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1997–98 NBA season

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
LeagueNational Basketball Association
DurationOctober 31, 1997 – April 19, 1998
April 23 – May 31, 1998 (Playoffs)
June 3 – 14, 1998 (Finals)
Number of teams29
TV partner(s)NBC, TBS, TNT
Top draft pickTim Duncan
Picked bySan Antonio Spurs
Regular season
Top seedUtah Jazz
Season MVPMichael Jordan (Chicago)
Top scorerMichael Jordan (Chicago)
Eastern championsChicago Bulls
  Eastern runners-upIndiana Pacers
Western championsUtah Jazz
  Western runners-upLos Angeles Lakers
ChampionsChicago Bulls
  Runners-upUtah Jazz
Finals MVPMichael Jordan (Chicago)

Notable occurrences

Coaching changes
Team1996–97 coach1997–98 coach
Boston CelticsM. L. CarrRick Pitino
Denver NuggetsDick MottaBill Hanzlik
Golden State WarriorsRick AdelmanP. J. Carlesimo
Indiana PacersLarry BrownLarry Bird
Orlando MagicRichie AdubatoChuck Daly
Philadelphia 76ersJohnny DavisLarry Brown
Portland Trail BlazersP. J. CarlesimoMike Dunleavy Sr.
Vancouver GrizzliesStu JacksonBrian Hill
TeamOutgoing coachIncoming coach
Dallas MavericksJim CleamonsDon Nelson
Detroit PistonsDoug CollinsAlvin Gentry
Toronto RaptorsDarrell WalkerButch 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 changes

  • 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).

Final standings

By division

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.

First RoundConference SemifinalsConference FinalsNBA Finals
E8New Jersey0
Eastern Conference
E7New York1
E7New York3
W5San Antonio1
W5San Antonio3
Western Conference
W3LA Lakers0
W3LA Lakers3
W3LA Lakers4
  • Division winner Bold Series winner Italic Team with home-court advantage

Statistics leaders

Points per gameMichael JordanChicago Bulls28.7
Rebounds per gameDennis RodmanChicago Bulls15.0
Assists per gameRod StricklandWashington Wizards10.5
Steals per gameMookie BlaylockAtlanta Hawks2.61
Blocks per gameMarcus CambyToronto Raptors3.65
FG%Shaquille O'NealLos Angeles Lakers.584
FT%Chris MullinIndiana Pacers.939
3FG%Dale EllisSeattle SuperSonics.464

NBA awards

Yearly awards

  • 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: F – Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs F – Karl Malone, Utah Jazz C – Shaquille O'Neal, Los Angeles Lakers G – Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls G – Gary Payton, Seattle SuperSonics

  • All-NBA Second Team: F – Vin Baker, Seattle SuperSonics F – Grant Hill, Detroit Pistons C – David Robinson, San Antonio Spurs G – Tim Hardaway, Miami Heat G – Rod Strickland, Washington Wizards

  • All-NBA Third Team: F – Scottie Pippen, Chicago Bulls F – Glen Rice, Charlotte Hornets C – Dikembe Mutombo, Atlanta Hawks G – Mitch Richmond, Sacramento Kings G – Reggie Miller, Indiana Pacers

  • NBA All-Defensive First Team: F – Scottie Pippen, Chicago Bulls F – Karl Malone, Utah Jazz C – Dikembe Mutombo, Atlanta Hawks G – Gary Payton, Seattle SuperSonics G – Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls

  • NBA All-Defensive Second Team: F – Charles Oakley, New York Knicks F – Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs C – David Robinson, San Antonio Spurs G – Eddie Jones, Los Angeles Lakers G – Mookie Blaylock, Atlanta Hawks

  • All-NBA Rookie First Team: Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs Keith Van Horn, New Jersey Nets Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Cleveland Cavaliers Ron Mercer, Boston Celtics Brevin Knight, Cleveland Cavaliers

  • All-NBA Rookie Second Team: Maurice Taylor, Los Angeles Clippers Cedric Henderson, Cleveland Cavaliers Tim Thomas, Philadelphia 76ers Bobby Jackson, Denver Nuggets Derek Anderson, Cleveland Cavaliers

*Note: All information on this page were obtained on the History section on NBA.com [1] *

Player of the week

The following players were named NBA Player of the Week.

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

Player of the month

The following players were named NBA Player of the Month.

NovemberEddie Jones (Los Angeles Lakers)
DecemberMichael Jordan (Chicago Bulls)
JanuaryShaquille O'Neal (Los Angeles Lakers)
FebruaryKarl Malone (Utah Jazz)
MarchMichael Jordan (Chicago Bulls)
AprilShaquille O'Neal (Los Angeles Lakers)

Rookie of the month

The following players were named NBA Rookie of the Month.

NovemberTim Duncan (San Antonio Spurs)
DecemberTim Duncan (San Antonio Spurs)
JanuaryTim Duncan (San Antonio Spurs)
FebruaryTim Duncan (San Antonio Spurs)
MarchTim Duncan (San Antonio Spurs)
AprilTim Duncan (San Antonio Spurs)

Coach of the month

The following coaches were named NBA Coach of the Month.

NovemberLenny Wilkens (Atlanta Hawks)
DecemberGeorge Karl (Seattle SuperSonics)
JanuaryLarry Bird (Indiana Pacers)
FebruaryPat Riley (Miami Heat)
MarchJerry Sloan (Utah Jazz)
AprilDel Harris (Los Angeles Lakers)


Citation Linkwww.nba.comNBA.com
Sep 19, 2019, 7:21 PM
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Sep 19, 2019, 7:21 PM