Chicago Bulls Team History
The Chicago Bulls are the third NBA franchise in Chicago, after the Packers – Zephyrs (now the Washington Wizards) and the Stags (1946 – 1950). 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 beginning years. The team started in the 1966 – 1967 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.
In the summer of 1984, the Bulls had the third pick of the 1984 NBA Draft, after Houston and Portland. The Rockets selected Hakeem Olajuwon, the Blazers picked Sam Bowie and the Bulls chose 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 (third in the league) and steals (fourth), and led the Bulls back to the playoffs, where they 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.
On October 6, 1993, Jordan announced his retirement, citing a loss of desire to play the game. Jordan later stated that the murder of his father earlier in the year also shaped his decision. Jordan’s father was murdered on July 23, 1993, at a highway rest area in Lumberton, North Carolina, by two teenagers, Daniel Green and Larry Martin Demery. The assailants were traced from calls they made on James Jordan’s cellular phone, caught, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison. Jordan was close to his father; as a child he had imitated his father’s proclivity to stick out his tongue while absorbed in work. He later adopted it as his own signature, displaying it each time he drove to the basket. In 1996, he founded a Chicago area Boys & Girls Club and dedicated it to his father.
Jordan then further surprised the sports world by signing a minor league baseball contract with the Chicago White Sox on February 7, 1994. He reported to spring training in Sarasota, Florida, and was assigned to the team’s minor league system on March 31, 1994. Jordan has stated this decision was made to pursue the dream of his late father, who had always envisioned his son as a Major League Baseball player. The White Sox were another team owned by Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who continued to honor Jordan’s basketball contract during the years he played baseball.
In 1994, Jordan played for the Birmingham Barons, a Double-A minor league affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, batting .202 with three home runs, 51 runs batted in, 30 stolen bases, 114 strikeouts, 51 base on balls, and 11 errors. He also appeared for the Scottsdale Scorpions in the 1994 Arizona Fall League, batting .252 against the top prospects in baseball. On November 1, 1994, his number 23 was retired by the Bulls in a ceremony that included the erection of a permanent sculpture known as The Spirit outside the new United Center.
NBA Finals – 1991
The Chicago Bulls of the Eastern Conference took on the Los Angeles Lakers of the Western Conference for the title, with Chicago having home court advantage. This Finals was Michael Jordan’s first NBA Finals appearance, Magic Johnson’s last one, and the last NBA Finals trip of the Lakers until 2000. The Bulls would win the series 4-1. Jordan averaged 31.2 points on 56% shooting, 11.4 assists, 6.6 rebounds, 2.8 steals and 1.4 blocks en route to his first NBA Finals MVP Award.
NBA Finals – 1992
The 1992 NBA Finals was the championship round of the 1991 – 1992 NBA season. The Chicago Bulls of the Eastern Conference took on the Portland Trail Blazers of the Western Conference for the title, with Chicago having home court advantage, as they had the best record in the NBA. The Bulls would go on to win the series in six games. Michael Jordan was named Finals Most Valuable Player for the second year in a row, to go with his sixth straight regular season scoring titles.
NBA Finals – 1993
The 1993 NBA Finals was the championship round of the 1992 – 1993 NBA season, featuring the Chicago Bulls, led by Michael Jordan, and the Phoenix Suns, winners of 62 games and led by regular season MVP Charles Barkley. The Bulls became the first team since the legendary Boston Celtics of the 1960s to win three consecutive championship titles, clinching the “three-peat” with John Paxson’s game-winning 3-pointer that gave them a 99–98 victory in Game 6. This series was also notable in that the road team won each game, with the exception of Chicago in Game 4.
NBA Finals – 1996
The 1996 NBA Finals was the championship series of the 1995 – 1996 NBA season of the National Basketball Association. The Seattle SuperSonics (64–18) of the Western Conference took on the Chicago Bulls (72–10) of the Eastern Conference, with the Bulls holding home court advantage. The teams’ 136 combined regular season wins shattered the previous record of 125 set in 1985. The series was played under a best-of-seven format. Chicago won the series 4 games to 2. Michael Jordan was named Finals MVP.
NBA Finals – 1997
The 1997 NBA Finals was the concluding series of the 1997 NBA Playoffs that determined the champion of the 1996 – 1997 NBA season. The Utah Jazz of the Western Conference took on the Chicago Bulls of the Eastern Conference for the title, with the Bulls holding home court advantage. The series was played under a best-of-seven format, in the 2-3-2 NBA Finals format, with the first 2 games in Chicago, then 3 games in a row in Salt Lake City and the last 2 in Chicago. The Bulls won the series 4 games to 2. For the fifth time in as many Finals appearances, Michael Jordan was named Finals MVP.
NBA Finals – 1998
The 1998 NBA Finals was the championship round of the National Basketball Association’s 1997 – 1998 season. The Chicago Bulls of the Eastern Conference played against the Utah Jazz of the Western Conference, with the Jazz holding home-court advantage with the first 2 games in Salt Lake City. In a repeat of the previous year’s Finals, the Bulls won the series 4 games to 2 for their third consecutive NBA title and their sixth in eight seasons. Michael Jordan was voted the Most Valuable Player of the series (he also had won the award the last five times the Bulls won the Finals: 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, and 1997).
The Chicago Bulls are an American professional basketball team based in Chicago. The Bulls compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member club of the league’s Eastern Conference Central Division. The team was founded on January 16, 1966. The team plays its home games at the United Center, an arena shared with the Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League (NHL). 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 series in their history.
1966 – Present / National Basketball Association
1966 – Present / Chicago Bulls
Bulls – 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.”
NBA Championships 6
1998, 1997, 1996, 1993, 1992, 1991
1994 – Present / United Center
1967 – 1994 / Chicago Stadium
1966 / International Amphitheatre
1985 – Present / Jerry Reinsdorf
1983 – 1985 / Bill Wirtz
1972 – 1983 / Arthur Wirtz
1966 – 1972 / Dick Klein
4 Jerry Sloan
10 Bob Love
23 Michael Jordan
33 Scottie Pippen
– Phil Jackson
– Johnny Kerr
– Jerry Krause
1969 – Present / Benny the Bull
*Blue is this team’s history