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1997-98 NBA season

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Title: 1997-98 NBA season  
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Subject: Marv Albert, Kevin Johnson, David Robinson (basketball), B. J. Armstrong, Tracy McGrady, Isiah Thomas, Bill Cartwright, Jerry Stackhouse, Arvydas Sabonis, Penny Hardaway
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1997-98 NBA season

1997–98 NBA season
League National Basketball Association
Sport Basketball
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
Regular season
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 champions Chicago Bulls
  Runners-up Utah Jazz
Finals MVP Michael Jordan (Chicago)
NBA seasons

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. This would also be in many people's eyes the end of a golden era of basketball with the departure of Michael Jordan and the end of the dynasty for the Chicago Bulls before Michael Jordan returned in 2001 for the Washington Wizards.

Notable occurrences

Coaching changes
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" are renamed as the "Washington Wizards." They begin the season at US Airways Arena, then in December, they play their first game at the MCI Center (now Verizon Center) 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 and the Georgia Dome.
  • Golden State Warriors forward 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 offseason that followed.
  • Michael Jordan passes 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 with 62-20. Fittingly, they met each other in the NBA Finals. The Jazz had home-court advantage by virtue of the head-to-head matchup (the Jazz won the season series 2-0).
  • Two new records are 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 Chicago Bulls' rout of the Utah Jazz.
  • The San Antonio Spurs set a league record for the biggest single-season turnaround (36 games), breaking the record set in the 1989-90 NBA season by the Spurs; later broken by the 2007-08 Boston Celtics.
  • Following head coach Phil Jackson's decision to not return to the Bulls, Michael Jordan announces 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 resigned either leading to the end of an era for the Chicago Bulls and the NBA.
  • Houston Rockets guard Clyde Drexler retired after 15 seasons, 12 of which he spent with the Portland Trail Blazers, where he led the team to two NBA Finals in 1990 and 1992. He would win his only NBA championship in 1995 while playing for the Rockets.
  • The restricted area arc was allowed.
  • On February 27, the Indiana Pacers handily 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 either outfitted by Starter Clothing Line, Puma, Reebok or Champion.
  • The Denver Nuggets lost 71 games, joining the 1973 Philadelphia 76ers, 1987 Los Angeles Clippers, and 1993 Dallas Mavericks (later joined by the 2010 New Jersey Nets) as the only teams to lose 70 games in a season. The Nuggets would also equal the longest single-season losing streak with 23 consecutive losses, sharing the mark with the 1995-96 Vancouver Grizzlies.
  • All the Western Conference teams that missed the playoffs had less than 30 wins. Four of them won less than 20 games. The ninth seed Sacramento Kings finished the season with a low 27-55 record, winning just one of their last 20 games, 14 games behind the eight seed Houston Rockets (41-41). The tenth seed Dallas Mavericks ended up with a low 20-62 record.

Final standings

By division

Central Division W L PCT GB Home Road Div
y-Chicago Bulls 62 20 .756 37–4 25–16 21–7
x-Indiana Pacers 58 24 .707 4 32–9 26–15 19–9
x-Charlotte Hornets 51 31 .622 11 32–9 19–22 16–12
x-Atlanta Hawks 50 32 .610 12 29–12 21–20 19–9
x-Cleveland Cavaliers 47 35 .573 15 27–14 20–21 14–14
Detroit Pistons 37 45 .451 25 25–16 12–29 12–16
Milwaukee Bucks 36 46 .439 26 21–20 15–26 9–19
Toronto Raptors 16 66 .195 46 9–32 7–34 2–26

Midwest Division W L PCT GB Home Road Div
y-Utah Jazz 62 20 .756 36–5 26–15 22–2
x-San Antonio Spurs 56 26 .683 6 31–10 25–16 18–6
x-Minnesota Timberwolves 45 37 .549 17 26–15 19–22 14–10
x-Houston Rockets 41 41 .500 21 24–17 17–24 14–10
Dallas Mavericks 20 62 .244 42 13–28 7–34 9–15
Vancouver Grizzlies 19 63 .232 43 14–27 5–36 4–20
Denver Nuggets 11 71 .134 51 9–32 2–39 3–21

By conference


  • 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.

Main article: 1998 NBA Playoffs
  First Round Conference Semifinals Conference Finals NBA Finals
1  Utah 3  
8  Houston 2  
  1  Utah 4  
  5  San Antonio 1  
4  Phoenix 1
5  San Antonio 3  
  1  Utah 4  
Western Conference
  3  L.A. Lakers 0  
3  L.A. Lakers 3  
6  Portland 1  
  3  L.A. Lakers 4
  2  Seattle 1  
2  Seattle 3
7  Minnesota 2  
  W1  Utah 2
  E1  Chicago 4
1  Chicago 3  
8  New Jersey 0  
  1  Chicago 4
  4  Charlotte 1  
4  Charlotte 3
5  Atlanta 1  
  1  Chicago 4
Eastern Conference
  3  Indiana 3  
3  Indiana 3  
6  Cleveland 1  
  3  Indiana 4
  7  New York 1  
2  Miami 2
7  New York 3  

Statistics leaders

Category Player Team Stat
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 2.6
Blocks per game Marcus Camby Toronto Raptors 3.7
FG% Shaquille O'Neal Los Angeles Lakers 58.4
FT% Chris Mullin Indiana Pacers 93.9
3FG% Dale Ellis Seattle SuperSonics 46.4

NBA awards

Yearly awards

Note: All information on this page were obtained on the History section on

Player of the week

The following players were named NBA Player of the Week.

Week Player
Oct. 31 – Nov. 8 Dikembe Mutombo (Atlanta Hawks)
Nov. 9 – Nov. 15 Shaquille O'Neal (Los Angeles Lakers)
Nov. 16 – Nov. 22 Michael Jordan (Chicago Bulls)
Nov. 23 – Nov. 29 Karl Malone (Utah Jazz)
Nov. 30 – Dec. 6 Wesley Person (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Dec. 7 – Dec. 13 Glen Rice (Charlotte Hornets)
Dec. 14 – Dec. 20 Michael Jordan (Chicago Bulls)
Dec. 21 – Dec. 27 David Robinson (San Antonio Spurs)
Dec. 28 – Jan. 3 Rik Smits (Indiana Pacers)
Jan. 4 – Jan. 10 Steve Smith (Atlanta Hawks)
Jan. 11 – Jan. 17 Allen Iverson (Philadelphia 76ers)
Jan. 18 – Jan. 24 Jayson Williams (New Jersey Nets)
Jan. 25 – Jan. 31 David Robinson (San Antonio Spurs)
Feb. 10 – Feb. 14 Karl Malone (Utah Jazz)
Feb. 15 – Feb. 21 Nick Anderson (Orlando Magic)
Feb. 22 – Feb. 28 Tim Duncan (San Antonio Spurs)
Mar. 1 – Mar. 7 Karl Malone (Utah Jazz)
Mar. 8 – Mar. 14 Jason Kidd (Phoenix Suns)
Mar. 15 – Mar. 21 Shaquille O'Neal (Los Angeles Lakers)
Mar. 22 – Mar. 28 Alonzo Mourning (Miami Heat)
Mar. 29 – Apr. 4 Michael Jordan (Chicago Bulls)
Apr. 5 – Apr. 11 Sam Cassell (New Jersey Nets)
Apr. 12 – Apr. 18 Jason Kidd (Phoenix Suns)

Player of the month

The following players were named NBA Player of the Month.

Month Player
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 month

The following players were named NBA Rookie of the Month.

Month Rookie
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 month

The following coaches were named NBA Coach of the Month.

Month Coach
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)

See also

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