The 1995–96 NBA season was the 50th season of the National Basketball Association (NBA), though the 50th anniversary was not celebrated until the following season. The Chicago Bulls defeated the Seattle SuperSonics 4 games to 2 in the NBA Finals to win their fourth championship.
* The NBA established its first Canadian teams, as the Toronto Raptors and the Vancouver Grizzlies made their debuts as the NBA's 28th and 29th franchises. The Grizzlies began play at GM Place (now Rogers Arena) as a member of the Midwest Division while the Raptors set up shop at the SkyDome (now Rogers Centre), with some games also played at Maple Leaf Gardens, as a member of the Central Division. Each franchise won its first game, although Toronto would only win 21 games in the season, and Vancouver 15 games.
* The Chicago Bulls finished the season with a combined regular season and postseason record of 87-13, the best in NBA history. Prior to the start of the NBA Playoffs, the Bulls shocked the basketball world by wearing black socks, claiming this as redemption to the city's most infamous sports moment, the Black Sox Scandal of 1919. The socks would become a Bulls playoff tradition, which other teams soon follow. However, this was not the first time a team or a particular player wore black socks; earlier in the season, Orlando Magic forward Dennis Scott wore black socks while competing in the AT&T Three-Point Shootout at NBA All-Star Weekend.
* The Miami Heat hired Pat Riley as the team's new head coach and president of basketball operations. Riley's first moves were the acquisition of Alonzo Mourning from the Charlotte Hornets for Glen Rice, and the trade for Tim Hardaway from the Golden State Warriors for Kevin Willis. Hardaway and Mourning would turn the struggling Heat into contenders in the coming seasons.
* NBA debuts for four future All-Stars Kevin Garnett, Michael Finley, Rasheed Wallace and Jerry Stackhouse. Toronto Raptors point guard Damon Stoudamire won Rookie of the Year.
* Michael Jordan became the only player to win the NBA Finals MVP Award at least four times. He would also become the second player to earn the MVP trophy since Willis Reed in 1970, having won All-Star, Regular Season and Finals MVP in the same season; an achievement he also accomplished in 1998, and later on by Shaquille O'Neal in 2000.
* Michael Jordan won his NBA record 8th scoring title.
* The Boston Celtics played their first game at the FleetCenter (now TD Garden).
* The 1996 NBA All-Star Game was played at the Alamodome in San Antonio, with the East defeating the West 129–118. Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls was named the game's MVP. Los Angeles Clippers guard Brent Barry won the Slam Dunk Contest.
* Referees were locked out to begin the season, but reached an agreement to return to work in December 1995.
* Following the referee lockout, legendary official Jake O'Donnell retired after 27 seasons (1968-95). O'Donnell, who also was an American League umpire from 1968 to 1971, worked the NBA Finals for 23 consecutive years (1972 through 1994). He remains the only official to work all-star games in two major professional sports.
* Magic Johnson comes out of retirement to play in 32 games for Los Angeles before retiring again at the end of the season.
* The Philadelphia 76ers play their final game at The Spectrum. At the time, it was named the CoreStates Spectrum; the CoreStates name was later added on their future home arena under construction at the time. The 76ers would return to the renamed Wachovia Spectrum for a farewell game in the 2008–09 season before its eventual demolition.
* Hakeem Olajuwon passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the all-time leader in blocked shots in the last game of the season. John Stockton also became the all-time steals and assists leader, passing Maurice Cheeks and Magic Johnson, respectively. Robert Parish also passed Abdul-Jabbar for the most games played in the NBA.
* Portland Trail Blazers' longest sellout streak by any team in professional sports ends at 814, during which the team played its first season at higher-capacity Rose Garden, now the Moda Center.