There is no questioning the dominance of Michael Jordan and his Chicago Bulls of the 90s. They ran basketball for an entire decade and went down in history as the greatest team ever assembled.
But when talking about their competition and the level of difficulty that faced them during their second three-peat, there are some that believe it was watered down to the point that it may have played a part in Jordan’s decision to return in the first place.
“By the time we go to the mid-90s, they had added four expansion teams over the course of that decade. They were up to 29 teams and, honestly, I think that was one of the reasons Jordan came back. And if you read the Jordan books, he started looking at the league, how diluted it was, thinking to himself ‘wow, I could come back and steal a couple more titles.’ He told BJ Armstrong this. So I think it was an easier run, no question, the second time.”
“I think the league was definitely watered down.”
— First Take (@FirstTake) May 15, 2020
Simmons used the Jazz as an example. After years of falling short of expectations, they suddenly make the Finals in back-to-back years in ’97 and ’98. In Simmons’ view, that’s evidence that the path to the Finals was easier than it had been in years’ past.
It is true that the league added expansion teams, so (in a way) it’s not wrong to say it was watered down a bit.
But does it take away anything from MJ’s second three-peat? That’s for you to decide.