Its all about the championship. But sometimes that isn't the season that sticks with you. Sometimes there is a special season. That season may have your team win 7 games on the last shot and not make the playoffs. They may break out of a long playoff drought to be swept in the first round. Or they may pull the upset in the first round then get spanked in the second. Maybe they have great individual performances or they just play an exciting brand of ball that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Five years later they win the title but it doesn't mean as much to you as that magical season.
For me that season is the 94-95 Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs hadn't made the playoffs since 89-90 when I was 10 and they were easily swept by the Blazers. They then proceded to play some of the worst ball in the history of the league over three seasons. Finally 94-95 arrived and it was a breath of fresh air. The three J's. 50 by Mashburn against the Bulls. 50 by Jackson against the Nuggets. Sitting on the porch listening to Regulate G Funk Era while George McCloud "Nate Dogg" tied the NBA record for most threes in a game. Tony "Dunk Contest Scrub" Dumas throwing it down. Popeye "Created mutant from Sam Cassel DNA" getting twenty rebounds. Watching Jason Kidd get twenty assists and a triple double with my first piece of tail in my arms. This is the season that sticks with me. More then the first playoff appearance in a decade and the upset over the Jazz. More then Nick Van Exel putting it on the Kings and coming up a little short versus the Spurs. More then getting over the Spurs hump and making it to the finals.
The Knicks That I Loved, The Knicks that battled The Heat and Pacers in the Playoffs and also Chicago. The Knicks that beat Indy of LJ's four point play. The Knicks who had heart in battles vs the Heat, The Fights Everything. The Allan Houston shot on Heat to help Knicks win the Series. Those were my Knicks.
Don't Get It Twisted, I Still Love These Knicks but no where near the way i loved Camby, LJ, Childs, Ewing, Houston, Spreewell, Wallace, Ward, Oakley, Mason etc.
the 88 bulls. jordan and oakley just brought it so hard in all the games i got to see. scottie and horace had me really hopeful about the future with terrific games every now and then (they were rookies). and mj was a monster pretty much every night.
the 91 celtics. when larry was healthy that team was great. shaw, dee, reggie, and pinkney ran hard and still had the old time bigs to go to in the post. plus we could all see parish aging and mchale and larry falling apart, so we were ready for reggie lewis to take over and savoring every moment of the old fellahs. plus i don't think kevin gamble missed a two point shot all year.
the 93 suns. so good to see charles on a great team. seemed like every time i watched chuck would throw up huge numbers, everyone would be involved, and they played with great enthusiasm (not surprising with charles and kj leading them). also loved their bench guys like frank johnson, danny ainge, richard dumas, and tom chambers.
Lowest seeded team to ever win a title, written off dead against Phoenix, called "choke city", then rallied back from down 3-1 and buried Phoenix with Mario Ellie's "Kiss of death" shot and "Clutch City" was born.
Next stop SA, who had the league's MVP, we all know the story, Hakeem destroyed him and demoralized the entire team.
Then the Rockets pulled into Orlando and swept them for a title repeat, becoming the only team to ever go through four 50 game wining teams (2 were 60 game winners), all on the road, to win a title.