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Monday, June 17, 1996 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Not This Time -- Sonic Hopes End 87-75 As Bulls Win Fourth Title

Seattle Times Staff Reporter

FINALS FACTS

And Then There Was One: And for those of you in Ephrata or on the planetary explorer Voyager, the Seattle SuperSonics ain't it. Chicago's unfloppa-Bulls smote the Sonics 87-75 last night at United Center to win their fourth NBA world championship.

Afterward: The Bulls heaved a Magnificent-Mile-Long sigh of relief. The Sonics, like Nordstrom shoe shoppers, silently vowed to make a return.

Game God: Chicago's Michael Jordan, series MVP.

Game Goat: Also Jordan, who missed 14 of 19 shots and turned in one of the all-time least-memorable NBA Finals MVP performances.

Up Next: Sonic contract-negotiation wars, Round 1; President Wally Walker vs. Coach George Karl.

COURTSIDE

You Knew It Was Over When: Chicago players grabbed some scissors, climbed a ladder - and clipped the winning garter belts off Dennis Rodman.

You Knew It Was Really Over When: Chicago owner Jerry Reinsdorf slithered down the aisle to wrap himself around the championship trophy.

Jordan Was Lying Face Down In The Locker Room After The Game Because: A) Rodman shoved him. B) Finished distant fifth in Times "Flop Watch" MVP voting. C) Pippen spilled some pricey champagne there. D) Gave wrong interview answer to NBC's Peter Vecsey. E) Hip-checked by Oprah.

Smell Of Success: In the Bulls postgame celebration, the rancid smell of victory cigar smoke, wet towels, sweaty players and greasy franchise owners made the entire lower section of United Center smell exactly like used cow-milking equipment.

Air Bags: Fans in one end zone of United Center didn't receive the customary long squiggly balloons passed out at most NBA arenas to distract free-throw shooters. An arena usher explained - and we would never lie about a serious gastro-inflatable disorder incident - that one overzealous Bulls rooter "partially swallowed one" at an earlier game.

Reigning Star: He won over Bill Walton, subdued media critics from coast to coast and in-your-faced the U.S. Olympic team's basketball selection committee. But Seattle's Shawn Kemp truly arrived before last night's Game 6. Kemp, shooting warmup jump shots, drew a crowd of Bulls fans, craning to shoot snapshots of the Reign Man. Converted Kemp admirers? "No," said one camera-toting woman. "We're Bulls fans. I just wanted to use up the rest of my film." She used up three rolls.

More Proof: The NBA Finals began with many national writers using the tired cliche "man-child" to describe Kemp. Last night, some of them ranked him ahead of Jordan in the MVP voting. And when Kemp finished speaking at a postgame press conference, many of them applauded.

We'd Like To Be Cynical About This One, But: Well, geez. It was too sweet. NBC's Hannah Storm went out of her way to track down Kemp after last night's game - not for a predictable how's-it-feel-to-lose interview - just to thank him for being a classy guy. Storm gave Kemp a warm hug, patted him on the back, and said: "Great job. I'm proud of you."

Our Own Worst Enemy: Present at the trophy celebration was a fan with a sign bearing a large Starbucks' logo. The caption: "Wake up and smell the coffee, Seattle!"

Giving Yourselves A Hand: A lot of Bulls fans awoke to this admonition in their Sunday Chicago Tribune, courtesy of columnist Melissa Isaacson: "Every Bulls fan who has ever occupied a seat at the United Center this season . . . should have the experience of sitting in KeyArena last week, of observing the Seattle crowd. Theirs was not the applause of simple appreciation, but the literally deafening cheers of people whose expectations were satisfied."

Boeing Or Bust: The Sonics borrowed the Vancouver Grizzlies' team plane to fly to Chicago for Game 6. Seattle wanted to fly out lots of staff members, and Air Griz, a Boeing 727, is larger and more comfortable than the Sonics' usual charter plane. Note to the Grizzlies: Don't be surprised if, when Barry Ackerley's team returns the plane, the in-flight movies are all pay-per-view.

Attention, Toys R Us Shoppers: A clear consensus emerged in the Seattle locker room - and among many of the 1,200 media observers after Game 6: Seattle will be back. For many reasons (money/bragging rights/civic pride), that's a good thing; for others (Bill Walton), it's bad.

Either Way: It was a most pleasant distraction, wasn't it? Now get back to work.

Copyright (c) 1996 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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