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NBA 101

How many rings does Michael Jordan have?

Michael Jordan retired from the NBA having won six rings, or six NBA Championships.

He won rings in the following seasons – 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, and 1998.

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Michael Jordan’s first NBA Ring
Jordan’s first NBA three-peat
Jordan’s first NBA ring after retirement
Jordan’s second three-peat and last NBA ring

Michael Jordan’s first NBA ring

Michael Jordan #23 of the Chicago Bulls with the 1991 NBA Championship Trophy.(Photo by Ken Levine/Getty Images)

Jordan was a four-time NBA scoring champion before the 1990-91 NBA season. However, no matter how hard he tried he never seemed to get to the NBA Finals.

In fact, in the three prior seasons his Bulls team was eliminated by the Detroit Pistons.

In the 1991 NBA Playoffs, Jordan – who was once again scoring champion – took care of business against the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals. The Chicago Bulls swept the Pistons to setup an NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Lakers, led by their star Magic Johnson, came prepared to fight a young Bulls team led by a 27-year-old Jordan.

The Bulls proved to be the better team throughout, beating the Lakers in five games and giving Jordan his first NBA ring.

Jordan’s first NBA three-peat

Chicago Bulls Michael Jordan victorious with three fingers(Photo by Walter Iooss Jr./Sports Illustrated via Getty Images/Getty Images)

Jordan and his Bulls were now the two-time reigning NBA champions. They had finished the 1992-93 NBA season with 57 wins – the second best record in the Eastern Conference.

They won their first two series in the 1993 NBA Playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks and the Cleveland Cavaliers fairly easily, sweeping the Hawks 3-0 and the Cavaliers 4-0.

The 1993 NBA Eastern Conference Finals between the Bulls and their arch rivals the New York Knicks did not go as per Jordan’s plans.

The New York Knicks came blazing out of the gate winning the first two games. Jordan and the Bulls had not lost two playoff games back-to-back since the 1990 NBA playoffs.

However, the team and Jordan jumped back with stunning performances and won four games straight.

They then beat the Phoenix Suns – led by regular season MVP Charles Barkley – in six games to give Jordan is third NBA ring and first NBA three-peat.

Jordan’s first NBA ring returning from retirement

Michael Jordan #23 of the Chicago Bulls. (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

Jordan retired for the first time in 1993 after finding out about the tragic passing of his father. He went to play baseball – a sport his father had encouraged him to play.

However, in 1995, Jordan chose to return to the NBA halfway through the season. The 1995 season did not end as per Jordan’s or the Bulls’s expectations as they lost to the Orlando Magic in six games in the 1995 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals.

The next season – 1995-96 – Jordan and the Bulls came back with a vengeance.

They won a record 72-games, and Jordan once again led the NBA in scoring.

The NBA Playoffs were just as entertaining as Jordan and the Bulls lost just three out of fifteen games to put NBA ring no. 4 on Jordan’s hand. Tis was Jordan’s most emotional championship since it was his first NBA championship without his father around.

Jordan’s second three-peat and last NBA ring

Michael Jordan (L) and Chicago Bulls head coach Phil Jackson (R). (Photo by JEFF HAYNES / AFP) (Photo by JEFF HAYNES/AFP via Getty Images)

By the 1997-98 season, Jordan had played 12 seasons in the NBA. He had won five rings, and was the scoring champion for nine seasons.

However, at the start of the season there were rumblings that the team might be dismantled at the end of the season.

There was buzz that Phil Jackson would be replaced, and Jordan and some of the key Bulls members such as Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman were sure they did not want to play for anyone else.

The Bulls ownership stood steadfast in their decision. Jordan and Bulls decided to make one last run at the championship.

They finished the regular season with 62 wins – tied with the Utah Jazz for the best record in the NBA.

The 1998 NBA Playoffs started well for the Bulls – they swept the New Jersey Nets and beat the Charlotte Hornets in five games.

However, the Indian Pacers gave Jordan and the Bulls a hard time. They took them to a Game 7, but eventually lost.

Bulls then went on to play the Utah Jazz in the NBA Finals for the second time in two seasons. Jordan and the Bulls beat the Jazz in six games, giving Jordan his second career three-peat and NBA ring No. 6.


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Categories
NBA 101

How many games are in an NBA season?

NBA team play 82 games in the regular season, up to two games in the Play-In tournament, and up to 28 games in the playoffs.

Jump to a section:

How and when did the NBA first decide to play 82 games?
How are NBA teams are divided by conference and divisions?
How are the 82 games calculated in the modern NBA era?
How many playoff games do NBA teams play?
What is the NBA Play-In tournament?
Summary
Sam Jones #24 of the Boston Celtics dribbles against Wilt Chamberlain #13 of the 76ers. (Photo by Focus on Sport via Getty Images)

How did the NBA first decide to play 82 games?

The NBA had its first season in 1946-47.

Its regular season and playoffs, however, underwent several changes over the years.

The first season, with just 11 teams, the NBA’s schedule had teams playing a total of at least 60 regular-season games, and up to 20 playoff games.

In the 1967-68 season, two expansion teams – the San Diego Rockets, and the Seattle Supersonics – took the total number of NBA teams to 12.

That season, each NBA team played eight (8) games against their conference rival – Eastern conference and Western conference – and seven (7) games against non-conference rivals.

Each conference had six teams.

Thus 82 games came from:

8 games x 5 conference rivals = 40 games.

7 games x 6 opposite conference rivals = 42 games.

The NBA however, continued to expand until the 2004-05 season. This was when the last expansion team – the Charlotte Bobcats (now the Charlotte Hornets) – joined the NBA, taking the total number of teams to 30. The number of teams remains unchanged to this day.

Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs reaches for the opening tip-off against Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat during Game One of the 2013 NBA Finals. (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

How NBA teams divided into conferences and divisions?

The modern NBA era features a total of 30 teams.

These teams are divided into two conferences – Eastern and Western – of 15 teams each.

Within a conference, teams are further subdivided into divisions. featuring five (5) teams each.

The Eastern Conference features the Atlantic Division, the Central Division and the Southeast Division.

The Western Conference features the Northwest Division, the Pacific Division, and the Southwest Division.

Here is the breakup of the teams by division, sorted alphabetically:

Eastern ConferenceWestern Conference
Atlantic DivisionNorthwest Division
Boston CelticsDenver Nuggets
Brooklyn NetsMinnesota Timberwolves
New York KnicksOklahoma City Thunder
Philadelphia 76ersPortland Trailblazers
Toronto RaptorsUtah Jazz
Central DivisionPacific Division
Chicago BullsGolden State Warriors
Cleveland CavaliersLos Angeles Clippers
Detroit PistonsLos Angeles Lakers
Indiana PacersPhoenix Suns
Milwaukee BucksSacramento Kings
Southeast DivisionSouthwest Division
Atlanta HawksDallas Mavericks
Charlotte HornetsHouston Rockets
Miami HeatMemphis Grizzlies
Orlando MagicNew Orleans Hornets
Washington WizardsSan Antonio Spurs
NBA teams sorted by conference and division.
Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors hugs Vince Carter #15 of the Memphis Grizzlies after the Warriors finished the 2015-16 NBA regular season with a 73-9 record. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

How are the 82 games calculated in the modern NBA era?

As we see above, there are 30 teams divided into two conferences and six divisions.

Each team will play

I. Four games against its division rivals; 4 games x 4 teams = 16 games.

II. Four games against six of its out-of-division conference rivals; 4 games x 6 teams = 24 games.

III. Three games against the remaining four out-of-division rivals; 3 games x 4 teams = 12 games.

III. Two games against its non-conference rivals; 2 games x 15 teams = 30 games.

That gives us a total of 82 games.

How, then, does the NBA decide which out-of-division conference rivals should a team play four times, and which they should play three times.

For this, the NBA has come up with a five-year rotation policy.

This means that once every five years, a team will play an out-of-division conference rival four times.

Year 1 to Year 4 – 3 games.

Year 5 – 4 games.

Year 6 – Year 9 – 3 games.

Year 10 – 4 games.

And so on.

Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs reaches for the opening tip-off against Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat during Game One of the 2013 NBA Finals. (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

How many playoff games do NBA teams play?

The NBA playoffs format has evolved over the years.

In its first season, the two top teams in each conference qualified for a best-of-seven semifinal. The second and the third-best teams in each conference battled for a spot in the second semifinal.

In the modern NBA era, there are four playoff rounds:

The first round (or) Quarter-Finals

The second round (or) Semi-Finals

The third round (or) Conference Finals

The NBA Finals.

Each round is a best-of-seven series; i.e. a team has to win four out of seven games to proceed to the next round.

Credit: NBA.com

What is the NBA Play-In tournament?

Till the 2019 playoffs, the top eight teams – based on their regular-season record – from each conference moved on to the Playoffs.

However, since the difference between the records of the seventh-seed and the tenth-seed was often so small, the NBA wanted to give more teams a chance to try and make it into the playoffs.

So starting in the 2020 NBA Playoffs, the NBA initiated the Play-In tournament.

The Play-in tournament is fairly simple:

It starts with two games:

Game 1 – 7-seed vs. 8-seed, and

Game 2 – 9-seed vs. 10-seed

The winner of Game 1 proceeds to get the seventh seed in the Playoffs.

The loser of Game 1 plays the winner of Game 2. The winner of this game gets the eighth seed in the Playoffs.

Summary

As mentioned at the start of this article, NBA teams play 82 regular season games, up to two games in the Play-In tournament, and up to 28 games in the NBA playoffs.

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If you like this article you probably would like to learn more about how NBA teams earn their playoffs seeds, and how the regular season record matters.


Basketballbaba.com is a free-to-read resource on the NBA. You may consider showing your appreciation by buying something from Baba’s store. It is a combination of affiliate links to basketball books and gear, and also some exclusive BasketballBaba merchandise. for every purchase you make, 5% of the profits go towards the Dribble Academy Foundation.