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The unforeseen, unmitigated feel-good underdog story of the N.B.A. season fits none of the standard profiles.

It does not feature a small-market team thriving in spite of its tiny payroll. It is not about plucky role players who fused their modest talents for a greater good.

The N.B.A.’s unlikely underdogs play in a huge market, have no trouble paying the bills and are blessed with one of the world’s most dazzling players. They play under the comfort of six championship banners.

If it is difficult to accept the Chicago Bulls — the franchise of Michael and Scottie, a 60-win team based in the nation’s third-largest market — as anything other than favorites, then flip the calendar back to last fall.
Morea at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/12/sports/basketball/12bulls.html.
 

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This 'unexpected competitor' story sounds familiar. When Jordan came back from his first retirement in '95 he fizzled and the Bulls crashed and burned in the playoffs that year. At the beginning of the next season, the Bulls weren't on anybody's radar to do anything significant at all. Low and behold, by the the time the 95/96 season was over with the Bulls were standing there with the best regular season record in history (72 - 10) and were considered the favorites to win it all (which they did).
 

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This 'unexpected competitor' story sounds familiar. When Jordan came back from his first retirement in '95 he fizzled and the Bulls crashed and burned in the playoffs that year. At the beginning of the next season, the Bulls weren't on anybody's radar to do anything significant at all. Low and behold, by the the time the 95/96 season was over with the Bulls were standing there with the best regular season record in history (72 - 10) and were considered the favorites to win it all (which they did).
The Bulls were 3-1 favorites to win the title in '95-'96... they were on everyone's radar.
 

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The Bulls were 3-1 favorites to win the title in '95-'96... they were on everyone's radar.
At the beginning of the season? I don't remember that. They were low on everyone's list if my memory serves me correctly (Sports Illustrated, Sporting News, etc).

From what I recall, people were saying Jordan was too slow and lost some of his skill due to taking a year and a half off.
 

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At the beginning of the season? I don't remember that. They were low on everyone's list if my memory serves me correctly (Sports Illustrated, Sporting News, etc).

From what I recall, people were saying Jordan was too slow and lost some of his skill due to taking a year and a half off.
Well, the Rodman trade made a big splash... Jordan did have his doubters but ultimately we were favored to come out of the East (and 3-1 to win the whole thing)...here's an article from before that season, thought it was an entertaining read: http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1995-11-03/sports/1995307133_1_michael-jordan-dennis-rodman-vancouver-grizzlies
 

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Jordan did have his doubters but ultimately we were favored to come out of the East (and 3-1 to win the whole thing)
Yes, I said that in my first post. In the beginning we weren't really on anyone's radar, but by the time the season ended we were the favorites.
 
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