1997–98 NBA season
The 1997–98 NBA season was the 52nd season of the National Basketball Association. The season ended with the Chicago Bulls winning their third straight championship and sixth in the last eight years, beating the Utah Jazz 4 games to 2 in the 1998 NBA Finals. It also marked the departure of Michael Jordan and the end of the dynasty for the Chicago Bulls before Jordan returned in 2001 for the Washington Wizards. This was the last time that both NBA and NHL regular seasons ended on the same day.
|1997–98 NBA season|
|League||National Basketball Association|
|Duration||October 31, 1997 – April 19, 1998 |
April 23 – May 31, 1998 (Playoffs)
June 3 – 14, 1998 (Finals)
|Number of teams||29|
|TV partner(s)||NBC, TBS, TNT|
|Top draft pick||Tim Duncan|
|Picked by||San Antonio Spurs|
|Top seed||Utah Jazz|
|Season MVP||Michael Jordan (Chicago)|
|Top scorer||Michael Jordan (Chicago)|
|Eastern champions||Chicago Bulls|
|Eastern runners-up||Indiana Pacers|
|Western champions||Utah Jazz|
|Western runners-up||Los Angeles Lakers|
|Finals MVP||Michael Jordan (Chicago)|
|Team||1996–97 coach||1997–98 coach|
|Boston Celtics||M. L. Carr||Rick Pitino|
|Denver Nuggets||Dick Motta||Bill Hanzlik|
|Golden State Warriors||Rick Adelman||P. J. Carlesimo|
|Indiana Pacers||Larry Brown||Larry Bird|
|Orlando Magic||Richie Adubato||Chuck Daly|
|Philadelphia 76ers||Johnny Davis||Larry Brown|
|Portland Trail Blazers||P. J. Carlesimo||Mike Dunleavy Sr.|
|Vancouver Grizzlies||Stu Jackson||Brian Hill|
|Team||Outgoing coach||Incoming coach|
|Dallas Mavericks||Jim Cleamons||Don Nelson|
|Detroit Pistons||Doug Collins||Alvin Gentry|
|Toronto Raptors||Darrell Walker||Butch Carter|
- The 1998 NBA All-Star Game was played at Madison Square Garden. However, the Slam Dunk Contest was not held, due to the risk of player injuries, lack of new dunking tricks and lack of big-name players in recent competitions. Instead, a 2Ball competition was held. Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant became the youngest All-Star starter at age 19. Michael Jordan won his third All-Star MVP.
- The Washington Bullets were renamed the "Wizards". They began the season at US Airways Arena, then in December, they played their first game at the MCI Center (now Capital One Arena) during this season.
- Due to the demolition of The Omni and the construction of the new Philips Arena, the Atlanta Hawks split home games between Georgia Tech's Alexander Coliseum (Their original home where they played for four seasons when they moved to Atlanta in 1968.) and the Georgia Dome.
- Golden State Warriors swingman Latrell Sprewell made headlines by choking Warriors head coach P. J. Carlesimo during practice on December 1, 1997. Sprewell was ultimately suspended for 68 games, at the time the longest in NBA history. Sprewell would be traded to the New York Knicks in the off-season that followed.
- Michael Jordan passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the all-time leader in points scored in the NBA Playoffs.
- The Utah Jazz and the Chicago Bulls shared the league's best record at 62–20, and met each other in the NBA Finals. The Jazz had home-court advantage by virtue of the head-to-head match-up (the Jazz won the season series 2–0).
- Two new records were set in Game 3 of the NBA Finals: biggest margin of victory (42 points) and fewest points scored in an NBA Finals game (54) in the Bulls' rout of the Jazz.
- The San Antonio Spurs set a league record for the biggest single-season turnaround (36 wins), breaking their own record set in the 1989–90 NBA season; it was later broken by the 2007–08 Boston Celtics.
- Following head coach Phil Jackson's decision to not return to the Bulls, Michael Jordan announced his second retirement from the NBA during the following offseason. This was Jordan's final season with the Chicago Bulls. Scottie Pippen was traded for Roy Rogers (who was released in February 1999) and a conditional second-round draft pick from the Houston Rockets. Dennis Rodman was not re-signed either, leading to the end of an era for the Bulls and the NBA.
- Houston Rockets guard Clyde Drexler retired after fifteen seasons, twelve of which he spent with the Portland Trail Blazers, where he led the team to two NBA Finals, in 1990 and 1992. He won his only NBA championship in 1995 while playing for the Rockets.
- Dallas Mavericks forward A.C. Green breaks the NBA's Iron Man Streak of most consecutive games played, surpassing Randy Smith who played 906 consecutive games.
- The restricted area arc was allowed.
- On February 27, the Indiana Pacers defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 124–59, marking the first time in NBA history that one team scored more than twice as many points as its opponent.
- Nike became the official outfitter for select NBA teams (Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors and Washington Wizards), which ran for seven years. Other NBA teams were outfitted by Starter Clothing Line, Puma, Reebok or Champion.
- The Denver Nuggets lost 71 games, joining the 1972–73 Philadelphia 76ers, 1986–87 Los Angeles Clippers, and 1992–93 Dallas Mavericks (plus subsequently the 2009–10 Nets and 2015–16 76ers) as the only teams to lose 70 games in a season. The Nuggets also equaled the longest single-season losing streak with 23 consecutive losses, sharing the mark with the 1995–96 Vancouver Grizzlies.
- All the Western Conference teams who missed the playoffs had 55 or more losses. Four of them lost more than 62 games. The ninth-placed Sacramento Kings finished the season with a 27–55 record, losing nineteen of their last twenty games. The Kings finished fourteen games behind the #8 seeded Houston Rockets at 41–41, whilst the tenth-placed Dallas Mavericks ended with a 20–62 record. All the Eastern Conference teams who missed the playoffs had 31 or more wins except for the Toronto Raptors, who finished with a 16–66 record.
- Violet Palmer and Dee Kantner became the first two female officials in NBA history (as well as any of the four major professional sports leagues). Kantner would be fired following the 2001–02 season, while Palmer would go on to have long 19-year career before retiring after the 2015–16 season.
1997–98 NBA changesEdit
- The Atlanta Hawks split their home games playing in the Alexander Memorial Coliseum and the Georgia Dome, due to the demolition of The Omni.
- The Charlotte Hornets changed their uniforms adding teal (home), and purple (road) to the side of their jerseys.
- The Chicago Bulls removed the pinstripes from their alternate uniforms.
- The Cleveland Cavaliers slightly changed their uniforms.
- The Golden State Warriors changed their logo and uniforms, changing their colors to navy, orange and gold.
- The Indiana Pacers changed their uniforms adding pinstripes to their jerseys.
- The New Jersey Nets changed their logo and uniforms, replacing blue with navy to go with red in their color scheme.
- The New York Knicks changed their home uniforms, adding blue to the side of their jerseys. Meanwhile, the alternate uniforms they wore for the past two seasons became their primary road jersey.
- The Philadelphia 76ers changed their logo and uniforms, replacing their red and blue colors with black and gold.
- The Vancouver Grizzlies added new black alternate uniforms.
- The Washington Bullets changed their name to the Washington Wizards, and got a new logo and new uniforms. They scrap the Red, White & Blue colors to Blue, old gold and black. Also in December that season, they moved into their new home arena called the MCI Center (later the Verizon Center, now Capital One Arena).
- z – Clinched home court advantage for the entire playoffs
- c – Clinched home court advantage for the conference playoffs
- y – Clinched division title
- x – Clinched playoff spot
Teams in bold advanced to the next round. The numbers to the left of each team indicate the team's seeding in its conference, and the numbers to the right indicate the number of games the team won in that round. The division champions are marked by an asterisk. Home court advantage does not necessarily belong to the higher-seeded team, but instead the team with the better regular season record; teams enjoying the home advantage are shown in italics.
|First Round||Conference Semifinals||Conference Finals||NBA Finals|
* Division winner
Bold Series winner
Italic Team with home-court advantage
|Points per game||Michael Jordan||Chicago Bulls||28.7|
|Rebounds per game||Dennis Rodman||Chicago Bulls||15.0|
|Assists per game||Rod Strickland||Washington Wizards||10.5|
|Steals per game||Mookie Blaylock||Atlanta Hawks||2.61|
|Blocks per game||Marcus Camby||Toronto Raptors||3.65|
|FG%||Shaquille O'Neal||Los Angeles Lakers||.584|
|FT%||Chris Mullin||Indiana Pacers||.939|
|3FG%||Dale Ellis||Seattle SuperSonics||.464|
- Most Valuable Player: Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls
- Rookie of the Year: Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs
- Defensive Player of the Year: Dikembe Mutombo, Atlanta Hawks
- Sixth Man of the Year: Danny Manning, Phoenix Suns
- Most Improved Player: Alan Henderson, Atlanta Hawks
- Coach of the Year: Larry Bird, Indiana Pacers
- All-NBA First Team:
- All-NBA Second Team:
- All-NBA Third Team:
- NBA All-Defensive First Team:
- NBA All-Defensive Second Team:
- All-NBA Rookie First Team:
- All-NBA Rookie Second Team:
Note: All information on this page were obtained on the History section on NBA.com
Player of the weekEdit
The following players were named NBA Player of the Week.
Player of the monthEdit
The following players were named NBA Player of the Month.
|November||Eddie Jones (Los Angeles Lakers)|
|December||Michael Jordan (Chicago Bulls)|
|January||Shaquille O'Neal (Los Angeles Lakers)|
|February||Karl Malone (Utah Jazz)|
|March||Michael Jordan (Chicago Bulls)|
|April||Shaquille O'Neal (Los Angeles Lakers)|
Rookie of the monthEdit
The following players were named NBA Rookie of the Month.
|November||Tim Duncan (San Antonio Spurs)|
|December||Tim Duncan (San Antonio Spurs)|
|January||Tim Duncan (San Antonio Spurs)|
|February||Tim Duncan (San Antonio Spurs)|
|March||Tim Duncan (San Antonio Spurs)|
|April||Tim Duncan (San Antonio Spurs)|
Coach of the monthEdit
The following coaches were named NBA Coach of the Month.
|November||Lenny Wilkens (Atlanta Hawks)|
|December||George Karl (Seattle SuperSonics)|
|January||Larry Bird (Indiana Pacers)|
|February||Pat Riley (Miami Heat)|
|March||Jerry Sloan (Utah Jazz)|
|April||Del Harris (Los Angeles Lakers)|