It had been three years since Michael Jordan and his Bulls won an NBA title. During that moment MJ was holding the championship trophy as his father James was sitting right by his side. It was one of the lasting images of the 1993 NBA Finals. Enter June 16, 1996 (Father's Day), Game 6 of the NBA Finals as Chicago hosted the Seattle Supersonics in what should have been already wrapped up considering a 3-0 Bulls lead in the series.
Michael assured that this night would be the night as he put on a spectacular effort of 22 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and two steals in 43 minutes. He would lead the Bulls to a 87-75 victory that clinched a fourth NBA title in six years, however he would be succumbed to unbridled emotion. He laid on the United Center floor, with the basketball nestled in his arms as he curled up at the top of the key and wept unabashedly. He would lay for several seconds as teammates danced around him in celebration.
Then suddenly he jumped up, sprinted off the floor and into the Chicago locker room, where he continued to sob. The previous three years had been difficult for Jordan – the 1993 slaying of his father, his abrupt retirement from basketball, a failed attempt at a professional baseball career and a return to basketball which ended in defeat a season before.
During postgame celebrations, Jordan said he dedicated the season and the championship to the memory of his deceased father. He said the Father's Day holiday made it difficult for him to concentrate on Game 6.
"This is probably the hardest time for me to play the game of basketball," Jordan said. "I had a lot of things on my heart, on my mind.
"I just had a lot to think about and maybe my mind wasn't geared to where it was. But I think deep down inside it was geared to what was most important to me, which was my family and my father not being here to see this."
Jordan would win the Finals MVP and became the only player to win the award four times, having won it in 1991, '92 and '93.
*During the 1995-96 season, the Chicago Bulls would go 72-10 setting an NBA reguar season record.