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George Karl Admits He 'stiffed' Michael Jordan Ahead Of 1996 NBA Finals

Former NBA coach George Karl admits to ignoring Michael Jordan ahead of 1996 NBA finals. Karl added that he didn't think 'it would be such a big deal'.

George Karl

Episodes seven and eight of Michael Jordan's The Last Dance were released this past weekend. These new episodes focused on Michael Jordan's father's tragic murder, his retirement from professional basketball and his subsequent baseball career. The new episodes also shed some light on how Michael Jordan won his fourth NBA Championship while playing against the Seattle SuperSonics in the 1996 NBA Finals. The former Chicago Bulls superstar shed light on an interesting incident that occurred in the build-up to the Finals that involved SuperSonics' coach - George Karl. 

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Michael Jordan, George Karl feud

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1996 NBA Finals

George Karl admits to 'stiffing' Michael Jordan ahead of 1996 NBA finals

Michael Jordan returned to basketball in 1995 but suffered a defeat in the Eastern Conference Finals to Orlando Magic. The next season, Michael Jordan led Chicago to the 1996 NBA Finals where they were to play George Karl's Seattle SuperSonics. In the new episodes of The Last Dance, Michael Jordan revealed how a small incident involving opponent coach George Karl before the start of the Finals was enough to motivate him to destroy the SuperSonics. Jordan was quoted as saying “He walked right past me,” Jordan said. “I said, 'It's a crock of s—t.’ We went to Carolina. You know Dean Smith. ... You're gonna do this? OK, fine. That's all I needed. That's all I needed — for him to do that — and it became personal with me.” 

In a radio interview on SiriusXM NBA Radio, George Karl admitted that he 'stiffed' Jordan but added that he did not think it would be 'such a big thing'. The former NBA coach was quoted as saying, “We take it to the team that we don’t want any socialising with Michael. So after that speech, I run into Michael … if I go see Michael, I’m breaking the code with my team. If I don’t go see Michael, he’s probably gonna use it. And I stiffed him.”

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Chicago Bulls road to the 1996 NBA Finals

Michael Jordan's first full season in the NBA saw the Chicago Bulls go down as one of the most successful teams in NBA history. The Phil Jackson-coached team set the record for most wins in a regular NBA season in which they also won the Championship. The Bulls finished the season with 72 wins and 10 losses, breaking the Lakers' record for most wins in a regular NBA season.

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Why did George Karl snub Michael Jordan? 

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