Top 10 NBA Teams of the 90s
The 10 Best NBA Teams from the 90s
It's crazy to think that the 1990s concluded over 14 years ago. It's a decade that was arguably the greatest in NBA history. After Magic Johnson and Larry Bird helped to really put the NBA on the map with their legendary play in the 1980s, a new star was emerging when the calendars rolled over to 1990. That rising star turned out to be the greatest of all time - Michael Jordan.
Let's be clear, the NBA would not be where it is today with the Magics, Birds and Dr. Js of the world. Those guys made people care about professional basketball in way that they never had before. But what MJ did for the game in the 1990s, will likely never be duplicated again in sports. Jordan became a global icon and had people around the world talking hoops and wanting to be like him.
Then the summer of 1992 rolled around. The basketball movement was already well underway at that point, but the Dream Team took it to a whole new level. The impact that the Dream Team had on other countries can be seen to this day. The team of 11 future hall-of-famers got the world's attention at the Barcelona games that summer and inspired many kids across the globe to pick up a basketball.
But all of those Dream Team players of course came from regular NBA teams. So who were the best teams of the 1990s? There are certainly many squads to choose from. I think we all know who number one is, but let's take a look at the top 10 and a few more:
Honorable Mention - Miami Heat
When Pat Riley took his coaching talents to South Beach in 1995, everything changed for the Heat. They quickly became a top tier team in the East, making four straight playoff appearances to round out the decade.
Honorable Mention - Indiana Pacers
The Pacers were really good in the 1990s. With Reggie Miller, Rik Smits and Davis 'brothers', Indy was not a team you wanted to face in the playoffs. Just ask Spike Lee.
10. Seattle SuperSonics
Who didn't love the Sonics in the 90s? Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp, Detlef Schrempf - Seattle could ball. Unfortunately, they could never get to the mountain top.
9. Phoenix Suns
The Suns were loaded with talent in the early 90s, but even Charles Barkley's best season couldn't propel them to an NBA title in 1993.
8. Portland Trail Blazers
The Trail Blazers made two trips to the Finals in the 90s. But much to the dismay of Portland fans, they could never finish the job.
7. New York Knicks
So close, but yet so far. That's how Knicks fans feel about the 90s. New York made the Finals on two occasions, but just couldn't close the deal. You have to feel for Patrick Ewing.
6. Orlando Magic
The Magic were the next big thing in the mid-90s. Then after a trip to the Finals in 1995 and Eastern Conference Finals in 1996, everything came unraveled. Orlando didn't want to pay Shaq and Penny Hardaway's career was derailed by injuries.
5. Utah Jazz
Even one of the best duos in NBA history couldn't propel the Jazz to the mountain top. It took them nearly the whole decade to reach the Finals, and then Utah fans had their hearts broken with back-to-back Finals losses in 97 and 98.
4. Detroit Pistons
The Pistons are the fourth best team of the 90s, purely by default. The decade started out great for Detroit, as the Pistons won the NBA title in 1990. But then everything started to roll down hill. But because they were one of four teams to win a title in the decade, they have to be listed fourth.
3. San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs were close to championship-caliber many seasons in the 90s. But finally as the decade was about to come to a close, David Robinson and company finally got the job done in the 1999 Finals. This momentum would propel the Spurs to lots more success in the 2000s.
2. Houston Rockets
The Rockets were simply awesome in the mid 90s. Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler reunited in Houston for back-to-back titles in 94 and 95. If only we could have seen them face off in the Finals with this next team...
1. Chicago Bulls
There's no debate here. The Chicago Bulls are the team of the 1990s. We're talking about a team that three-peated, twice. Two three-peats in one decade. Simply remarkable. You can thank hall-of-famers Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen for that. Even though the cast of role players around them changed drastically over the two championship runs, they were able to climb the mountain year after year.
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