In 1998, the Bulls and Hawks set the NBA’s single-game attendance record with a little help from Michael Jordan’s looming retirement.
As the Chicago Tribune wrote of the March 27 game, “a record number of worshipers, 62,046 to be exact, descended on the Georgia Dome” to see the two teams in action. More than 20 years later, the 62,000-plus fans record still holds.
In the midst of the Bulls’ second three-peat run, fans flocked to the Georgia Dome that night to see Jordan play. He thrilled the record crowd with 34 points, five rebounds, four assists and a blocked shot in a 89-74 victory.
Chicago led by three points at halftime, but allowed just 30 total points in the second half to cruise to victory.
The Hawks spent 1997 through 1999 in the Georgia Dome while State Farm Arena (formerly Philips Arena) was under construction. Atlanta fans believed that game could have been Jordan’s last appearance in the city as a player—hence the rush to see him play.
As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote of the night, “They sold 8,046 bad seats at $5 in two days to set the all-time attendance record for the NBA, raising more than $40,000 for North Georgia victims of this month’s deadly tornadoes.
“So, only 48 hours after the Hawks announced there would be no more than 57,000 in the Dome for Michael Jordan’s visitation, the 10-year-old NBA attendance record—61,983—was broken and likely unassailable unless it is done again in the Georgia Dome.”