The 1991 NBA Finals was the championship round of the 1990–91 NBA season. It was also the first NBA Finals broadcast by NBC after 17 years with CBS.
The documentary "Learning to Fly" recaps Chicago's successful first championship season, narrated by Jeff Kaye (who is also the narrator for NFL Films). The theme song is "Learning to Fly" by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
The Chicago Bulls of the East Conference took on the Los Angeles Lakers of the Western Conference for the title, with Chicago having home court advantage. This Finals was Michael Jordan's first NBA Finals appearance, Magic Johnson's last one and the last NBA Finals trip of the Lakers until 2000. The Bulls would win the series 4-1. Jordan averaged 31.2 points on 56% shooting, 11.4 assists, 6.6 rebounds, 2.8 steals and 1.4 blocks on route to his first NBA Finals MVP Award.
The finals series was Jim Durham's only appearance as the Bulls' radio announcer (he also announced Bulls games on television via simulcast during the regular season and playoffs). He would later announce several NBA Finals games on ESPN Radio. Neil Funk succeeded Durham the following season and was the radio voice on five NBA Finals involving the Bulls (1992, 1993, 1996, 1997 and 1998). The simulcasts would also end after the season, with Wayne Larrivee (on WGN-TV) and Tom Dore (on cable) becoming the Bulls' television announcers the next season; since the 2008–09 NBA season Funk is calling television play-by-play on both networks while Chuck Swirsky is calling radio play-by-play.
NBC Sports used Ahmad Rashad (Bulls sideline) and Steve Jones (Lakers sideline)
The series wasn't the first time that the Bulls and Lakers faced off in the playoffs. Prior to 1991, they met for four postseason series (1968, 1971, 1972 and 1973), all Lakers victories. Chicago was a member of the Western Conference at the time and moved into the East after the NBA-ABA merger of 1976. The 1991 Finals marked the first time the Bulls defeated the Lakers in a playoff series. It also helped vindicate the former Bulls players who played against the Lakers during the period; namely Norm Van Lier, Jerry Sloan, Bob Love and Tom Boerwinkle, who lost against Laker teams led by Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West and Elgin Baylor.
This series would mark the end of the Lakers Showtime era and the beginning of the Bulls' dynasty. After winning five championships in eight finals appearances in the 1980s, the Lakers would struggle in the 1990s before returning to glory in the 2000s (decade) with four championships as well as a title in 2010. As for the Bulls, they would win five more championships in a seven year span cementing their status as a dynasty before struggling badly in a post-MJ era that saw them take several years to even become average, though they have recently regained their status as one of the NBA's best teams.
When it was all said and done, Michael Jordan became only the third man in NBA history (after George Mikan and Kareem Abdul Jabbar) to capture the scoring title and the NBA Finals Championship in the same season.
As of 2012, the Bulls were the last team to win an NBA championship despite fielding a full roster lacking in championship or Finals experience. None of the Bulls players had logged even a minute of NBA Finals experience prior to this.
... Chicago Bulls 1990–91 NBA Champions 2 Hopson