During an interview with Gary Payton last spring, Scottie Pippen was asked for his thoughts on the Bulls’ historic 72-10 season back in 1996. He responded by saying that, while the 72-10 record was nice, it wouldn’t have meant much to him and his teammates if the Bulls hadn’t won the title that year. Or in his words: "72 and 10 don’t mean a thing without the ring." It was a motto the Bulls used throughout the 1995-96 season.
And it sounds like Michael Jordan still subscribes to that theory. Warriors owner Joe Lacob appeared on "The Afternoon Delight" on 95.7 The Game in San Francisco on Tuesday afternoon, and he talked about a conversation he had with MJ recently. The two spoke during a dinner in New York City, and during their discussion, MJ brought up the fact that the Warriors’ 73-9 season in 2016 doesn’t mean anything since Golden State ended up losing to the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.
"On the collective bargaining agreement, I was on the labor committee and I was in New York having a bunch of dinners with Michael Jordan and other owners," Lacob said. "There were six of us. Actually, Dan was one of them, Dan Gilbert. Anyway, Michael Jordan, people are drinking and having a good time and all that, but there was a moment where he said, you know, '73 don’t mean shit.' He did it, Michael Jordan did that. And I looked right at him, and I just decided not to make a big deal of it. I said, you know, you’re right, we didn’t win it, we had to get better."
While Lacob agreed with MJ to a certain degree—he definitely wanted to fire back with a shot at MJ's Hornets, didn't he?—he also spoke about how he’ll remember the Warriors' 2015-16 season fondly in spite of the way it ended. He had a 73-9 banner put up in the Warriors’ practice facility, and he also wears a hat with the number 73 on it when he golfs.
"I have to be honest: It’s painful more to the players, I don’t really think of it that way," he said, while touching on how many people see the season as a lost cause due to the Finals loss. "I think that was one of the greatest years you could ever have in any sport. So many things went right. If you remember, all of the games that went our way. I mean, just amazing. It was an unbelievable year. When I golf, I wear a hat that says 73 on it. It’s sort of my little remembrance of it. Because I know people all say, 'Oh, well, you didn’t win the championship'—all the talking heads. You know what? We didn’t. But it was still an incredible year, and I will never forget it. And we should be very proud of it. And I think, as time goes by, there will be more thinking about it. Because I don’t think it’s gonna be replicated very easily."
Lacob is right. There probably won’t be another NBA team that goes 73-9 again anytime soon, if ever. But for now, it’s still too early for most Warriors players and fans to celebrate a season that ended in heartbreak. And MJ just did what he could to twist the knife a little deeper.