Damon Brooks Jr. and Toyloy Brown III
With Game 1 of the Stanley Cup starting Wednesday, the Tampa Bay Lightning have a chance to do something that hasn’t happened in the NHL in 39 years: three mobs.
Pat Riley coined the term and the moniker is only suitable for greatness, the teams that can win it all in a row.
A trifecta of championships is not only a rarity in ice hockey, but in every other major professional sports league. The modern NFL has yet to have a team accomplish such a feat.
In the spirit of a possible treble this NHL season, here are all the top US pro teams that have achieved the prestigious milestone over the past 50 years.
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chicago bulls 1991-1993
Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls won their first hat-trick from 1991 to 1993 in wins over the Los Angeles Lakers, Portland Trail Blazers and Phoenix Suns. Jordan put in a historic performance in Game 1 of the 1992 NBA Finals with a record breaking six 3-pointers in one half against Basketball Hall of Famer Naismith Memorial Clyde Drexler and the Trail Blazers.
A memorable moment of the Bulls’ early dominance came in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, when forward Horace Grant kicked the ball to guard John Paxson for a game-winning 3-pointer. The Bulls were led by Jordan’s greatness, but head coach Phil Jackson’s triangle offense was instrumental in the key players that contributed to his dominance in the early ’90s.
chicago bulls 1996-1998
Jordan returned to the Bulls, after a two-year retirement that saw the all-time great venture into baseball, his childhood love. With No. 23 back in the fold, the Bulls regained their place as the best team in the NBA. The Bulls continued to pummel their opponents and even won 72 wins en route to their 1995-96 championship, the best in the NBA. In the Bulls’ “Last Dance,” Jordan hit the iconic “Last Shot” over Utah Jazz guard Byron Russell to secure his sixth championship.
Los Angeles Lakers 2000-2002
Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant formed one of the most formidable duos in league history, which saw them rack up three consecutive championships between 2000 and 2002. The Lakers featured several key players in their careers, including Robert Horry, Derek Fisher , Rick Fox and others. The one-two punch from O’Neal and Bryant provided the Lakers with a physically imposing presence in the agile O’Neal and the immensely skilled Bryant.
Houston Comets 1997–2000
The WNBA’s first true dynasty dominated its competition from the league’s opening tip in 1997. The Comets claimed an even rarer four consecutive championships from 1997 to 2000 thanks to their big three of Cynthia Cooper, Sheryl Swoopes and Tina Thompson.
Oakland Athletics 1972-1974
The Swingin’ A’s were the first and only MLB franchise to unite three consecutive championship-winning teams other than the New York Yankees. The first two of the three mobs went as far as Game 7 against the Cincinnati Reds and New York Mets, respectively.
New York Yankees 1998-2000
The last full-blown Yankees dynasty began in 1998 when the team experienced historic success, winning a franchise-record, and then AL-record, 114 games. The final World Series victory in the span came against the New York Mets, the New York teams’ first Fall Classic since the Brooklyn Dodgers and Yankees met in 1956.
Montreal Canadians 1976-1979
The Stanley Cup has been lived in Montreal more than in any other city with an NHL team with 24 titles. Its supremacy was thanks to its wealth of talent: the 1977-78 team, for example, featured nine future Hall of Famers.
New York Islanders 1980-1983
Once the Canadiens dynasty concluded, the Islanders picked up right where they left off with four championships of their own. The team lifted its last Stanley Cup of the dynasty after sweeping a promising Edmonton Oilers led by Wayne Gretzky. The New York team had 16 of the same players it had since the first title in 1980 in the last year.