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The History of the Chicago Bulls

The Chicago Bulls are one of the most celebrated franchises in basketball. As an organization, the Chicago Bulls have won 6 Championship Titles. All 6 Championships came in the 1990s, when the Chicago Bulls dominated the league.

Early Days

The Chicago Bulls joined the National Basketball Association before the start of the 1966-67 season. The Bulls would struggle early in their history to find team success. By the middle of the 1970s, the Bulls started to become competitive. They had an impressive roster of players that included Jerry Sloan, Bob Love, Norm Van Lier, Artis Gilmore, and Chet Walker. That squad was defined by hard work and defense. The toughness of the team lined up well with the persona of Chicago. Despite finding success in the 70s, the Bulls were far from a contender.

Jerry Sloan bulls team


By 1984, the Bulls had not accomplished much as a franchise. They were a long way from relevancy and appeared to have no shot at winning an NBA Championship. Michael Jordan was selected by the Chicago Bulls with the third overall pick in the 1984 NBA Draft. MJ, going third in the draft is now considered one of the biggest steals in the history of the NBA. When MJ was entering the league, there were legitimate questions about his game. He was not a great long-range shooter, and his man to man defense was not strong. Mike quickly turned those weaknesses into strengths.

mj bulls


Mike’s impact in his rookie season was immeasurable. His charisma, his showmanship and his skill level made him the number one attraction in the NBA. Home attendance for the Chicago Bulls went up dramatically. When Mike went on the road, fans of the opposing teams came out in droves to watch him play. The artistry of MJ was second to none. His aerial exploits, and passion for the game, made him magnetic to watch. With Jordan, the Bulls would become relevant. But they still were not considered contenders in the early days of MJ’s career.

jordan bulls

Dynamic Duo

Michael Jordan was the face of the NBA when Scottie Pippen joined him in Chicago in 1987. Jordan was a one-man wrecking crew, but the talent around him was lacking. MJ did not trust his teammates, and it hurt the Bulls success as an organization. Pippen showed signs of being the kind of partner Jordan needed. Pippen could score, handle the ball, and was a tremendous defensive talent. He took a lot of the pressure off Jordan and helped him become a better player. Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen might be the greatest one-two punch in NBA history.

jordan pippen

Zen Master

Phil Jackson was named the Head Coach of the Chicago Bulls in 1989. Phil Jackson put emphasis on the team. He wanted everyone to be involved in the game. Pippen was an excellent facilitator and seemed more comfortable involving others rather than scoring on his own. Jordan’s acceptance of Jackson’s philosophy, and Pippen’s role, helped the Bulls become a legitimate contender.

Phil Jackson

6 Rings

Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Phil Jackson would make up the core of 6 NBA Championships. There would be supporting players of note, like Horace Grant, Toni Kukoc, and Dennis Rodman, who would help during the run in the 1990s that saw the franchise win six championships. That legendary run would end in 1998. Some would blame Bulls ownership and management, and others would blame age. Regardless, the Michael Jordan era ended with a sixth ring.

Phil Jackson


The franchise would struggle after the disbandment of the Jordan, Pippen and Jackson led squads. Bad luck would strike consistently and viciously, almost as if the Bulls were being punished for their run in the 1990s. There were draft picks that did not pan out and free agent opportunities that were missed.


When the Bulls Drafted Derrick Rose with the number one pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, the fortunes of Chicago were starting to improve. Rose would make an instant impact on the Bulls, winning Rookie of the Year and leading them to the Playoffs. In 2011, he would be named MVP of the league. The Bulls were contenders and considered the team of the future with Rose as their starting point guard. He was explosive and played with a kind of flair Chicago had not seen since “His Airness.”  


Tragically, injury would end Rose’s time in Chicago. Rose was from Chicago, and when he was Drafted, he instantly lifted the spirits of Bulls fans worldwide. But injuries made his time in Chicago end on a sour note.

 Derrick Rose


The Chicago Bulls were blessed with having the greatest players of all time on their roster for years. He would lead them to six championships and turn the city of Chicago into the center of the basketball world. Since then, and before then, the Bulls have not done much of note. The Bulls are still one of the most popular teams in the league and have more rings than most of the NBA franchises.


- Adam C. Better