Next to the Celtics and Lakers this team is next in the number of NBA championships, and it’s not the San Antonio Spurs; it’s the Chicago Bulls.
The Bulls became the NBA’s first expansion team when
they joined the NBA in 1966, the difference between an expansion team and the other teams is that the expansion teams fill out their roster from available players on the other NBA teams. prior to this any team
which joined the NBA either already had their roster
filled out since they joined from another league, or
they signed players to play for them as in the case of
the Zyphers. The Bulls used the first ever
expansion pick on Jerry Sloan, who was taken from the
Sloan would become the teams first star. Sloan was
never much of an offensive threat, as his career high
in points per game was 18 in 1971. Sloan’s biggest
asset to the team was his defense, was a four time
all-first team defensive player including being on the
first ever all defensive team.
Besides being the first expansion team, the Bulls are
also the first and only NBA expansion team to make the
playoffs. The Bulls did so in the 1967 playoffs, but
would end up losing to the Hawks in three games. The
Bulls would make the playoffs their second year,
despite having a losing record for the second straight
season. The Bulls would miss the playoffs their third
year, but would return in 1970 but lose again to the
In the 70-71 season the Bulls would have their first
50 win season, the Bulls however would lose in the
playoffs again. The Bulls would make the playoffs
every year from 1970 until 1975 but would continually
lose in the first round, that was until 1974 when the
Bulls beat the Pistons to advance to the second round.
In 1975 the Bulls would have an epic NBA playoff
series with the Golden State Warriors, both teams felt
that they could win the NBA title that year. The
Warriors would prevail and would go onto win the NBA
title. The Bulls wouldn’t recover from their seven
game loss to the Warriors, and the next year the Bulls
would be ravaged by injuries. Injuries took such a
toll on the Bulls that their first star, Jerry Sloan,
would retire at seasons end.
In 1987 the Bulls would add another star, the Bulls
would select Olden Polynice and immediately traded him
for the player that the Seattle Supersonics drafted;
Scottie Pippen. Pippen would not be the offensive
player that Jordan was, but he would constantly be
amongst the leagues best defenders.
The Bulls would struggle on and off again from 75 to
85. During this time the Bulls were lead by Orlando
Woolridge, who had his best seasons with the Bulls.
In the 83-84 the Bulls would struggle mightily, they
would win only 27 games, their head coach, Jerry
Sloan, would be fired and the Bulls would end up with
the third pick in the draft. With the third pick that
year, the Bulls selected Michael Jordan from North
The Jordan era would lead the Bulls to their greatest
heights, which would include six NBA titles. The
first few years of the Jordan era didn’t lead many to
believe that Jordan was going to be the Bulls savior.
Many thought this because during Jordan’s second year
he was injured and played only 18 games, many thought
his career would be over before it started. Jordan
however, had other plans, he would come back his third
with a vengeance. During the 86-87 season Jordan would
average 37 points per game, and would score an NBA
playoff record 63 points against Boston, though the
Bulls would lose in a sweep.
The Bulls would lose to the Pistons in the playoffs in
each of their three meetings from 88 until 90, but in
1991, after winning a franchise high 61 games, the
Bulls would finally beat the Pistons in the Eastern
finals. The Bulls would than face the Los Angeles
Lakers who were lead by the biggest star of the time;
Magic Johnson. The Bulls would win four of the five
games to capture their first NBA title.
The Bulls would continue to build on their
championship in 91-92, once again the Bulls would set
a new franchise mark for wins with 67. The Bulls
would cap their best season in team history with their
second NBA championship.
The Bulls would struggle a bit more in 92-93 than during their previous two seasons, winning only 57 games. But the end result for the Bulls would be the same, a 4-2 series win over the Phoenix Suns gave the Bulls their third consecutive NBA championship. Following the season Michael Jordan shocked the sports world by announcing his retirement from the NBA.
With Jordan gone, the duties of being the team leader fell to Scottie Pippen. He and point guard BJ Armstrong would both become all-stars that season, Pippen would even be named all-star MVP, as the Bulls would win 55 games and look poised to possibly win a fourth NBA title in a row; the problem was the Knicks stood in their way. The Knicks had been the Bulls biggest rivals, but had come up short in the playoffs against the Bulls 4 of the past 5 seasons, but 1994 would be different as the Knicks would end the Bulls reign in seven games in the quarter finals.
The Bulls would struggle the next year, but midway through the season Michael Jordan announced he would return to the Bulls. Jordan, however, was not the same player he had once been. He struggled defensively against Orlando’s Penny Hardaway and the Bulls would lose to the Magic in six games.
The 95-96 season would be completely different, the Bulls would come out with a fiery and take the league by strom. The Bulls were unstoppable as they racked up win after win after win, 72 in all. Their 72 and 10 record that season was the best record in NBA history. Jordan would be named league MVP for a fourth time and Phil Jackson would be named coach of the year. The Bulls would once again face the Magic in the playoffs, this time in the Eastern finals, but the Magic would come no where close to upsetting the Bulls, as the Bulls won in four. In the finals the Bulls faced the Seattle Sonics, who proved to be no match for the Bulls either as the Bulls won their fourth NBA title.
In the 96-97 season the Bulls continued where they had left off, they would win 69 games that season and would once again win the NBA title, this time in six games over the Utah Jazz. The Bulls would win 62 games the next year, and once again face Utah in the finals, only this time the Bulls wouldn’t have home court advantage in the finals. The Bulls lost the first game to the Jazz, but would rally to win three straight. Utah would force a game six in Utah, and the game would come down to the wire. With just seconds left and the Jazz leading by one, Jordan stripped the ball from Karl Malone than Jordan would hit a shot with about six seconds left to give the Bulls their sixth NBA title.
Following their sixth title; and with threats of a lockout looming; and Phil Jackson not being their coach any more, Michael Jordan once again retired from the NBA. Jordans departure wasn’t the only one, Jackson was indeed let go, Scottie Pippen was traded to the Houston Rockets, and Dennis Rodman retired briefly. With all their key figures gone, the Bulls had a horrendous season, winning just 13 of 50 games, including setting the NBA record for fewest points in an NBA game since ths shot clock with just 49 points in a loss to Miami.
When the lottery draft came along at seasons end it looked as if the Bulls fortunes had changed as they won the top pick and selected Duke product Elton Brand. However, even with Brands help the Bulls continued to struggle winning just 17 games his rookie season. The Bulls would continue to struggle through-out the Brand years, with him they never won more than 30 games and never made the playoffs.
After a six year absence from the NBA playoffs, their longest in team history, the Bulls once again made the playoffs in 2005. The Bulls were lead by Ben Gordon, Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich, Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler, but after winning their first two games against the Washington Wizards the Bulls would drop the next four to be eliminated in the first round.
The Bulls would trade Curry to New York the following season, but would continue to improve with their young core by making the playoffs for a second straight year, but the Bulls would lose in six games to the eventual champion Miami Heat.
This past season the Bulls saw their greatest success in the post Jordan era, with the addition of defensive superstar Ben Wallace, the Bulls would win 49 games and get the 4th seed in the NBA playoffs. Once again the Bulls would face the Miami Heat, but this time the Bulls would pound the Heat and sweep them. Their sweep of the Heat marked the first time since the 1956 Syracuse Nationals, that the defending champion was swept in the first round.