Chicago Bulls History

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Michael Jordan

Quick facts:

Founded:                       April 30,1966     
Arena:                         United Center
Division Championships:        7
Midwest                        1(75)
Central                        8 (91,92,93,96,97,98,11)
NBA Titles:                    6 (91,92,93,96,97,98)
Best Record:                   72-10 (95-96) 
Worst Record:                  15-67 (00-01)

Bulls getting started
The Chicago Bulls are the third NBA franchise in Chicago, after the Packers/Zephyrs (now the Washington Wizards) and the Stags (1946-50); the city of Chicago also has had two NBL franchises: The Chicago American Gears and the Chicago Bruis/Studebaker Flyers. 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.

How the Bulls got their Nickname:
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."

Blood on the Horns:
Dick Klein wanted the teams logo to look fierce, but at the same time have a level of simplicity that would be easy to remember. After rejecting dozens of potential logos he found one he liked, only problem is that it just needed to look a little bit more fierce. So the artist added a little red to the top of the horns and voila! the Bulls logo was born.

Expansion Success:
The Bulls had the best start of any NBA expansion team ever. They won their first three games of the season and finished 33-48, which was good enough to make the playoffs. This is the only time an NBA expansion team has made the NBA playoffs in its first year of existence.

Not all was cheerful and rosy for the Bulls in their first season, however, half way through the season a fire destroyed near by McCormick Place, the home of the Chicago Bulls the International Amphitheater gave them the boot to host trade shows. The Bulls finished the season playing at the Chicago Coliseum.

The numbers of Michael Jordan:
Michael Jordan's #23 is about as iconic as a jersey number could be. Jordan wore the number through high school, into college and for most of his time as a member of the Chicago Bulls.

There are, however, two exceptions when Jordan did not wear his iconic #23 for the Bulls. The first occurred in 1990 in a game against the Orlando Magic. Jordan's #23 jersey was stolen from the locker room before the game, and with no time to replace it Jordan was forced to wear the alternate game jersey #12. There are few photographs of Jordan wearing the #12, though some can be found in our weird photo's gallery. The one except to this rule is that there is a NBA Hoops collector's card of Magic guard Sam Vicent where Jordan is shown. The card, though a common one, has become a sought after collectors item because Jordan wearing the #12.

The second time, and the more famous and longer tenured time, is when Jordan donned #45 for the Bulls following his first retirement. Jordan had to choose a new number because his #23 was retired by the Bulls. Jordan wore #45 through-out the 17 regular season games he played in 1995, and for 5 of the playoff games before switching back to #23.

The switch back to #23 caused issues with the NBA who fined the Bulls $10,000 every time Jordan did not wear #45; it ended up costing the Bulls $100,000 but the Bulls continued to allow Jordan to wear #23.

United Center 
1994 - present 
Chicago Stadium 
1967 - 1994 
International Amphitheatre 
Jerry Reinsdorf 
1985 - present 
Bill Wirtz 
1983 - 1985 
Arthur Wirtz 
1972 - 1983 
Dick Klein 
1966 - 1972
John A. Sbarbaro: The NBA owner with Mob connections

Despite it's best efforts, the NBA has had a long unpleasant history with the Mafia, and organized crime. This problem goes all the way back to its founding in 1946 when the league owned a corrupt funeral home director who was also a lawyer and judge own one of the leagues first franchises.

John A. Sbarbaro was a Chicago lawyer and Businessman who had a lot of shady dealings with organized crime. His funeral home was known as the funeral home of the mob because so many high profile Chicago gangster's had their funerals there.

In 1928 Sbarbaro's warehouse for his funeral home was bombed by either a rival gang from Detroit or possible the precursor to the FBI, because it was a known location for illegal alcohol to be dumped off there.

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Hawks-Bulls scoreathon game

NBA history is often seen as something that happened many years ago, and we often overlook events that are happening right before our eyes and miss new history. This is likely something that happened when the Hawks and Bulls went into an epic four over-time scoring thrill-fest.

Both the Hawks and Bulls are having abysmal seasons, but both are loaded with young talent and that was on display this Friday night in March of 2019. Both teams are still unsure of exactly what it is that they have on their rosters so letting their young guns go and play is not only good for the development of the franchise, but its good for the fans as well.

The Bulls beat the Hawks 168-161 in the fourth highest scoring game in NBA history, and the highest scoring game of the 21st century

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The Bad Attitude Choke Artists of Chicago

The 1970s were a difficult time for the NBA and for America in general. The Bill Russell lead Celtics dynasty which had dominated the 1960s had come and gone. Wilt Chamberlain was a shell of the man who once scored 100 points in a game. Cocaine and drug abuse was a serious problem in the league. The Summer of Love had descended into Helter Skelter. The US had ended its involvement in Vietnam The people did not trust their own government because of the Watergate scandal. Than there was the circus sideshow known as the Chicago Bulls.

Even with the difficulties of the era the Bulls had seen some success on the court. The team made the playoffs eight times in their first decade and had even made a few serious deep playoff runs. But the Bulls still struggled to bring in the big bucks, despite playing in the third largest market in the US. Fans in Chicago would rather watch the Bears in the fall and winter and the Cubs and Whitesox in the spring. This forced the Bulls to get creative with their ways to get fans in the seats.

Pat Williams is widely considered to be one of the best general managers the NBA has ever seen, he has rebuilt team after team after team, but in the early 1970s he was just starting out in the NBA and had the unfortunate task of saving the Chicago Bulls.

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Comparing the 15-16 Warriors and the 95-96 Bulls.

Every couple of decades a team comes along that is just magical. They are a team fans talk about for years after and what rising teams get compared to. The 1995-96 Bulls team was one of those, and this years Warriors team is another. In fact, this years Warriors team may be the team all future great teams get compared to.

The 95-96 Bulls went an astonishing 72-10 and were able to finish it up with a 69-13 campaign the next season and a 62-20 season the following year. In 3 season the Bulls won 203 of 246 regular season games. What is even more impressive is that during those same 3 years that Bulls team won 45 of 58 post season games and 3 NBA championships.

The Warriors have not yet had the time to accomplish this feat, so as it stands at this point in history the Bulls are still the watermark for what all other future dynasties are going to be compared.

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The Teams: Bulls

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 Baltimore Bullets.

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 Hawks.

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United Center

Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Bill Cartwright, BJ Armstrong, John Paxson, owner Jerry Reinsdorf, and coach Phil Jackson celebrate on the Bulls early 90s NBA championships.

Derrick Rose

Rookies Michael Jordan and John Stockton

Dennis Rodman, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen would comprise the core of a Bulls team that would go 203-43 and win 3 NBA champions between 1995-1998

Artis Gilmore

Michael Jordan and Julius Erving go at it in 1984.

Michael Jordan wearing #45 after he came out of retirement in 1994.

NBA History

Jerry Sloan
Bulls History