The footsteps grow louder each day. A lot louder. And the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls can’t stand the sound of them.
At 67-7, the Warriors were in position to move with four victories of the Bulls and their coveted record on Wednesday. There wasn’t a gosh darn thing that Dennis Rodman or Scottie Pippen or even the great Michael Jordan could do about it, either.
“It’s gonna happen,” former Bulls center and current radio analyst Bill Wennington told Balls this week. “But we kind of knew that for a while now.”
That doesn’t mean the old Bulls have to like it. They were a fiercely proud, ultra confident if not downright cocky bunch back then, and they remain most of that 20 years later.
“Concerned? Why should we be concerned?” Wennington said. “This doesn’t change anything. We still won three championships in a row. And we’d still beat the Warriors in a series if we had the chance.”
“I fear the record is in jeopardy,” said ex-guard Randy Brown, now a Bulls assistant. “I know Steve Kerr is sitting in a good spot there. If they break it, good, It they don’t break it, good. I love watching the Warriors play, but as good as they are right now, we were a bit better.”
“We had Michael Jordan.”
REST OF THE STORY: Yeah, Brown and Wennington are a tad biased, all right, but don’t call them crusty old men just yet. They appreciate this Warriors team from a distance.
“Don’t take anything away from them — the Warriors are fun to watch and what they are doing is a great accomplishment,” Wennington went on to say. “It’s hard for any team to win 70 games in one season.”
Most can agree with Wennington on this much: The Warriors have given us a reason to follow the regular season, which would have been a colossal bore without them.
Said Wennington, “Do I want our record to be broken? Of course not. But what the Warriors are doing is good for the league as long as it happens for one season. But if we see this every year …”
Hey, just wait ’til the Warriors sign Kevin Durant and finish 80-2 next season.
GET WELL, CRAIG: The Warriors beat the Washington Wizards for win No. 67 on Tuesday, but the most memorable performance was that of TNT sideline reporter Craig Sager, who continued his courageous battle against leukemia.
If every NBA player had his will and determination, the product would be that much better.
GOT THAT, CHIP?: The 49ers plan to work out quarterback Jared Goff this week, but unless they plan to dump Colin Kaepernick on the Denver Broncos, the only other team that will have him, it looks to be a smokescreen and nothing more.
It seems that Goff lacks the physical size that coach Chip Kelly craves, and that’s too bad. According to NFL analyst Greg Cosell, whose opinion Balls respects more than a lot of coaches, the former Cal star packs a bigger upside than Marcus Mariota, for whom Kelly would have given up half the Philadelphia Eagles roster a year ago.
“I see a lot of good traits in Jared Goff,” Cosell said via Yahoo Sports. “His size, throwing ability and pocket attributes are all first-round pick worthy.
“Goff is a more natural and better overall thrower than Marcus Mariota. Overall, he’s a better prospect than Mariota or Jameis Winston, who went with the first two picks of last year’s draft.”
The Eagles brought in Goff for a look-see last week. God help the Niners if Kelly’s old team drafts him at the eighth pick, one spot after their turn, and the kid turns out to be a star.
PANDA WATCH: Circle Monday, May 23 on your calendar, Giants fans. That may be your first opportunity to vent on Pablo Sandoval, who had the nerve to call the Bay Area “just another city” last summer.
According to word out of Arizona, the San Diego Padres scouted Sandoval extensively in recent days, and at 270-something pounds, that was no small task in itself. So large was the rotund one when he arrived at Boston Red Sox training camp, he could have been a float in the Macy’s parade.
Money-wise, the deal is doable. The Red Sox would receive pitcher James Shields and his $65-million salary, while the Padres would get the rest of Sandoval’s $77.4 million contract, not to mention his lame bat and godawful defense.
SPITTIN’ IMAGE: The Giants will give away Gaylord Perry statues on Aug. 13 at AT&T Park, and it’s kinda neat that fans can pick from five versions — saliva, pine tar, sandpaper, thumbtack and petroleum jelly.
TONY AWARD: Vancouver radio fossil Tony Gallagher burned some ears when he referred to team captain Joe Pavelski as “a little weasel” the other night, but the guy deserves some credit here. He did the near impossible — woke up the San Jose Hockey Country Club and their fans, which happens almost as often as his Canucks hoist the Stanley Cup, which is to say never.
The remarks drew the ire of everyone from Sharks broadcaster Randy Hahn to Logan Couture’s father, who watched his kid score a hat trick only hours later. Oh, and that Little Weasel scored his 37th goal of the season, too.
Heck, if Balls were general manager, it would invite Gallagher to undress the players in the locker room before every playoff game.
THE LIST: Five things about the the 1995-96 Bulls that you either don’t know or remember:
Jordan and Pippen accounted for nearly half their field goal tries (45 percent) and points (46) in the regular season.
Jordan, Pippen and Steve Kerr combined for 383 3-pointers in the regular season, 27 fewer than Stephen Curry had at the start of Wednesday.
Center Luc Longley hailed from Melbourne, Australia, where Warriors pivotman Andrew Bogut was born.
McDonald’s distributed promotional Rodman cups that, when an ice-cold beverage was poured into it to head level, his blond hair turned to either blue, green, hot pink or red.
So rattled were the SuperSonics by Rodman’s theatrics in the NBA Finals, the Seattle Times published a flop watch.
WHERE HAVE YOU GONE …: James (Buddha) Edwards?
Got an opinion? A gripe? A compliment? A compliment?! Send them to email@example.com, and who knows, you may get your name in the paper before long.bill wenningtoncraig sagerGolden State WarriorsKevin DurantMichael JordanNHLOakland A'sPaul LadewskiSan Francisco 49ersSan Francisco GiantsStephen CurryWashington Wizards