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|Founded||January 26, 1966|
|Team colors||Red, Black, White|
|General manager||Gar Forman|
|Head coach||Tom Thibodeau|
|Championships||6 (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998)|
|Conference titles||6 Eastern (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998)|
|Division titles||9 1 Midwest (1975); 8 Central (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2011, 2012)|
|Retired numbers||4 (4, 10, 23, 33)|
|Founded||January 26, 1966|
|Team colors||Red, Black, White|
|General manager||Gar Forman|
|Head coach||Tom Thibodeau|
|Championships||6 (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998)|
|Conference titles||6 Eastern (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998)|
|Division titles||9 1 Midwest (1975); 8 Central (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2011, 2012)|
|Retired numbers||4 (4, 10, 23, 33)|
The Chicago Bulls are a professional basketball team based in Chicago, Illinois, playing in the Central Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association. The team was founded on January 26, 1966. The Bulls play their home games at the United Center, also known as the "Madhouse on Madison." The Bulls saw their greatest success during the 1990s. They are known for having one of the NBA's greatest dynasties, winning six NBA championships between 1991 and 1998 with two three-peats. All six championship teams were led by Hall of Famers Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and coach Phil Jackson. The Bulls are the only NBA franchise to win multiple championships and never lose an NBA Finals in their history.
The Bulls won an NBA record-72 games during the 1995–96 NBA season and are the only team in NBA history to win 70 games or more in a single season. Many experts and analysts consider the 1996 Bulls to be one of the greatest teams in NBA history. As of 2013, the Bulls were estimated to be the third most valuable NBA franchise according to Forbes, with an estimated value of $1 billion, earning an estimated $52.2 million in operating income in 2013. Michael Jordan and Derrick Rose have both won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award while playing for the Bulls, for a total of six MVP awards.
The Bulls share rivalries with the Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons, and more recently the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat. The Bulls/Pistons rivalry was highlighted heavily during the late 1980s and early 90's and is considered one of the NBA's greatest rivalries.
The Chicago Bulls are the third NBA franchise in Chicago, after the Packers–Zephyrs (now the Washington Wizards) and the Stags (1946–50). The Bulls' founder, Dick Klein, was the Bulls' only owner to ever play professional basketball (for the Chicago American Gears). He served as the Bulls' president and general manager in their initial years.
The team started in the 1966–67 NBA season, and posted the best record by an expansion team in NBA history. Coached by Chicagoan and former NBA star Johnny "Red" Kerr, and led by former NBA assist leader Guy Rodgers and forward Bob Boozer, the Bulls qualified for the playoffs, the only NBA team to do so in their first season.
Fan interest was diminishing after four middling seasons, with one game in the 1967-68 NBA season having an official attendance of 891 and some games being played in Kansas City. Eventually in 1969 Klein dropped out of the general manager job and invited Pat Williams, who as the Philadelphia 76ers business manager created promotions that helped the team to be third in attendance the previous season. Williams revamped the team roster, bringing Chet Walker from his old team in exchange for Jim Washington and drafting Norm Van Lier - who ended being traded to the Cincinnati Royals and only joined the Bulls in 1971 - while also investing in promotion, with actions such as creating mascot Benny the Bull. The Bulls under Williams and head coach Dick Motta qualified for four straight playoffs and had attendances grow to over 10,000. In 1972, the Bulls set a franchise win-loss record at 57 wins and 25 losses. During the 1970s, the Bulls relied on Jerry Sloan, forwards Bob Love and Chet Walker, point guard Norm Van Lier, and centers Clifford Ray and Tom Boerwinkle. The team made the conference finals in 1975 but lost to the Golden State Warriors, 4 games to 3.
After four 50-win seasons, Williams returned to Philadelphia, and Motta decided to become GM as well. The Bulls ended up declining, winning only 24 games in the 1975–1976 season. Motta was fired and replaced by Ed Badger.
By the late 1970s, the team had hit the cellar of the league. In 1979, the Bulls lost a coin flip for the right to pick first in the NBA draft (Rod Thorn, the Bulls General Manager, called "heads"). Had the Bulls won the toss, they would have selected the great Magic Johnson; instead, they selected David Greenwood with the second pick. The Los Angeles Lakers selected Johnson with the pick acquired from the New Orleans Jazz, who traded the selection for Gail Goodrich.
After Gilmore was traded to the San Antonio Spurs for center Dave Corzine, the Bulls employed a high-powered offense centered around Theus, and which soon included guards Quintin Dailey and Ennis Whatley. However, with continued dismal results, the Bulls decided to change directions, trading Theus to the Kansas City Kings during the 1983–84 season.
In the summer of 1984 the team's fortunes changed forever when it received the third pick of the 1984 NBA Draft, after Houston and Portland. The Rockets selected Hakeem Olajuwon, the Blazers jumped on Sam Bowie, and the Bulls grabbed shooting guard Michael Jordan. The team, with new management in owner Jerry Reinsdorf and General Manager Jerry Krause, decided to rebuild around Jordan. Jordan set franchise records during his rookie campaign for scoring (3rd in the league) and steals (4th in the league), and led the Bulls back to the playoffs, but lost in four games to the Milwaukee Bucks. For his efforts, he was rewarded with a selection to the All-NBA Second Team and the NBA Rookie of the Year Award.
In the following offseason, the team acquired point guard John Paxson and on draft day traded with the Cavaliers for the rights to power forward Charles Oakley. Along with Jordan and center Dave Corzine, they provided much of the Bulls' offense for the next two years. After suffering a broken foot early in the 1985–86 season, Jordan finished second on the team to Woolridge in scoring. Jordan returned for the playoffs, and took the 8th-place Bulls up against the 67–15 Boston Celtics, led by Larry Bird. At the time, the Bulls had the fifth worst record of any team to qualify for the playoffs in NBA history. Though the Bulls were swept, Jordan recorded a playoff single-game record 63 points in Game 2 (which still stands to this day), prompting Bird to call him 'God disguised as Michael Jordan.'
In the 1986–87 NBA season, Jordan continued his assault on the record books, leading the league in scoring with 37.1 points per game and becoming the first Bull named to the All-NBA First Team. The Bulls finished 40–42, which was good enough to qualify them for the playoffs. However, they were again swept by the Celtics in the playoffs. In the 1987 draft, to address their lack of depth Krause selected center Olden Polynice 8th overall and power forward Horace Grant 10th overall, then sent Polynice to Seattle in a draft-day trade for the 5th selection, small forward Scottie Pippen. With Paxson and Jordan in the backcourt, Brad Sellers and Oakley at the forward spots, Corzine anchoring center, and rookies Pippen and Grant coming off the bench, the Bulls made major noise in the 1987–88 season, winning 50 games and advancing to the Eastern Conference Semifinals, where they were beaten by the eventual Eastern Conference Champions Detroit Pistons in five games. However, for his efforts, Jordan was named NBA Most Valuable Player, an award he would win four more times over his career. The 1987–88 season would also mark the start of the Pistons-Bulls rivalry which was formed from 1988 to 1991.
The 1988–89 season marked a second straight year of major off-season moves. Popular power forward Charles Oakley, who had led the league in total rebounds in both '87 and '88, was traded on the eve of the 1988 draft to the New York Knicks along with a Round 1 draft pick used by the Knicks on Rod Strickland for center Bill Cartwright and a 1st round draft pick which the Bulls used to obtain center Will Perdue. In addition, the Bulls acquired three-point specialist Craig Hodges from Phoenix. The new starting lineup of Paxson, Jordan, Pippen, Grant, and Cartwright took some time to mesh, winning fewer games than the previous season, but made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they were subdued in six games by the eventual NBA champion Pistons.
In 1989–90, Jordan led the league in scoring for the fourth straight season, and was joined on the all-star squad for the first time by Scottie Pippen. There was also a major change on the sidelines, where head coach Doug Collins was replaced by assistant Phil Jackson. The Bulls also picked up rookie center Stacey King and rookie point guard B.J. Armstrong in the 1989 draft. With these additional players and the previous year's starting five, the Bulls again made it to the Conference Finals, and pushed the Pistons to seven games before being edged out for the third straight year, who would go on to repeat as NBA champions.
By the 1990–91 season, the Bulls charged through the year with a mission. They recorded a then-franchise record 61 wins, and romped through the playoffs, where they swept the defending champion Pistons in the Conference Finals and won the Finals in 5 games over the Magic Johnson-led Los Angeles Lakers on June 12, 1991.
In 1992–93 the Bulls did what no team had done since the legendary Celtics of the '60s by chalking up the three-peat over regular season MVP Charles Barkley and the Phoenix Suns, with John Paxson's 3-pointer with 3.9 seconds left that gave them a 99–98 victory in Game 6 in Phoenix.
During the fall of 1993, Michael Jordan shocked the basketball community by announcing his retirement, only months after learning of his father's murder. The Bulls were then led by Scottie Pippen, who established himself as one of the top players in the league by winning the 1994 All-Star MVP. He received help from Horace Grant and B.J. Armstrong, who were named to their first all-star games. The three were assisted by Cartwright, Perdue, shooting guard Pete Myers, and Croatian rookie forward Toni Kukoč. Despite the Bulls winning 55 games during the 1993–94 season, they were beaten in seven games by the Knicks in the second round of the playoffs, after a controversial foul call by referee Hue Hollins in game 5 of that series. The Knicks eventually reached the finals that year, but lost to the Houston Rockets. The Bulls opened the 1994–95 season by leaving their home of 27 years, Chicago Stadium, and moving into their current home, the United Center.
In 1994, the Bulls lost Horace Grant, Bill Cartwright, and Scott Williams to free agency, and John Paxson to retirement, but picked up shooting guard Ron Harper, the seeming heir-apparent to Michael Jordan in Assistant Coach Tex Winter's triple-post offense, and small-forward Jud Buechler. The Bulls sported the look of Armstrong and Harper in the backcourt, Pippen and Kukoc at the forward spots, and Perdue at center. They also had sharpshooter Steve Kerr, whom they acquired via free agency before the 1993–94 season, Myers, and centers Luc Longley (acquired via trade in 1994 from the Minnesota Timberwolves) and Bill Wennington. However, they were slumping during the season, when on March 17, 1995, they received the news that Michael Jordan was coming out of retirement. He scored 55 points against the Knicks in only his fifth game back, and led the Bulls to the fifth seed in the playoffs, where they upset the Charlotte Hornets. However, Jordan and the Bulls were unable to overcome the eventual Eastern Conference champion Orlando Magic, which included Horace Grant, Anfernee Hardaway, and Shaquille O'Neal. When Jordan returned to the Bulls, he initially wore No. 45 (which was his number while playing for the Birmingham Barons, a minor-league affiliate of the Chicago White Sox). He chose the No. 45 because his older brother Larry wore that number in high school. Michael wanted to be half as good as his brother so he chose 23 which is half of 45 (22.5) rounded up. However, Jordan switched back to the familiar 23 before game 2 of the Orlando Magic series.
In the offseason, the Bulls lost Armstrong in the expansion draft, and Krause traded Will Perdue to the San Antonio Spurs for the aggressive and often controversial rebounding specialist Dennis Rodman, who had won the past four rebounding titles, and who had also been a member of the Detroit Pistons' "Bad Boys" squad that served as the Bulls' chief nemesis in the late 1980s.
With a lineup of Harper, Jordan, Pippen, Rodman and Longley, and perhaps the league's best bench in Kerr, Kukoc, Wennington, Buechler, and guard Randy Brown the Bulls posted one of the best single-season improvements in league history and the best single-season record, moving from 47–35 to 72–10, which remains the best record in NBA history. Jordan won his eighth scoring title, and Rodman his fifth straight rebounding title, while Kerr finished second in the league in three-point shooting percentage. Jordan garnered the elusive triple crown with the regular season MVP, All-star Game MVP, and Finals MVP. Krause was named Executive of the Year, Jackson Coach of the Year, and Kukoc the Sixth Man of the Year. Both Pippen and Jordan made the All-NBA First Team, and Jordan, Pippen, and Rodman made the All-Defensive First Team, making the Bulls the only team in history with three players on the All-Defensive First Team.
In addition, the 1995–96 squad holds several other records, including the best road record in a standard 41-road-game season (33–8), the all-time best start by a team (41–3), the longest home winning streak (44 games, 7 from previous season), and the best start at home (37–0). The Bulls also posted the second-best home record in history (39–2), behind only the 1985–86 Celtics 40–1 home mark, and the second-best point differential in history, trailing the 1972 Lakers by 3 points over the course of an entire season. The team triumphed over Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp and the Seattle SuperSonics for their fourth title. The 1995–96 Chicago Bulls are widely regarded as one of the greatest teams in the history of basketball.
In the 1996–97 season, the Bulls narrowly missed out on a second consecutive 70-win season by losing their final two games to finish 69–13. They repeated their home dominance, going 39–2 at the United Center. The Bulls capped the season by winning their fifth NBA championship over John Stockton, Karl Malone and the Utah Jazz. Jordan earned his second straight and ninth career scoring title, while Rodman earned his sixth straight rebounding title. Jordan and Pippen, along with Robert Parish, who was a member of the Bulls at the time, were also honored as members of the 50 greatest players of all-time with the NBA celebrating its 50th season. Parish, whose single season with the Bulls would be his last year in the league, was nominated for his stellar career with the Boston Celtics.
The 1997–98 season was one of turmoil for the NBA champion Bulls. Many speculated this would be Michael Jordan's final season with the team. Phil Jackson's future with the team was also questionable, as his relationship with team general manager Jerry Krause was one of growing tension. Scottie Pippen was looking for a significant contract extension that he thought he deserved, but was not getting from the organization. In spite of the turmoil that surrounded the Bulls, they still had a remarkable season, with a final regular-season record of 62–20. Michael Jordan would be named the league MVP for the fifth and final time, and the Bulls went into the playoffs as the number one seed in the Eastern Conference.
The first round of the playoffs for the Bulls was against the New Jersey Nets, a team led by Kendall Gill and Sam Cassell. The Bulls swept the Nets three to nothing in a best of five series. The conference semi-finals were more challenging with the Charlotte Hornets stealing game two from the Bulls at the United Center, and tying the series 1–1. But the Bulls easily defeated the Hornets in the next three games of the series. The Conference Finals was a challenge for the Bulls as they went up against the Reggie Miller-led Indiana Pacers. Experts were of the opinion that the Pacers had the best chance to defeat the Bulls. The Pacers gave the Bulls no road wins, winning games 3, 4, and 6, sending the series to a deciding game seven at the United Center. The Bulls prevailed and beat the Pacers 88–83, winning their 6th Eastern Conference Championship.
In a much anticipated Finals, The Bulls faced the team they beat the previous year, the Utah Jazz. Led by Karl Malone and John Stockton, the Jazz felt confident that they could defeat the Bulls, winning game one at Utah's Delta Center. Facing a potential two to nothing deficit, the Bulls won Game 2 at the Delta Center and tied the series. The Bulls returned to the United Center and, by winning the next two games, took a 3–1 series lead. The Jazz won Game 5 by two points, 83–81. Game 6 was a tough battle for both teams, as the Jazz had a lead late in the game. Down by three points to the Jazz, Michael Jordan led the Bulls to one final win. Jordan hit a driving layup to bring the Bulls within 1, then stole the ball from Karl Malone and hit the game winning shot with 5.2 seconds remaining on the clock. With a score of 87–86, John Stockton put up a three-pointer, but missed, sealing the Bulls' sixth championship in eight years. Jordan would be named the Finals MVP for the sixth time in his career. He retired for the second time on January 13, 1999.
The summer of 1998 brought an abrupt end to the championship era. Krause felt that the Bulls were on the verge of being too old and unable to compete. He decided that the team's only choices were to rebuild or endure a slow decline. His plan was to trade away the aging talent and acquire high draft picks while clearing salary cap space to make a run at several promising free agents in two years' time. After having been vetoed in a previous attempt by owner Jerry Reinsdorf, Krause traded Scottie Pippen for Roy Rogers (who was released in February 1999) and a conditional second-round draft pick from the Houston Rockets. He also decided not to re-sign Dennis Rodman, and traded Luc Longley and Steve Kerr for other draft picks. He hired a new coach, Tim Floyd, who had run a successful program at Iowa State University. Upon Phil Jackson's departure, Michael Jordan made his second retirement official. With a new starting lineup of point guard Randy Brown, shooting guard Ron Harper, newcomer Brent Barry at small forward, power forward Toni Kukoc, and center Bill Wennington, the team began the lockout-shortened 1998–99 season. Kukoc led the team in scoring, rebounding, and assists, but the team won only 13 of 50 games. The lowest point of the season came on April 10 in a game against the Miami Heat. In that game, the Bulls scored 49 points to set an NBA record for the fewest points in a game in the shot clock era.
The previous year's dismal finish came with one highlight: the team won the draft lottery and the rights to power forward Elton Brand. Since the team lost Harper, Wennington and Barry in the offseason, Brand and fellow rookie Ron Artest led the team throughout the year, especially after Kukoc missed most of the season due to injury and was then dealt for a draft pick at the trading deadline. Brand recorded the first 20–10 average for the Bulls since the days of Artis Gilmore. He led all rookies in scoring, rebounds, blocks, field goal percentage and minutes, while Artest led all rookies in steals and finished second on the team in scoring. For his efforts Brand was named 1999–2000 co-Rookie of the Year with Houston's Steve Francis, and to the all-rookie first team, while Artest was named to the all-rookie second team. However, the team established a franchise low at 17–65, second worst in the league.
After a summer in which the Bulls witnessed most major and minor free agents Tim Duncan, Grant Hill, Tracy McGrady, Eddie Jones and even Tim Thomas choose to stay with their teams (or go elsewhere) rather than sign with them, Krause signed free agent center Brad Miller and shooting guard Ron Mercer, and drafted power forward Marcus Fizer and traded draft pick Chris Mihm to Cleveland for the rights of guard Jamal Crawford. Brand again led the team in scoring and rebounds with another 20–10 season, but the new acquisitions failed to make a major impact, and they finished with the worst record in team history and the league's worst for the season at 15–67.
Krause shocked Bulls fans on draft day in 2001 when he traded franchise player Brand to the Los Angeles Clippers for the second pick in the draft, Tyson Chandler. He also selected Eddy Curry with the fourth pick. Since both Chandler and Curry came straight out of high school, neither was expected to make much of a contribution for several years, but they were seen as potential franchise players. The team floundered without veteran leadership. At mid-season, the Bulls traded their top three scorers—Mercer, Artest, and Miller along with Kevin Ollie—to the Indiana Pacers for veteran guard Jalen Rose, Travis Best and Norman Richardson. There was also a change in coaching, with Floyd being dismissed in favor of assistant coach and former Bulls co-captain Bill Cartwright, following a series of arguments with players and management. The Bulls improved from 15 to 21 wins, although they were still tied for last in the league.
For the 2002–03 season, the Bulls came to play with much optimism. They picked up college phenom Jay Williams with the second pick in the draft. Williams teamed with Jalen Rose, Crawford, Fizer, newcomer Donyell Marshall, Curry, Chandler, and guard Trenton Hassell to form a young and exciting nucleus which improved to 30–52 in Bill Cartwright's first full season as head coach. Curry led the league in field goal percentage, becoming the first Bull since Jordan to lead the league in a major statistical category.
During the summer of 2003, long-time GM Jerry Krause retired, and former player and color commentator John Paxson was tapped as his successor. Jay Williams, coming off a promising rookie campaign, was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident. His contract was bought out by the Bulls in February 2004 and he has yet to return to the game. Paxson selected point guard Kirk Hinrich with the seventh pick in the draft, and signed veteran free agent and former franchise player Scottie Pippen. With Pippen playing, Cartwright at the sidelines, and Paxson in the front office, the Bulls hoped that some of the championship magic from before would return.
However, the 2003–04 season was a resounding disappointment. Eddy Curry regressed, leading to questions about his conditioning and commitment. Tyson Chandler was plagued by a chronic back injury, missing more than thirty games. Pippen's ability to influence games was impaired by knee problems, and he openly contemplated retirement. Jamal Crawford remained inconsistent. Bill Cartwright was fired as head coach in December and replaced with former Phoenix coach Scott Skiles. A trade with the Toronto Raptors brought Antonio Davis and Jerome Williams in exchange for Rose and Marshall in what was seen as a major shift in team strategy from winning with athleticism to winning with hard work and defense. After struggling throughout the season, the Bulls finished with 23 wins and 59 losses, the second-worst record in the league. Fizer was not re-signed, and Crawford was re-signed and traded to the Knicks for expiring contracts. Hinrich provided the lone bright spot, becoming a fan favorite for his gritty determination and tenacious defense. He won a place on the All-Rookie first team.
During the 2004 offseason, Paxson traded a 2005 draft pick to the Phoenix Suns in return for an additional pick in the 2004 NBA Draft. He used the picks to select Connecticut guard Ben Gordon and Duke small forward Luol Deng in the first round, and Duke point guard Chris Duhon in the second. Paxson also signed free agent small forward Andrés Nocioni, who had recently won an Olympic gold medal as a member of the Argentine national team. After losing the first nine games of the season, the Bulls began to show signs of improvement behind their improved team defense and clutch fourth-quarter play from Gordon. The Bulls, who were 0–9 to start the season, finished the regular season 47–35, with the third-best record in the Eastern Conference and advanced to the NBA playoffs for the first time since Jordan's departure. In the first round, the 4th-seeded Bulls played the Washington Wizards. The Bulls opened the series with two wins at home, but lost the next four games and the series. After the season, Ben Gordon became the first rookie to win the NBA Sixth Man Award and the first Bull to win the award since 1996 with Toni Kukoč.
During the 2005 offseason, the Bulls re-signed free agent Tyson Chandler. However, Curry showed possible symptoms of a heart disease resulting of a heart murmur during checkups, and Paxson would not clear him to play without extensive DNA testing. Ultimately, Curry refused to participate in the tests, and he was traded along with Antonio Davis to the New York Knicks for Michael Sweetney, Tim Thomas, and what became the second pick of the 2006 NBA Draft—as well as the right to swap picks with New York in the 2007 NBA Draft.
Without a significant post presence, the Bulls struggled for most of the 2005–06 season. However, a late-season 12–2 surge allowed them to finish 41–41 and qualify for the 2006 playoffs as the seventh seed. There, the Bulls faced the Miami Heat. After two close losses in Miami, the Bulls broke through with a blowout win in Game 3, and another win in Game 4. However, the Heat took the next two games to win the series and went on to win that year's championship. The Bulls' several young players nevertheless earned additional postseason experience, and Nocioni turned in a remarkable series of performances that far exceeded his season averages.
In the 2006 NBA Draft, the Bulls were awarded forward-center LaMarcus Aldridge and immediately traded him to the Portland Trail Blazers for forward Tyrus Thomas and forward Viktor Khryapa. In a second draft-day trade, the Bulls selected Rodney Carney and traded him to the Philadelphia 76ers for guard Thabo Sefolosha. Later that summer, four-time Defensive Player of the Year Ben Wallace signed with the Bulls for a reported four-year, $60 million contract. Following the signing of Wallace, the Bulls traded Tyson Chandler, the last remaining player of the Krause era, to the (then) New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets for veteran power forward P.J. Brown and J.R. Smith and salary cap space that was used to sign former Chicago co-captain Adrian Griffin.
In 2006–07, the Bulls overcame a 3–9 season start to finish 49–33, the third-best record in the Eastern Conference. In the first round, the Bulls again faced Miami, the defending NBA champions. The Bulls narrowly won Game 1 at home, then followed it with a blowout victory in Game 2. In Miami, the Bulls rallied from a 12-point second-half deficit to win Game 3 and then posted another comeback win in Game 4. The Bulls' four-game sweep of the defending champions stunned many NBA observers. It was Chicago's first playoff series victory since 1998, Jordan's last season with the team.
The Bulls then advanced to face the Detroit Pistons, marking the first time the Central Division rivals had met in the playoffs since 1991. The Pistons won the first three games including a big comeback in Game 3. No NBA team had ever come back from a 0–3 deficit to win the series, but the Bulls avoided a sweep by winning Game 4 by 10 points. The Bulls then easily won Game 5 in Detroit, and had a chance to make NBA history. But they lost at home in game 6 by 10, and the Pistons won the series 4–2 on May 17.
During the off season, the Bulls signed forward Joe Smith and guard Adrian Griffin, and drafted center Joakim Noah. However, distractions began when Luol Deng and Ben Gordon turned down contract extensions, never citing reasons. Then rumors surfaced that the Bulls were pursuing stars like Kevin Garnett, Pau Gasol, and most notably, Kobe Bryant. None of these deals happened, and general manager John Paxson denied a deal was ever imminent.
The Bulls started the 2007–08 NBA season by losing 10 of their first 12 games and on December 24, 2007, after a 9–16 start, the Bulls fired head coach Scott Skiles. Jim Boylan was named the interim head coach on December 27, 2007.
On February 21, 2008, Ben Wallace, Joe Smith, Adrian Griffin and the Bulls' 2009 2nd round draft pick were exchanged for Drew Gooden, Cedric Simmons, Larry Hughes and Shannon Brown in a three-team trade deal involving the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Seattle SuperSonics. Boylan was not retained on April 17 at the conclusion of the 2007–08 season after compiling a 24–32 record with the Bulls. The Bulls ended the 2007–08 campaign with a 33–49 record, a complete reversal of last year's record.
After Jim Boylan's interim tenure expired, the Bulls began the process of selecting a new head coach. They were in talks with former Phoenix head coach Mike D'Antoni, but on May 10, 2008, he signed with the New York Knicks. Other possible options included former Dallas head coach Avery Johnson and former Bulls head coach Doug Collins. Collins resigned from the coaching list on June 4, 2008, reporting that he did not want to ruin his friendship with Jerry Reinsdorf.
On June 10, 2008, the Chicago Bulls G.M. John Paxson hired Vinny Del Negro, with no coaching experience, to coach the young Bulls. On July 3, 2008, the Chicago Tribune reported that Del Harris agreed to become an assistant coach for the Chicago Bulls along with former Charlotte Bobcats head coach Bernie Bickerstaff and longtime NBA assistant Bob Ociepka. Along with Bickerstaff and Ociepka, Harris helped establish a veteran presence on the coaching staff and helped rookie head coach Del Negro.
With a slim 1.7% chance of winning the rights to draft number 1, the Bulls won the 2008 NBA Draft Lottery and selected first overall. With this, the Bulls became the team with the lowest chance of winning to ever win the lottery since it was modified for the 1994 NBA Draft, and second lowest ever. On June 26, 2008, the Bulls drafted Chicago native Derrick Rose from the University of Memphis as the number 1 draft pick. At pick number 39 they selected Sonny Weems. The Bulls later traded Weems to the Denver Nuggets for Denver's 2009 regular second-round draft pick. The Bulls then acquired Ömer Aşık from the Portland Trail Blazers (selected with the 36th pick) for Denver's 2009 regular second-round draft pick, New York's 2009 regular second-round draft pick, and the Bulls' 2010 regular second-round draft pick. The Bulls re-signed Luol Deng to a six-year $71 million contract on July 30, 2008. He was later plagued with an injury keeping him from action for most of the 2008–2009 season. Ben Gordon signed a one-year contract on October 2, 2008.
On February 18, 2009, the Bulls made their first of several trades, sending Andres Nocioni, Drew Gooden, Cedric Simmons,and Michael Ruffin to the Sacramento Kings for Brad Miller and John Salmons. Then on February 19, 2009, the NBA trade deadline, the Bulls traded Larry Hughes to the New York Knicks for Tim Thomas, Jerome James, and Anthony Roberson. Later that day the Bulls made the third trade in a span of less than 24 hours by sending swingman Thabo Sefolosha to the Oklahoma City Thunder for a 2009 first-round pick. The trades brought a late-season push for the Bulls, which finally clinched a playoff berth on April 10, 2009, their fourth in the last five years. They finished the season with a 41–41 record. Their record was good enough to secure a No. 7 seed in the 2009 NBA Playoffs, playing a tough series against the Boston Celtics. In Game 1, Derrick Rose scored 36 points, along with 11 assists, tying Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's record for most points scored by a rookie in a playoff debut. After breaking the record for most overtimes played in a NBA Playoffs Series, the Boston Celtics managed to overcome the Bulls after 7 games and 7 overtimes played.
The Bulls had two 1st round picks in the 2009 NBA Draft and decided to take Wake Forest stand out forward James Johnson and athletic USC forward Taj Gibson. In the 2009 NBA off-season the Bulls lost their leading scorer, Ben Gordon, when he signed with their divisional rival, the Detroit Pistons.
On February 18, 2010, John Salmons was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks for Joe Alexander and Hakim Warrick. Meanwhile, Tyrus Thomas was traded to the Charlotte Bobcats for Acie Law, Flip Murray and a future protected first round pick. On April 14, 2010, the Bulls clinched the playoffs with the number 8 seed. Unlike the previous year, however, the Bulls' playoff run was shorter and less dramatic as they were eliminated by the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games. On May 4, 2010, the Bulls officially fired head coach Vinny Del Negro.
In early June 2010, Boston Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau accepted a three-year contract to fill the Bulls' head coaching vacancy. He was officially introduced on June 23, 2010. On July 7, 2010, it was revealed that Carlos Boozer of the Utah Jazz had verbally agreed to an $80 million, five-year contract. Afterwards, the Bulls traded veteran point guard Kirk Hinrich to the Washington Wizards to create more cap space. The Bulls also signed former 76er and Jazz sharpshooter Kyle Korver to a 3 year, $15 million contract. The same day that the Chicago Bulls signed Kyle Korver, they signed Turkish All-Star Ömer Aşık. After being matched by the Orlando Magic for J.J. Redick they signed their third free agent from the Jazz in the off-season in shooting guard Ronnie Brewer, traded for former Warrior point guard C.J. Watson, and signed former Bucks power forward Kurt Thomas as well as former Spurs player Keith Bogans and former Celtics player Brian Scalabrine.
Rose had one of the best seasons in recent league history, earning himself the 2011 NBA MVP Award, therefore becoming the youngest player in NBA history to win it. He became the first Bulls player since Michael Jordan to win the award. As a team, Chicago finished the regular season with an NBA league-best 62–20 record and clinched the first seed in the Eastern Conference for the first time since 1998. The Bulls entered the playoffs, and defeated the Indiana Pacers and the Atlanta Hawks in five and six games, respectively. They then reached the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 1998, and faced the Miami Heat. After winning the first game of the series by a substantial amount, they lost the next four games to Miami, ending their 2010–2011 season.
During the off-season, the Bulls drafted Jimmy Butler 30th overall in the 2011 NBA draft. After the NBA lockout ended, the Bulls lost Kurt Thomas to free agency, and released Keith Bogans. The Bulls signed veteran shooting guard Richard "Rip" Hamilton to a three-year deal, after he was waived by the Detroit Pistons. The Bulls also gave MVP Derrick Rose a 5-year contract extension worth $94.8 million.
Derrick Rose was voted as a NBA All-Star starter for the second consecutive year, and was the third leading vote getter overall behind Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant. Luol Deng was also selected as a reserve for the Eastern Conference. This was the first time that the Bulls had two all stars since 1997, when Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen were the duo. Derrick Rose was injured for most of the 2011–12 NBA season; however, the team was still able to finish with a 50–16 record and clinched the first seed in the Eastern Conference for the second straight year and the best overall record in the NBA (tied with the San Antonio Spurs). Rose suffered a new injury when he tore his ACL during the 4th quarter of the first playoff game on April 28, 2012, against the Philadelphia 76ers and missed the rest of the series. Head coach Tom Thibodeau was criticized for keeping Rose in the game even though the Bulls were essentially minutes away from their victory over the 76ers. The Bulls lost the next three games, and also lost Noah to a foot injury after he severely rolled his ankle stepping on Andre Iguodala's foot in Game 3; he briefly returned for part of the fourth quarter of that game, but missed the following games in the series. After winning Game 5 at home, Bulls were eliminated by the 76ers in Game 6 in Philadelphia, becoming the fifth team in NBA history to be eliminated as a first seed by an eighth seed. In Game 6, Andre Iguodala sank two free throws with 2.2 seconds left to put the 76ers up 79-78 after getting fouled by Ömer Aşık, who had missed two free throws five seconds earlier. At the end of the season, Boozer and Aşık were the only members on the Bulls' roster to have played in every game, with Korver and Brewer missing one game apiece. In the offseason, the Bulls gave up Lucas to the Toronto Raptors, Brewer to the New York Knicks, Korver to the Atlanta Hawks, Watson to the Brooklyn Nets and Aşık to the Houston Rockets, but brought back Kirk Hinrich. In addition, they added Marco Belinelli, Vladimir Radmanovic, Nazr Mohammed and Nate Robinson to the roster via free agency.
Rose missed the entire 2012–13 season, but despite his absence, the Bulls finished 47-35, second in the Central Division (behind the Indiana Pacers) and 5th in their conference. They defeated the Brooklyn Nets 4-3 (after leading 3-1) in the first round of the playoffs and lost to the Miami Heat 4–1 in the next round.
During the season, the Bulls snapped both Miami's 27-game winning streak and the New York Knicks' 13-game winning streak, becoming the second team in NBA history to snap two winning streaks of 13 games or more in a season.
Just 10 games into the 2013-14 season, Derrick Rose would tear his medial meniscus on a non-contact play. He declared he would miss the remainder of the season. On January 7, 2014, veteran forward Luol Deng was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers for center Andrew Bynum and a set of picks. Bynum was immediately waived after the trade went through.
The Bulls' main division rivals have been the Detroit Pistons ever since the Jordan-led Bulls met the "Bad Boy" Pistons in the 1988 Eastern Conference semifinals. The two teams met in the playoffs four consecutive years, with the Pistons winning each time until 1991. The Eastern Conference Finals in 1991 ended with a four game sweep of the Pistons, who walked off the floor with time still on the game clock. The rivalry was renewed in the 2007 Eastern Conference Semifinals, in which former Detroit cornerstone Ben Wallace met his former team (the Pistons won in 6 games). The geographic proximity and membership in the Central Division further intensify the rivalry, which has been characterized by intense, physical play ever since the teams met in the late 1980s. Chicago fans have been known to have a disliking for Detroit professional teams, as it was in the same division as Chicago in all four major North American sports until recently when the Red Wings moved to the Eastern Conference for the 2013-14 season. "Detroit Sucks" is commonly chanted when playing any team in Detroit.
The Bulls and the Indiana Pacers' rivalry begins with the two playing in the Central Division. This rivalry is best known from the match-ups in the 1990s in which Michael Jordan and Reggie Miller would go head-to-head. The Bulls and Pacers met in the 1998 Eastern Conference Finals. Chicago won the series in seven games. The rivalry was renewed when the two teams faced each other in the first round of the 2011 NBA Playoffs, with the Bulls winning the series in five games.
Another franchise that the Bulls have competed fiercely with is the New York Knicks. The two met in the playoffs in four consecutive years (1991–94) and again in 1996, with the teams' series twice (1992 and 1994) going the full seven games. Their first playoff confrontation, however, came in 1989 when both teams were called "teams on the rise" under Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing, respectively. That first confrontation would belong to Chicago within six games of the Eastern Semifinals. The Bulls triumphed in the first three years (1991–93) before narrowly losing in 1994 but exacted revenge in 1996. As with Detroit, the historic rivalry between the cities has led to animosity between the teams and occasionally their fans.
The Bulls and the Miami Heat rivalry began once the Heat became contenders during the 1990s, a decade dominated by the Bulls. They were eliminated 3 times by Chicago, who went on to win the title each time. The rivalry has come back due to the return of the Bulls to the playoffs in the post-Michael Jordan era and the emergence of Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose. The revived rivalry has been very physical, involving rough plays and hard fouls between players, most notably the actions of former Heat player James Posey. The Bulls and Heat met in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals, with the Heat winning in 5 games. On March 27, 2013, Chicago snapped Miami's 27-game winning streak. The Bulls and Heat met later that year in the 2013 Eastern Conference Semifinals. Miami won the series 4–1.
During the Bulls' run of dominance, the player introductions became world famous. Longtime announcer Tommy Edwards was the first to use "Sirius", "On The Run" and other songs in game presentation in the NBA. When Edwards moved to Boston for employment with CBS Radio, he was replaced by Ray Clay in 1990, and Clay continued many of the traditional aspects of the Bulls introductions, including the music, The Alan Parsons Project's "Sirius", for all six championship runs. The lights are first dimmed during the visiting team introduction, accompanied by "The Imperial March" from Star Wars composed by John Williams, or "On the Run" by Pink Floyd. Then virtually all lights in the stadium are shut off for the Bulls introduction, and a spotlight illuminates each player as he is introduced and runs onto the court; the spotlight is also focused on the Bulls logo prior to the introductions. Since the move to the United Center, lasers and fireworks have been added, and with improvements to the arena's White Way video screen, computer graphics on the stadium monitors have been added. These graphics feature the 3D-animated 'Running of the Bulls' en route to the United Center, along the way smashing a bus featuring the opposing team's logo. Coincidentally, Alan Parsons wrote "Sirius" for his own band and was the sound engineer for "On the Run" from Pink Floyd's album The Dark Side of the Moon.
Traditionally, the players have been introduced in the following order: small forward, power forward, center, point guard, shooting guard. Thus during the championship era, Scottie Pippen was usually the first (or second) Bulls player introduced, and Michael Jordan the last. (Pippen and Jordan are the only players to play on all six Bulls championship teams.) More recently with Derrick Rose's arrival, the guards have been reversed in order, making the Chicago-bred point guard the last player introduced. Although internal disputes eventually led to the dismissal of Clay, the Bulls in 2006 announced the return of Tommy Edwards as the announcer.
As part of Edwards' return, the introductions changed as a new introduction was developed by Andy and Larry Wachowski, Ethan Stoller and Jamie Poindexter, all from Chicago. The introduction also included a newly composed remix of the traditional Sirius theme.
The Bulls have an unofficial tradition of wearing black shoes (regardless of being home or away) during the playoffs, which dates all the way back to 1989 when they debuted the tradition. Then-Bulls backup center Brad Sellers suggested to wear black shoes as a way to show unity within the team. For the 1996 playoffs, they became the first team to wear black socks with the black shoes, similar to the University of Michigan and the Fab Five which started the trend in college earlier in the decade. Since, many teams have this look in both the regular season and playoffs. It was noted when the Bulls made their first playoff appearance during the 2004–05 season after a six-year hiatus, they continued the tradition and wore black shoes.
Even though the Bulls generally wear black footwear in the playoffs since 1989, there have been some notable exceptions. In the 1995 playoffs against the Magic, when Michael Jordan debuted his Air Jordan XI shoe, he wore the white colorway during the Bulls' playoff games in Orlando. He was fined by the Bulls for not complying with their colorway policy. During the 2009 playoffs, the Bulls again broke the tradition when all of their players wore white shoes and socks in Game 3 of the first round against the Boston Celtics. In the 2011 playoffs, several players such as Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah sported red shoes in defiance of the tradition.
The Bulls and their arena mates, the Chicago Blackhawks, share an odd tradition dating back decades. Every fall, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus comes to Chicago on its nationwide tour. Since this circus plays large venues instead of tents, it takes over the United Center for its entire run and the Bulls are forced, along with the Blackhawks, to take an extended road trip that usually lasts two weeks. The start of the "circus trip", as many sportscasters have dubbed it, is usually noted on shows such as SportsCenter.
Dick Klein wanted a name that evoked Chicago's traditional meat packing industry and the Chicago Stadium's proximity to the Union Stock Yards. Klein considered names like Matadors or Toreadors, but dismissed them, saying, "If you think about it, no team with as many as three syllables in its nickname has ever had much success except for the [Montreal Canadiens]." After discussing possible names with his family, Klein settled on Bulls when his son Mark said, "Dad, that’s a bunch of bull!"
The iconic Bulls' logo is a charging red bull's face. The logo was designed by noted American graphic designer Dean P. Wessel and was adopted in 1966. At one point, the Bulls also had an alternate logo during the early 70s, featuring the same Bulls logo, but with a cloud that says "Windy City" below the bull's nose.
The Bulls have three different uniforms: a white home uniform, a red road uniform, and a black alternate road uniform. The design of the white and red sets are nearly identical, with the team name featured on the front over the number, and the player's last name over the number on the back and under the Bulls' logo. The shorts have the Bulls logo in a diamond shaped design on the sides of the legs. The red and white uniforms have remained mostly unchanged since 1966, with minor modifications from off-centered numbers, drop shadows and side stripes to a cursive "Chicago" lettering on the road uniforms. The present red/white uniform design was unveiled in the 1985–86 season, first using screen printing (with the player names in block lettering without the additional trim), before returning to the traditional sewing methods (player names are in serifed block lettering and with added trim). The Bulls logo was added atop the player's name in 2004. The less-often used black uniform (often used about 10 times per season) shares the same design as the white and the red ones, except that "Bulls" is replaced with "Chicago" on the front of the jersey. Black jerseys were first introduced during Chicago's 72-win run in the 1995–96 NBA season, and shared a similar design to the Bulls' regular road and home uniforms except that they featured pinstripes and a diamond that was not featured around the Bulls' logo in the shorts. This design was resurrected as part of the NBA Hardwood Classics Nights program, as well as NBA Heritage Week presentations (December 7–14, 2007) throughout the 2007–08 season. The black pinstriped uniform was used again for Hardwood Classics Night during the 2012–13 season as part of the NBA's tribute to the 1990s during the month of February. In the 1997–98 NBA season the pinstripes were removed. In 1999 "Chicago" replaced "Bulls" above the number in the jersey front. Beginning in the 2006-07 NBA season, the player's name on the back of the alternate jersey changed its color to white from the red/white combination, and the red diamond was added to surround the logo in the sides of the shorts. The player's name was reverted to the red/white combo in the 2007–08 NBA season.
The Bulls wear white shoes at home during the regular season, but black shoes on the road and black shoes all throughout the playoffs, both at home and on the road. The unofficial playoff tradition goes back to the Jordan era, recommended by Brad Sellers as a show of team unity. The Bulls also wear only their red uniform on the road during the playoffs. During the 2008–09 season and first three games of the playoffs, however, the Bulls wore black sneakers on away games only while wearing white sneakers on home games. Since the 2009–10 season, however, the NBA has relaxed its rules on specific sneaker colors on home and away games, and several Bulls players are seen wearing white sneakers on the road, or black at home during the regular season, even seen wearing red on occasion.
In 2006 the Bulls were one of three teams to take part in the NBA's first ever St. Patrick's Day uniform program (with the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks). The program consisted of the teams wearing specially designed green uniforms. For the program The Bulls' changed their red road uniforms to green while maintaining the traditional red and black bull's head on the shorts and the back of the jersey as well as the wording of "Bulls" on the front remaining black. The Bulls wore these uniforms on March 18 against the Miami Heat.
The following year the Bulls once again participated in the St. Patrick's Day uniform program altering their road jerseys in the same way as before. This time the special edition uniforms were worn twice by the Bulls: once on March 13 at home against the Celtics and then again on March 17 in Memphis versus the Grizzlies. In the 2007–08 season they wore them on March 17, 2008 (at New Orleans) and March 18, 2008 (vs. New Jersey). In the 2008–09 season, they wore the uniforms on March 17, 2009, against Boston.
For 2014, the Bulls wore a sleeved version of their St. Patrick's uniforms, but with the lettering in white with black trim and the city name featured in front.
The Bulls also participated in the NBA's "Noche Latina" celebrations throughout March, beginning in 2009. They used a slightly altered version of their regular red road uniforms, with the wording "Los Bulls" to honor Hispanics throughout Chicago. During the NBA's "Green Week" celebrations, the Bulls also wore green uniforms, but with a slightly darker shade from their St. Patrick's Day counterparts. They used their black alternate uniforms as its template. They donned the uniforms in a game against the Philadelphia 76ers on April 9, 2009. In 2014, the Bulls' Noche Latina jerseys were modified, featuring sleeves and 'Los Bulls' in white with red and black trim.
Benny the Bull is the main mascot of the Chicago Bulls. He was first introduced in 1969. Benny is a red bull who wears number 1. Benny is one of the oldest and most well known mascots in all of professional sports. The Bulls also had another mascot named Da Bull. Introduced in 1995, he was described on the team website as being the high flying cousin of Benny, known for his dunking skills. The man who portrayed Da Bull was arrested in 2004 for possession and selling marijuana from his car. Da Bull was discontinued soon after the incident. While Benny has a family-friendly design, Da Bull was designed as a more realistic bull. Unlike Benny, Da Bull was brown. He also had a meaner face expression and wore number 95.
In 1992, the team began training at the Berto Center, located at 550 Lake Cook Rd, Deerfield, Illinois.
However, on June 13, 2012, the team announced that it would move its practice facility to a downtown location closer to the United Center to reduce game day commutes.
Chicago Bulls roster
The Bulls hold the draft rights to the following unsigned draft picks who have been playing outside the NBA. A drafted player, either an international draftee or a college draftee who isn't signed by the team that drafted him, is allowed to sign with any non-NBA teams. In this case, the team retains the player's draft rights in the NBA until one year after the player's contract with the non-NBA team ends. This list includes draft rights that were acquired from trades with other teams.
|2011||1||23||Mirotić, NikolaNikola Mirotić||F||Spain||Real Madrid (Spain)||Acquired from the Houston Rockets (via Minnesota|||
|2006||2||48||Veremeenko, VladimirVladimir Veremeenko||F||Belarus||UNICS Kazan (Russia)||Acquired from the Washington Wizards|||
|Chicago Bulls retired numbers and honorees|
|4||Sloan, JerryJerry Sloan||G/SF||1966–67–1975–76||February 17, 1978|
|10||Love, BobBob Love||F||1968–69–1976–77||January 14, 1994|
|23||Jordan, MichaelMichael Jordan||SG||1984–85–1992–93, 1994–95–1997–98||November 1, 1994|
|33||Pippen, ScottieScottie Pippen||SF||1987–88–1997–98, 2003–04||December 9, 2005|
|-||Jackson, PhilPhil Jackson||Coach||1987–88–1988–89 (Assistant)|
|May 5, 1999|
|-||Kerr, JohnnyJohnny Kerr||Coach|
|1966–67–1967–68 (Head Coach)||February 10, 2009|
|-||Krause, JerryJerry Krause||General Manager||March 26, 1985–April 7, 2003||October 31, 2003|
The Bulls TV broadcasts are split among Comcast SportsNet Chicago, which broadcasts most of the games, WGN, and WCIU. So far, WGN Sports and Comcast SportsNet Chicago will at least air all of the home games in High Definition. The announcers are Neil Funk and Stacey King. Also worth noting is that WGN does not air all of its Chicago Bulls games nationwide: only a select few, usually Saturday games, are nationally televised on WGN America. The rest are only available within the Chicago area.
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