As the Kansas basketball team looks to achieve new heights this season, it has a chance to make history with 14-straight Big 12 titles, which would be the most consecutive conference titles in men’s college basketball history.
Currently tied at first with the UCLA Bruins (1967-79) at 13-straight, the Jayhawks’ magnificent feat not only has the chance to be the greatest in basketball, but could be looked at as one of the greatest in all sports.
Now in position to surpass UCLA's Hall of Fame coach John Wooden and his team's run, coach Bill Self and the Jayhawks are now comparable to other great runs in sports history.
1990-98 Chicago Bulls
When thinking of some of the best runs in sports history, the 1990s Chicago Bulls are the first to come in mind for many basketball fans. With two separate three-peats in the NBA Finals, (1991-93 and 1996-98), Hall of Famer Michael Jordan led the Bulls to sports superiority during his tenure with the team.
Along the likes of other Hall of Fame players in Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman, coach Phil Jackson helped lead the team to a recently topped 72-10 record in the 1995-96 season.
The Bulls were nearly impossible to beat once they began their run, with Jordan captaining the team to a perfect 6-0 in the NBA Finals. Jordan, who took a two year break from 1993-95, was a force to be reckoned with in the postseason, helping the Bulls win over 75 percent of their playoff games.
Jordan's Bulls were never pushed to a deciding Game 7 in the NBA Finals, and the team's presence was not only always felt, but furiously feared.
1996-2003 New York Yankees
As the 20th century was coming to a close, the New York Yankees were making sure to end it on a high mark.
In a five-season run from 1996-2000, they managed to win four World Series titles, including the league’s first three-peat in 26 years. The Yankees also put up a historic 114-48 record in 1998, which is now second in MLB history after the Seattle Mariners’ 2001 season.
In a "Core Four" that included starting pitcher Andy Pettitte, shortstop Derek Jeter, catcher Jorge Posada, and closer Mariano Rivera, these players not only created their legacies in their historic franchise, but also in all of Major League Baseball.
As their dynasty and reign in the league was nearing its end, they still captained the American League with two more American League Pennants in 2001 and 2003, which led to four straight AL pennants. It was the first time a team had won four straight since the Yankees had five straight from 1960-64.
Since then, only twice has a team seen four consecutive World Series appearances, however, no one has since been able to top this magnificent feat in MLB, and looking ahead, it doesn’t seem to be dethroned any time soon.
Tom Brady’s New England Patriots
Kansan columnist Ana Krasuski says that, even when put alongside coach John Wooden's legendary Bruins, the Jayhawks' 13-straight Big 12 run is a formidable dynasty.
Many sports dynasties are characterized by their years, but the New England Patriots, arguably the greatest dynasty in NFL history, should be characterized by their leader for all five of their Super Bowls: future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady.
Making seven Super Bowls in a 16-year span, including five championships, Brady and coach Bill Belichick have made their permanent mark on the NFL.
Although their long-lasting run has not always resulted in the end goal, they have also reached the AFC Conference Championship game four additional times, missing it only 6 times in that span, only twice disembarking on a mission to the playoffs.
Through this dynasty, they have been the most feared team in the NFL year in and year out, but what stands out most about their dynasty is that it hasn't ended yet, as Brady has continued his excellent production at age 40.
Kobe Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers
Like the NFL’s Patriots, the storied Los Angeles Lakers are also categorized by their multi-numbered superstar Kobe Bryant.
From 1999-2010, Bryant helped the Lakers to seven NBA Finals and won five titles. He also gave coach Phil Jackson five more for his historic coaching career.
The Lakers' dominance began in the early 2000s, when Hall of Fame center Shaquille O'Neal and Bryant helped deliver three-straight NBA Finals championships to Los Angeles from 1999-2002.
Bryant captured two more championships in 2009 and 2010 after NBA Finals wins over the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic.
In this span where the Lakers only missed the playoffs once, Bryant, whether he donned No. 8 or 24, took on a full legend status, giving the Lakers their first title in over a decade.
Unlike many other dynasties, these Lakers have the challenge of being compared to their predecessors in the same uniform, such as the teams of Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Magic Johnson.
However, these Lakers showed that with Bryant, they excelled to a newer status, thanks to a “mamba mentality.”
2007-2017 UConn Women’s Basketball
Arguably the least talked about, yet the most magnificent dynasty, may be linked to women's college basketball: the UConn women's basketball team.
In a decade of excellence, Hall of Fame coach Geno Auriemma has taken college basketball to new heights, with Final Four appearances in the entirety of this span.
The biggest question of this dynasty centers on what aspect is the most remarkable. Achieving six championships in ten years? Having the two longest winning streaks in college basketball history of 90 and 111, respectively?
Regardless, the women’s team has also contributed to WNBA success, which is highlighted by producing three No. 1 overall draft picks in this 10-year span.