By Kyle Taylor, sports columnist
Since the beginning of the season, the Golden State Warriors have not only battled against their competitors night in and night out, but have also fought history. The debate as to whether the current Warriors team can beat the Michael Jordan-led Bulls’ regular season record of 72 wins in 82 games has been raging since the start of the campaign. With more than half of the season over, the Warriors are on pace to shatter the record and achieve sports immortality. But even if they overcome that number, the next logical question is the comparison which has been made again… and again… and again. Which team would win in a best-of-seven series?
People have been looking for a clear-cut, finalized and irrefutable argument as to why one team is better than the other. Equipped with simulations, expert analysis and the breakdown
of every position from coaching staff to bench warmers, everyone seems obsessed with finding the definite answer.
The 2015-16 Warriors vs. the ’95-96 Bulls. Who wins? No one will ever actually know. Ever. Some will ask, “But who’s stopping Jordan?” Others will say, “The Bulls’ bench isn’t as good.”
The fact is you can’t compare the two.
There will always be too many “ifs” and things that would tip the scale one way or the other. The game has changed since the ‘90s. Hand-checking is all but forgotten, and the mantra “the best offense is a good defense”
has been replaced with “live or die by the three.” The teams played in completely different eras, and in today’s time, the Chicago lineup would quickly foul out from just playing their old brand of defense. In the ’95-96 Bulls era, the Warriors have a good chance of being overpowered by the bigger and bulkier Jordan-led team.
While it is fun to speculate which team would walk away with the win, you will always be comparing apples to oranges when these old school vs. new school debates arise.
The only constant in sports is that they will forever change and evolve. The sports that we see now are not played the same as they were 20 years ago. Look at the NFL. The uncanny increase in “spectacular” catches over the past few years cannot be attributed solely to an inhuman breed of wide receivers. If you have ever worn gloves made for wide receivers, they feel as if your whole hand is covered in Super Glue. Snagging the ball, even on your fingertips, can give you a great chance at catching the ball.
Looking back at the NBA, Steph Curry is on pace to make more threes in the past two seasons than Larry Bird – who is considered one of the most dominant shooters to ever play – scored in his entire 13-year career.
No one wants their heroes to be only an arm’s reach away. During the course of the 1990s, the Chicago Bulls posted three of the best NBA records of all time. The excitement would have been surreal if you were old enough to watch it all happen, but those times are long gone. As we grow older, that excitement and hype turns into memories, and we refuse to believe that anything can come close to that same feeling. Michael Jordan and the Bulls took the NBA to new heights and changed the perception of what is possible. And here again, with the likes of Kobe, Duncan and Garnett on their way to retirement, a new generation gets to change the definition of impossible again and again. It will always be easy to reminisce and say “the grass was greener back then”, and it will always be difficult to prove or disprove players and teams from different eras. The only thing that everyone can do is appreciate greatness as it arises and resist the urge to cling to past memories so that the sports that we all love can continue to evolve. And we are surely witnessing greatness now in the Steph Curry-led Warriors.