The Washington Bullets’ 1978 Triumph – A Symphony Of Resilience


In the spring of 1978, the sports world witnessed a spectacle of resilience and determination as the Washington Bullets, led by coach Dick Motta, orchestrated a victory that would resonate through the annals of NBA history. It was a series that culminated in a crescendo of excitement, a Game 7 that saw the Bullets defeat the Seattle SuperSonics 105-99 to claim the NBA Championship, exactly 46 years ago today.

The Bullets’ journey to the championship was not a smooth one. They faced elimination multiple times, but each instance was met with a performance that defied expectations. It was during this nail-biting series that coach Motta, in a moment of poetic inspiration, uttered the phrase that would become synonymous with hope in the face of adversity:


“The opera isn’t over until the fat lady sings.”


This phrase, now etched in the collective memory of basketball fans, was not just a statement of hope; it was a battle cry, a declaration that the Bullets would not go down without a fight. The team rallied behind these words, and their play reflected the tenacity of a group that refused to accept defeat.

The Bullets had finished second in their division, and the odds were stacked against them. Yet, they pushed through the Eastern Conference, toppling teams like the Atlanta Hawks, San Antonio Spurs, and the Philadelphia 76ers to reach the finals. The SuperSonics were formidable opponents, but the Bullets had the indomitable Wes Unseld, whose performance earned him the Finals MVP, and the scoring prowess of Elvin Hayes.

Game 7 was a symphony of strategic plays, with each basket and defense contributing to the final score. The Bullets’ victory was not just a win; it was a testament to their spirit, a narrative of a team that embodied the very essence of Motta’s famous proclamation. They had waited for the metaphorical fat lady to sing, and when she did, it was a song of victory.

The 1978 championship remains a highlight in the Washington Bullets’ franchise history. It was the last time an NBA team won a Finals Game 7 on the road. 

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