Unless you've lived under a rock for the last 30 or 40 years, you know exactly what I mean when I talk about the Chicago Bulls' Threepeat streak of the early 90s. Whether or not you follow basketball, or sports at all, if you were alive from 1991-1993, you knew who Michael Jordan was and you knew the Bulls were on fire. Even if you were still in diapers, you definitely knew this.
And it's possible that if you were a basketball fan in the 1990s, no matter where your allegiances would normally lie, you became a Bulls fans for that decade. How were you supposed to resist MJ and the threepeats? You're only human!
Since you loved every man on the Chicago Bulls roster from 1991-1993 (your usual team did and does understand 100%), it's only natural that you've wondered where they are now and what they're up to. We were - and still are - all a part of Phil Jackson's "family." And yeah, so are the athletes.
Jackson's words and "family-centered" coaching philosophy must have sunk seriously in, because many of the early 90s threepeat players remained involved with Chicago and/or the sport in general for many years. Some are even still working with the Bulls organization in some capacity, like Scottie Pippen as Senior Advisor, John Paxson as VP of Basketball Relations, and Will Perdue's television analyses. Many of the others were involved with the organization for years, but moved on to other fields later in life.
Prepare to enter flashback mode as you learn where your favourite Threepeat players are these days and what they're up to.
15 Craig Hodges
During the 1991-92 season, the Bulls’ home games were sold out for 243 games. Also that year, Craig Hodges became the second man to ever win three consecutive All-Star 3-point shooting competitions. And, of course, the Bulls won their second NBA Championship.
Hodges was a shooting guard for the Bulls and played in both the 1991 and 1992 playoffs. It’s not his athletic abilities that have garnered him the most media attention, though. In 1996 he filed a lawsuit against the NBA, alleging that the league blacklisted him and effectively snuffed out his professional playing career. In a time when athletes did not often use their fame to promote social justice or argue politics, Hodges claimed the league was embarrassed by his actions during a visit to the White House, among other things. He wasn’t successful with his lawsuit.
After several attempts to rejoin the pros and many media appearances, Hodges now coaches the boys’ varsity basketball team at Rich East High School in the Park Forest are of Chicago, the very school where he first played ball. It seems he’s found a new method to create change by training and mentoring young athletes.
14 Bill Cartwright
This “gentle seven footer with sharp elbows” joined the Bulls in 1989, no doubt a bit nervous as he was effectively replacing the beloved Charles Oakley. As most basketball fans know, though, he fit right in and played six seasons with Chicago, totaling 15 years of pro basketball. During the 58 playoff games he played with them from 1991 through 1993, he made 14 blocks, 263 rebounds, and scored a total of 405 points.
And it seems Cartwright just couldn’t get enough! He played centre for Chicago in all three playoff seasons, and enjoyed two more titles in 1997 and 1998 as an assistant coach. And in 2001 he was given the well-deserved title of head coach.
These days you can find Cartwright at his alma mater, the University of San Francisco. His official role is Director of University Initiatives, and he seems to do everything from public speaking, to schmoozing with alumni, to student mentoring, and a fair bit of fundraising. His degree in organizational development, obtained through USF in 1979, is being put to pretty good use.
13 Scottie Pippen
Despite always living in MJ’s shadow, the 6’7” Pippen was no less vital to the Bull’s Threepeat performance than Jordan. He was a gloriously multitalented player, offering both stellar defense and offense; he totalled 1,177 points, 124 steals, and 57 blocks over all three playoff seasons. In 1996, after playing on the Olympic-gold winning “Dream Team,” Pippen was named one of the “50 Greatest Players in NBA History.”
Scottie’s name was in the headlines again when he filed for divorce from his wife, Larsa. She was a star on The Real Housewives of Miami and reportedly had an affair with famed rapper Future. Despite this never confirmed yet much discussed affair, Pip and Larsa appear to be trying to work things out.
In 2012, the Chicago Bulls announced that Batman (because of his 88” “wingspan,” and also because MJ was Superman) was the team’s new Senior Advisor to the President and COO. And while other players usually take a step back and don’t publicly cheer for their former team, Pippen can usually be found front and centre at Chicago games, cheering, critiquing, and Instagramming.
He also seems to enjoy making videos with his former teammates to discuss current basketball events and news, as well as reminiscing about the glory days.
12 John Paxson
We’ll never forget how Johnny Pax’s three-pointer in Game 5, with only 3.9 seconds left, landed the Bulls their third World Championship in 1993. And then there’s his 10 points during the last half of the fourth quarter of the 1991 final. Out of 58 playoff games during the Threepeat, Pax started 39 of them and scored a total of 497 points, including 64 rebounds. The guy was on fire!
Johnny was named assistant coach for the Chicago Bulls in 1995, and that season they won the NBA Championship title again, with help from Michael Jordan and Dennis Rodman. In 2006 he was named Vice President of Basketball Relations for the Bulls, and since then he’s held several positions, including the General Manager. NBA.com currently lists Paxson as the Bulls’ Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations, and according to recent reports, the could be taking on even more responsibility regarding daily team operations, etc.
Pax moved to the VP position in order to spend more time with his family, and then Forman was given the management position. But fans haven’t been loving the Pax-Gar Forman leadership team; they’ve dealt with some backlash over the hiring and firing of certain players, including the recent Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott trade. There’s even been some serious Twitter activity, with the hashtag #FireGarPax trending hard. But the front office maintains that GarPax is staying. Good luck!
11 Horace Grant
The 6’10” General was added to the Bulls’ starting lineup after being with the team for two years, and was a top scorer for the team, lagging just being Jordan and Pippen. He was the king of rebounds and sunk 491 of them during the threepeat championship seasons. Truthfully, though, he was probably just as well known for those unmistakeable goggles as he was for his legendary rebound shots.
Anyway… goggles or not, he was a master baller and his part in the league’s best-ever trios. He played – and started in – 58 games during that first threepeat, racking up an insane 678 points over the course of the playoffs. We’re not going to mention, though, that he played for the opposing team during the second threepeat, though. (thanks a lot, Orlando). Nope, not bringing it up at all.
In 2016, the General took a new position as Special Advisor to the Chicago Bulls’ President and Chief Operating Officer, Michael Reinsdorf. He’s also an NBA Goodwill Ambassador, meaning that he travels the globe and speaks at schools, charity events, basketball camps and clinics, etc., about youth education, health and wellness, and violence prevention. He doesn’t wear the goggles anymore, though, so you probably won’t recognize him.
10 Cliff Levingston
“Good News” Levingston had never played in a championship game before 1991, not in high school, college, or in his five previous NBA season. The 6’8” power forward had played with the Detroit Pistons and the Atlanta Hawks before, but truly found his groove with the Bulls when he joined for the 1990-91 season. In Game 3 of the 1991 finals, scored 10 points in just a 20 minute span, which included overtime and during which Scottie Pippen was fouled out. He was a veteran at this point and yet hadn’t been much of a headliner up until that game, but with his 45 total points for those ’91 finals and another 64 in 1992, suddenly everyone knew the News.
After lighting it up with the Bulls, Cliff moved on to play ball in the Greek Basket League, and reportedly made more money there than with the NBA; he made $1.3 million per year with the Bulls, but raked in a juicy $2.4 million with POAK.
He returned Stateside and played one season with the Nuggets, has coached several different teams for several years, and now runs the Good News Basketball Camps in Michigan City, where he lives. He also leads similar basketball camps in Europe. Along with his wife, he’s become a notable community activist, volunteering with various organizations and speaking to groups of youth about both sports and education, even lending a hand to find scholarships for certain talented young athletes. Last year the National Civil Rights Library awarded him a Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his philanthropic work over the years. It seems he’s still bringing Good News to the people!
9 B.J. Armstrong
After joining Chicago in 1989, B.J. “The Kid” Armstrong made the starting lineup in the 1992-93 season. And with his .453 three-point percentage that season, he was the best in the league. He was a powerful force even before this, though, playing 17 games and bringing in 93 points during the 1991 playoffs. “Winning is the easiest thing that I ever did in the NBA,” he said in 2009.
It seems The Kid has grown up a bit. He’s gone from shooting hoops to bagging clients as a bball sports agent and Executive Vice President at Wasserman Media Group. With clients like Derrick Rose, Draymond Green, and Denzel Valentine, it’s not a big surprise that’s worth $13 million. Having always been fascinated by the business aspects of the sport, and wanting to be a mentor for young players who want and need to understand the game from all sides, becoming a sports agent seems to be a perfect fit. “I wanted to understand the business of sports from top to bottom,” he says.
Lately, he’s also been interested with how ports are represented through social media. In 2016 he started a basketball podcast with Bleacher Report writer Ric Bucher, discussing NBA games, news, and issues and chatting with some pretty high profiles guests.
8 Scott Williams
It’s a pretty good sign when you win championship titles the very first three years you play with the NBA. And “Tank” did just that, scoring four points from the free throw line during Game 3 against LA in 1991. Next up, he shot 95 rebounds during the 1992 championship series, and 111 in 1993, for a total of 678 points during the Threepeat performance.
After winning the 1991 title, Tank announced that “Real men do it twice.” Wonder what he thinks of going three times?
After those glory days, Williams played several more seasons of ball with Chicago, the Orlando Magic, the Seattle SuperSonics, and even the Lakers. Since hanging up his sneakers, though, Tank has forayed into the worlds of color commentating, assistant coaching, and sports analysis. He’s currently busy as the Grand Canyon Antelope’s men’s basketball game analyst, as well as the Executive VP of Anytime Media & Security – an Arizona company that specializes in IT support, security, and AV services for both commercial and residential properties.
7 Stacey King
While he may not have been a headlining, head-turning superstar like Jordan and Pippen, but Stacey “Sky” King was just as much a vital cog in the Threepeat wheel as any. And he was a superstar during his days at University of Oklahoma, so it was probably tough for him to go from playing in the spotlight to playing a supporting role. King played 44 games in those three playoff seasons, brought home 153 points, including two three-pointer baskets in 1992.
Now a color commentator for the Bulls, his numerous catch phrases and the hilarious nicknames he comes up with for players have made Sky a favourite among sportsfans. His phrases are both witty and ridiculous, and pretty much always memorable. Some of is best lines include: “too big, too strong, too fast, and too good!” in reference to Derrick Rose; “he was late getting over there but was early enough for the poster,” when Joakim Noah dunked over Glen Davis; and “give me the hot sauce,” after Kyle Korver’s 3-pointer. King also launched a clothing line recently, called 21King, that feature his popular slogans.
As former teammate John Paxson said, “Stacey is about as likeable as it gets but he dishes it out as good as he got it.”
6 Will Perdue
Although his job was to provide backup for Bill Cartwright, he did garner some attention in his own right. He averaged 46.67 points per each of the threepeat playoff seasons, which isn’t exactly stellar but still significant. Unfortunately, Michael Jordan wasn’t a huge Perdue fan himself, and in fact punched Perdue during a 1991 practice. Obviously, when MJ punches you, you can’t punch back, so Perdue had to suck it up and the next day apparently “[got] on the plane with a huge shiner.”
The Bulls made him a starter in 1994, likely due to his dedication during the threepeat games… and possibly because Jordan had retired at that point and his frequent criticism of Perdue’s play wasn’t an issue.
“Will the Thrill” now offers his insight as an analyst for ESPN, and also for the NCAA with Westwood One. The Chicago Bulls still benefit from his expertise as he writes columns and does both pre and post-game broadcasts for them. And then there’s his work with Wasserman Media Group, mentoring, training, and preparing college prospects for the NBA. Not bad for a guy who got beat up by MJ!
5 Phil Jackson
Ah, the “Zen Master.” He has a total of nine championship rings, including his six with the Bulls. He taught and enforced a triangle offense, leading the team to play together as a unit and not just relying on MJ for everything. He was the first coach to lead his team to consecutive NBA championships since the Boston Celtics’ 1959-1966 streak. He led the Bulls to the playoffs every single year that he coached. He has the highest winningest percentage of any basketball coach ever inducted into the Hall of Fame.
After several years of coaching the Lakers, in 2014 he became team president of the New York Knicks, and his current contract extends until the 2018-19 season. There have been a lot of complaints from both fans and coaches, and he steps on Hornacek and Rambis’ (plus the other 3 head coaches he’s tossed out during his short reign) toes pretty often. And the methods he loves so dearly, the same methods that propelled the Bulls and Lakers to greatness, no longer apply, benefit, or inspire his current roster. In 2015, the team suffered through it’s worst losing streak ever: 16 miserable games in a row.
It hasn’t exactly been a smooth ride for Phil and the Knicks. In fact, one recent headline announced, “It’s taken 3 years for Phil to turn a laughingstock into a disaster.” The same article claimed that the “Game of Zen” is now more of a “Pain of Zen.” Oopsie.
4 Bob Hansen
They may have been lagging by 15 points after three quarters, but just when it looked like Game 6 of the 1992 NBA Finals would lead to a Game 7, Bobby Hansen took to the floorboards to replace a winded MJ. And although he “hadn’t shot a basket in about two hours since warming up before the game,” his toss shot them three points up on the scoreboard. No team had ever come back from a 15 point deficit to win a championship game, and that night Hansen and the Bulls made history.
That shot launched him into history, and it’s now listed on almost every “Greatest Bulls Shots” and “Greatest NBA Shots” list in existence. He was the only man on the roster that year that hadn’t been with them the year before to win the 1991 title, and he retired after those playoffs, so this triumph was no doubt pretty sweet for him.
You’ll find Hansen teamed up with Gary Dolphin as color commentators for the Iowa Hawkeyes these days. He was a top recruit and played for Iowa from 1979-83, leading the team to Final Four in 1980, so it’s no surprise he chose to work with his alma mater.
3 Trent Tucker
It’s funny that Phil Jackson was the opposing coach who insisted that Tucker’s 1990 jump shot shouldn’t be allowed. It was only three years later that Tucker was on the Bulls’ roster, using the jump shot to Jackson’s advantage. He played nine seasons with the Knicks and one with the Spurs before moving to Chicago, which means he waited 11 years to win an NBA title.
“Doc” Tucker played in 19 playoff games with the Bulls in 1993, averaging 10.9 minutes per game and 2.8 points. He actually sank 12 three-pointers during that whole postseason, and it easily could have been his overtime shot that won Game 6 instead of Paxson’s. Adding to the list of other players who retired after their threepeat performances, Tucker left the game for good, stating that he’d achieved his ultimate career goals of playing with Chicago, and the playoff success was a welcome bonus.
Since retiring from the big leagues, Doc has lent his hand to many ventures, including television and radio sports analysis, hosting summer basketball clinics, and launching his own non-profit organization called the All 4 Kids Foundation. Through this endeavor, he establishes youth programs for middle-school youth that offer leadership training, career development, and educational opportunities. He also started the Max Cure Foundation to assist with pediatric cancer research and care.
2 Dennis Hopson
So he was only with the Bulls for one season. So he only played five playoff games with them. So he was only on the court for 18 minutes in total for those five games. So what? He did score eight points over those five games, so he wasn’t completely useless! And seriously, since It was his job during to guard Michael Freaking Jordan during practice time, the guy should be cut some slack. This in itself deserves respect and recognition!
Hopson played for the New Jersey Nets for three seasons before being traded to the Bulls, and when he left he was their top scorer, with an average of 15.8 points per game. It was probably a big of a shock, then, when he was suddenly assigned to guard MJ in practice and only play a fraction of the game time he had enjoyed with New Jersey. But hey! It meant that he was on the winning roster and therefore took home his very own NBA Championship ring!
Since the NBA glory days, Hopson has tried his hand at European basketball, Filipino basketball, Turkish basketball, and even Israeli basketball. He’s dabbled in coaching as well, having worked at Northwood University in Florida and Bowling Green State University in Ohio. These days he’s taken a different approach to coaching and is working with the Lucas County Correctional Treatment Facility, creating leading programs for youth in hopes of creating brighter futures for them.
1 Michael Jordan
You’d have to have lived under a rock for about 40 years to have not heard of this flying NBA legend. His Airness joined the Bulls in 1984, entered the playoffs for the first time in 1985, and won his first championship in 1991. In total, he’s won six championships with the Bulls, including the 1991-93 and 1996-98 Threepeats.
After the shocking death of his father in 1993, he announced his retirement in October. In 1995, though, after a short stint with minor league baseball, he appeared back on the Bulls’ court and stayed until he again announced retirement in January of 1999. But, again, he was back within a year, this time as the President of Basketball Operations for the Washington Wizards. And in 2001, he once again graced the NBA with his presence, this time playing for the Wizards.
What’s the greatest basketball star of all time doing now? A little bit of everything. According to Business Insider magazine, he makes more money now than he did when he was dribbling balls. “With his income from endorsement deals and royalties from his namesake Jordan brand, a subsidiary of Nike, Jordan made $100 million in 2014,” which is about $6 million more than his NBA contract gave him each year. He’s the first pro baller to officially reach billionaire status.
Michael is also the owner of the Charlotte Hornets, owns a couple of steakhouses, hosts an annual charity golf tournament, and is raising twin toddlers Victoria and Ysabel with his wife Yvette Prieto. He doesn’t seem to sit still much.
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