NBA Finals Celebration from 1999 - 2000 JORDAN ERA

The NBA Finals is the seasonal championship series of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The entrants are determined by the victors of the Eastern and Western conferences, who engage in a best-of-seven game series to determine the league champion. The winners of the Finals are awarded the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy, which replaced the Walter A. Brown Trophy in 1983. Prior to the 1949-50 season, the series was named the BAA Finals, before seeing alteration following the merger between the Basketball Association of America (BAA) and the National Basketball League (NBL) which created the modern NBA. The competition oversaw further name changes to NBA World Championship Series from 1950 to 1982, as well as a brief stint as the Showdown, before settling on NBA Finals in 1986. The NBA Finals was initially structured to harbor a 2–3–2 format until 2013, where the first two and last two games of the series were played at the arena of the team who earned home-court advantage by having the better record during the regular season. This was then altered, because teams with the home-court advantage went 21–8 in all Finals appearances. The competition is currently structured under a 2–2–1–1–1 format, where the first two games are played at home for the higher-seeded team, and the following two at the home of the lower-seeded team. The following three are played at each team's home arena respectively. A total of 19 franchises have won the NBA Finals. The Boston Celtics hold the record for the most victories, having won the competition 17 times, as well as winning the competition the most times in a row, winning it eight times from 1959 to 1966. The Los Angeles Lakers have been runners-up the most times, losing 15 finals. The Eastern Conference has provided the most champions, with 38 wins from eight franchises, while the Western Conference have 32, also from eight franchises. The majority of the 1990s was marked by the supremacy of the Chicago Bulls, which saw them appear in six Finals. Coached by Phil Jackson and led by NBA superstar Michael Jordan, the Bulls won a title in every single appearance to the Finals from 1991 to 1998. Jordan was also the Finals MVP every time. The only other team to win championships during this period was the Houston Rockets, who went back-to-back in 1994 and 1995 during Jordan's initial retirement from professional basketball. The first championship came at the expense of the Los Angeles Lakers, which also saw the last appearance in the Finals for Magic Johnson. Billed[by whom?] as a showdown between the aging Johnson and the upstart Jordan, the Lakers won the first game, 93–91. For the rest of the series, Pippen guarded Johnson, allowing Jordan to attain a free scoring role to lead Chicago to ultimately taking the next four games. The Bulls returned to the Finals in the next year, pitted against Clyde Drexler and the Portland Trail Blazers. Throughout the 1991–1992 season, Jordan and Drexler led their teams to the best records in their respective conferences, leading to several comparisons between the two players in anticipation of a postseason match-up. Chicago defeated the Trail Blazers in Game 1 by 33 points, a game notable for Jordan breaking the record for the most three-pointer in a first half, with six. Game 2 went into overtime, with the Trail Blazers outscoring the Bulls 18–7 in the final period to run away with the win. Game 3 and 4 were split between Chicago and Portland, respectively, but the Bulls took the final two games, clinching their second championship. In 1993, Jordan was matched against close friend Charles Barkley, who was the league's reigning MVP at the Phoenix Suns. The Bulls won the first two games in Phoenix, with 100–92 and 111–108 as the final scores, respectively. The Suns, rallying behind Barkley, won Game 3, 129–121, in Chicago in triple overtime. The Bulls took Game 4, 111–105, with Jordan scoring 55 points and tying Rick Barry for the second-most points in an NBA Finals game. The Suns won Game 5, 108–98, sending the series back to Phoenix. Chicago won the series clincher in Game 6, 99–98,on John Paxson's three-pointer, as the Bulls became the third team in history to three-peat. After this win, Jordan would retire from basketball to pursue a career in baseball..