Bulls

How Michael Jordan's salary surpassed the NBA salary cap in consecutive seasons

How Michael Jordan's salary surpassed the NBA salary cap in consecutive seasons

In the 1997-98 season, the NBA salary cap was roughly $27 million dollars. No player on the Bulls made over $5 million that season, except for Michael Jordan, who earned just north of $33 million.

So, how did Jordan's individual salary surpass the entire salary cap in consecutive seasons, dating back to 1996-97? Talent, of course, and timing.

Like now, teams were allowed to exceed the salary cap to sign their own players. Unlike now, there were no max contracts or a luxury tax in the collective bargaining agreement.

Jordan was a free agent after a 1995-96 season in which he made $3.8 million in the last season of a long-term deal. Jordan then signed a one-year contract for $30.1 million in 1996-97, when the salary cap stood at $24.3 million. And Jordan signed a one-year deal for $33.1 million in 1997-98 when the salary cap stood at $26.9 million.

Jordan's $33.1 million deal was worth more than the average team payroll at the time and represented the highest single-season salary in league history all the way until 2017-18, when LeBron James and Stephen Curry each surpassed it.

The Bulls' team payroll of $61.3 million for the 1997-98 season was the league's largest by $7.4 million over the second-place Knicks.

It was also $32.8 million more than the Utah Jazz's team payroll, the Bulls' eventual counterpart in the 1998 NBA Finals.

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How Sky are approaching WNBA season, from advocacy to unprecedented schedule

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How Sky are approaching WNBA season, from advocacy to unprecedented schedule

The 2020 WNBA season is one like no other. While the league is playing out its truncated, 22-game campaign in a bubbled campus at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla, it’s also dedicating the proceedings to social justice advocacy.

To name a few ways the latter has come to fruition: Players across the W have honored the lives and called for justice for Breonna Taylor, Sandra Bland and other victims of police brutality and racial violence with jersey messages, on-court demonstrations and comments to the media. The Sky, specifically, launched a fund to benefit Chicago-based community organizations based on team performance called #SkyTakesAction. There was even a leaguewide thrust to publicly endorse Raphael Warnock, a Democratic challenger for Kelly Loeffler’s Senate seat in Georgia, after Loeffler repeatedly came out in opposition of the W’s social justice initiatives and the Black Lives Matter movement. Everything enacted by the league on this front has been pointed and unified.

Meanwhile, there’s basketball to be played, as well. And the Sky is on the rise. Despite dropping two of its last three contests, the team is off to a 5-3 start to the season, with mammoth victories over the Las Vegas Aces, Los Angeles Sparks and Washington Mystics embedded in. It’s a group with championship aspirations one year after bursting onto the scene under first-year coach James Wade and bolstered by a high-octane, free-flowing style of play; and it returned much of the core of that breakout squad, even as many stars across the W traded threads.

Sky forward Gabby Williams recently joined the Bulls Talk Podcast to discuss all of the above — from her commitment to pushing for change to the high hopes, and strange circumstances, surrounding the team this season.

“Our decision to come to the bubble really was, if we're going to go, fighting for social justice is going to be at the forefront of our season,” Williams said. “That's going to go hand-in-hand with the WNBA.”

And on grinding through a season with games near every other day: “It’s going to be hard on our bodies, it’s going to be hard mentally, it’s going to be hard physically, emotionally, everything, it’s going to be exhausting. So we’re just going to try to keep each other up. It’s going to be gritty, it’s going to be a season that we have to grind out, and it’s not going to be easy for anyone. So we’re just focused on our bodies, and staying healthy and staying together.”

Listen to the full conversation here or via the embedded player above.

Bulls Talk Podcast

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Bulls Talk Podcast: Sky forward Gabby Williams on WNBA Wubble and social change

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Bulls Talk Podcast: Sky forward Gabby Williams on WNBA Wubble and social change

The Chicago Sky are dominating in the Wubble on the court, but also are doing some great things off the court as well. NBC Sports Chicago Bulls and hoops writer Rob Schaefer is joined by Sky forward Gabby Williams to discuss everything that's going on in the WNBA's Wubble as they get through their season and the many social justice initiatives the league and the Sky are pushing to help promote social change.

(2:20) - Difficulties of starting the WNBA season when so much has gone on in the world

(7:10) - The Sky are trying to motivate people and other athletes to push for social change in Chicago

(11:55) - The Sky have championship aspirations

(15:40) - Keeping the pressure on people to continue to promote change

Listen here or via the embedded player below:

Bulls Talk Podcast

Subscribe:

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.