The Chicago Bulls of the 1990s are often considered the greatest team in NBA history. Led by the legendary Michael Jordan, they dominated the sport for a decade, winning six championships in just eight years. With two 3-peats under their belt, they joined an elite group of only four teams to achieve this feat and were feared by their competitors. The trio of Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman were a force to be reckoned with and helped bring the NBA to a global stage. While Jordan and the Bulls solidified the NBA’s popularity, Kobe Bryant and the LA Lakers took it to the next level by becoming the most recent team to achieve a 3-peat.
Under the leadership of former Bulls coach Phil Jackson, Bryant and the Lakers had a successful streak between 2000 and 2002, winning three consecutive titles. Unlike the Bulls in the 90s, the Lakers did not have a trio of players to rely on. However, they had the greatest duo in NBA history, with Kobe and Shaquille O’Neal dominating the league during the early 2000s. Although both the Bulls and Lakers had three-peat victories, neither team was able to secure a fourth consecutive title as they were unable to reach the NBA Finals during their quadruple attempt. While winning four titles in a row may seem impossible to many, it was achieved in the WNBA during its early seasons, with one team accomplishing what both MJ’s Bulls and Bean’s Lakers could not.
The WNBA team has accomplished an extraordinary accomplishment.
The WNBA was established on April 22nd, 1996, when NBA commissioner David Stern sought to rival the newly formed American Basketball League. With 8 teams in its first season, the league aimed to showcase top-tier competition for women’s basketball. However, the initial years saw one-sided domination from the Houston Comets, who achieved a feat that even MJ’s Bulls or Kobe’s Lakers could not match – winning four consecutive titles. Led by star players Cynthia Cooper, Sheryl Swoopes, and Tina Thompson, the Comets’ dominance from 1997-2000 was unparalleled. Cooper, in particular, shone as the team’s guiding light, winning the Finals MVP award four times and the regular season MVP twice. This made her a beloved figure in Houston and also earned the Comets the distinction of being the first women’s professional team to be invited to the White House.
In the first season of the WNBA, the Comets were placed in the Eastern Conference. They defeated the Charlotte Sting in the playoffs and faced the NY Liberty in the Finals. The Comets were declared the champions with a 65-51 victory in a single game at The Summit Arena in Houston, marking the start of their dominance for nearly five years. In the second season, the Comets were moved to the Western Conference due to new teams joining the division. Despite expectations of a different outcome, the Comets thrived in their new conference and achieved a remarkable winning record of 27-3 (.900) that still holds today. The playoffs structure also changed in the second season, with a three-game series replacing the single game format. This meant that teams needed to win two games to become champions. Despite this change, the Comets once again swept the Charlotte Sting in the first round and faced the Phoenix Mercury in the Finals. After losing the first game 54-51, it seemed like the Mercury would secure their second WNBA title. However, a strong comeback by the Comets led to an overtime victory in Game 2 and a win in Game 3, earning them their second WNBA championship.
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The Comets faced a tough 1999 season, losing 8 games and mourning the passing of former player Kim Perot to cancer. Despite this, they banded together and managed to win their third consecutive title by defeating the Los Angeles Sparks and NY Liberty in the playoffs and finals. Many thought this would mark the end of the Comets’ reign, especially after finishing second in their division. However, with MVP Sheryl Swoopes leading the way, the team exceeded expectations and dominated the playoffs and finals, solidifying themselves as the greatest WNBA team of all time. This successful season also marked Cynthia Cooper’s retirement. Unfortunately, it would be their last WNBA Finals appearance as the team slowly faded into obscurity and eventually folded in 2008.
The NY Liberty will compete in the WNBA Finals for the first time since 2002, led by Nike athlete Sabrina Ionescu, who is worth $24 million. It’s hard not to think about what could have happened to the Houston Comets if they hadn’t disbanded. Unfortunately, we can only speculate.
Can Sabrina Ionescu and Breanna Stewart lead the New York Liberty to a triumphant comeback after their initial game loss?
The article discusses how one WNBA team accomplished a unique feat that neither Michael Jordan’s Bulls nor Kobe Bryant’s Lakers were able to achieve. It was originally posted on EssentiallySports.