NBA legend Michael Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to the first seed in the eastern conference despite Scottie Pippen missing 38 games during the 1997-98 season.
Perhaps one of the greatest to ever play the sport, Michael Jordan was a one man wrecking crew. The Bulls legend never lost in an NBA Finals without letting any contest go till a Game Seven. MJ 3-peated twice during his career from 1991-93 and 1996-98.
Jordan had several accolades under his belt, including multiple championships, Finals MVPs, and scoring titles. One such great accomplishment was MJ leading the Bulls to a 62-wins during the 1997-98 season, despite Scottie Pippen missing 38 games.
The 1997-98 season was the last chapter in the Bulls dynasty. GM Jerry Krause had made his intentions clear of not having head coach Phil Jackson the following year, something MJ and the Bulls resented. On the other hand, All-Star Scottie Pippen had contract issues with the organization.
Despite being surrounded by major controversies, the Bulls would win their 6th NBA title in the 1997-98 season, marking the end of an era.
Michael Jordan led the Bulls to a 62 wins season despite Scottie Pippen missing 38 games.
It was no secret that Bulls GM Jerry Krause wanted to get rid of head coach Phil Jackson. Krause went one step ahead when he publicly stated that the 1997-98 season would be Jackson’s last stint with the Bulls franchise.
MJ was highly against Krause’s decision to replace Jackson, stating that he would not play under any other coach except Jackson. At the time, the organization was having its tussles with Scottie Pippen as well. The 7x All-Star had been on a long-term low paying contract and wanted to renegotiate.
Pippen had a sever-year $18M deal with the Bulls, which many felt was less for the stature of a player that Pippen was. Thus the Hall of Famer decided to prove a point, pulling off one of the most unsportsmen like stunts.
The 6x champion would intentionally delay the surgery of a nagging injury, missing the first few months of the season. MJ resented Pippen’s way of handling the entire situation.
“He could’ve gotten surgery done as soon as the season was over… Now I got to start the season knowing Scottie wasn’t going to be around, but we have to find a way to win.”
Despite not having Pippen by his side initially into the season, Jordan would keep the Bulls afloat. His Airness averaged 28.7 PPG, 6.3 RPG, and 1.7 SPG on 44.8% shooting from the field in the 38 games that Pippen didn’t play.
The 1997-98 season was a roller-coaster ride for the Bulls fans. However, the end result had the team winning their 6th championship and MJ his 6th Finals MVP.