Records are made to be broken. And the Golden State Warriors' pursuit of the spectacular 72-10 season of the Michael Jordan-led 1995-96 Chicago Bulls is currently at the center of a hot debate.
As of Monday, the Warriors are an amazing 49-5 in the middle of a six-game road trip. In the remainder of the second half, they have three games against the Spurs and two each against the Thunder, Clippers, Grizzlies, Mavericks and Hawks.
NBA history is made in June when a team gets to hoist hardware in the form of the Larry O’Brien trophy and be feted by their fans along a parade route. The Warriors are dealing with the schizophrenia of success. Should they focus on back-to-back NBA titles or try to break the Bulls' record.
Why not go after both?
There is no place to hide for the Warriors. Their current magic is on the NBA’s main stage nightly. And everywhere they go crowds want the show to continue.
Even if they don’t eclipse the Bulls' record or win another title, the franchise has captured the imagination of sports fans everywhere. The franchise’s incredible upward arc has also created one of the healthiest cash producing machines in the business...
TICKETS -- The Warriors fans base is beyond solid with a home sellout streak of 42 games and counting. There are thousands of credit card-waving fans on the ticket waitlist. Their next few seasons are guaranteed money-making successes.
NAMING RIGHTS -- The Warriors have already signed one of the most lucrative naming rights deals in sports with a 20-year, $200 million deal with Chase.
NEW ARENA REVENUE -- As the business operations staff gets ready to open Chase Center in Mission Bay for the 2019-20 season, they will set new club records in corporate sponsorship revenue.
AMERICAN IDOLS -- Michael Jordan and Steph Curry as leaders of legendary teams ... take your pick. Six championships marks a pretty significant Mt. Everest, but the Warriors, as presently constructed, are poised for a years of title contention.
PLAYER ENDORSEMENTS -- This is a team with multiple personalities, all of them good and many that will make money for sponsors whether they are better than 72-10 or not.
When you have the ability to rewrite history, the pressure can be unbearable. The Warriors have embraced the challenge of going after the Bulls in large part because their coach, Steve Kerr, was a member of that 1996-96 Bulls team. One of his mentors, Gregg Popovich, has popularized the “rest the stars” program on the way to winning five NBA championships.
Kerr referred to the record in a recent New York Times article: “I just know how fragile it is and I know how quickly that whole thing can vanish. I’m not really concerned about the record, to be honest with you. Our goal is to win the championship and defend our title. However we get there doesn’t matter.”
Kerr acknowledged that he is probably the only player from the 1995-96 Bulls who is rooting for Golden State to eclipse their record.
I was lucky enough to be part of an NBA team record that has lasted for 43 years. My first job I was with the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers, who went 9-73 -- a far cry from 72-10.
That disaster of a season still stands as the worst team record over a full NBA season. The then-Bobcats from Charlotte went in 7-59 in the strike-shortened 2011-12 season. Coincidentally, the team was run by Jordan -- the man who led his Bulls to the all-time best record.
Will the Golden State Warriors be better known for their championships or their records this season? Stay tuned...