaten Jordan and the ’96 Bulls. However, a legendary NBA head coach vehemently disagrees with Curry.
George Karl to Stephen Curry: Nobody from planet earth was beating Michael Jordan
Curry recently told GQ that the Warriors with Durant would beat the ’96 Bulls in six games. One-time Coach of the Year George Karl, whose Seattle SuperSonics lost to Jordan in the ’96 Finals in six games, responded to Curry on social media.
“Nobody from planet Earth was beating Michael that year,” Karl tweeted.
Jordan won his eighth scoring title, fourth regular-season MVP, fourth championship, and fourth Finals MVP in ’96. The Bulls lost to the Orlando Magic in the ’95 Eastern Conference semifinals, the only playoff series Jordan lost from 1991 to 1998, so MJ and Co. were in attack mode all season in 1995-96. Karl and the SuperSonics pushed the Bulls to six games in the ’96 Finals, but they lost Game 6 in Chicago by 12 points.
The Curry-Durant-led Warriors won 67 games in 2016-17 and 58 2017-18. It’s difficult to compare the Warriors and Bulls since they played in different eras, and the 3-point shot is more prominent now than it was back then. However, Karl isn’t the only NBA legend to pick Jordan and the Bulls.
Scottie Pippen: Bulls would beat Warriors in six
To no one’s surprise, Bulls icon Scottie Pippen is rolling with his crew over the Warriors. The Hall of Famer believes the Dubs’ only advantage is Curry over Ron Harper.
“I’ll stack our roster against the Warriors any day, especially our second three-peat teams,” Pippen wrote in his book, Unguarded. “Let’s go through the matchups: Dennis Rodman or Draymond Green at power forward? Dennis. Luc Longley or Andrew Bogut/JaVale McGee at center? Luc. Michael Jordan or Klay Thompson at shooting guard? Michael. Me or Kevin Durant at small forward? You could go either way. The only matchup clearly in Golden State’s favor would be Steph Curry over Ron Harper at point guard. One more thing: the Warriors had nobody off the bench as skilled as Toni Kukoc. Prediction: Bulls in six. (The series couldn’t go seven. After all, we never extended to a Game 7 in the Finals).”
Jordan and Pippen never lost in the Finals or played in a Game 7. The Bulls went 6-0 in the Finals during the ’90s and three-peated twice. During the 72-win season, Chicago only lost 10 games in the regular season and four games in the ’96 playoffs.
Meanwhile, the Curry-Durant-led Dubs lost only once in the 2017 playoffs. The 2016-17 Warriors had the best net rating in the NBA, dominating teams on both ends of the floor. It’s too bad we can’t see the ’96 Bulls and ’17 Warriors face in a seven-game series. That would be basketball heaven for so many fans.
Curry is certainly entitled to think his Warriors would beat Jordan’s Bulls. However, since it’s hypothetical, we can only go off what has transpired, and that’s why Chicago has the edge.
Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant have lost in Finals; Michael Jordan was perfect
Curry is 3-2 in the Finals, while Durant is 2-2. The former has averaged 26.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 6.2 assists in 28 Finals games, and the latter has averaged 30.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 4.5 assists in 15 games.
Now let’s take a look at Jordan. His Airness went 6-0 in the Finals while averaging 33.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 6.0 assists. He also had Pippen, one of the best two-way players ever, filing up the stat sheet with averages of 19.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 5.9 assists.
Again, it’s nearly impossible to predict who would win a seven-game series, but since Jordan and Pippen never lost in the Finals, it’s logical to lean the Bulls’ way.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference