When you think of Chicago, you think of the Cubs and the White Sox, the Bears, the Blackhawks, and of CM Punk. You also think of the Bulls, who were the NBA's undisputed team of the '90s with Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, and company, and prior to that, a team that made the playoffs in their maiden (1966-67) season, and had some pretty strong teams in the '70s with Bob Love, Chet Walker, Jerry Sloan, Norm Van Lier, and others. They were also regular NBA whipping boys after Jordan's second and ostensibly final retirement, and recently, they've fielded competitive lineups led by Derrick Rose, and at the present, Jimmy Butler. For all those recognizable names, there are hundreds more whom we sometimes (or often) forget had once suited up for the Bulls.
Yes, there have been tons of players to wear a Bulls uniform in the team's 51 years, but we've got to narrow it down, right? In order to qualify as a "forgotten" player, we've included some criteria, which we list as follows.
-The player shouldn't have been of star caliber for a sustained (longer than two to three seasons) period of time.
-He should still be living.
-He should have been drafted no later than 2006.
-He should have either been drafted/signed as an undrafted rookie by the Bulls (or acquired as a rookie on draft day) or recognized primarily as a Bulls player.
-He should have last been active in the NBA no later than the 2014-15 season.
-He should have last played for the Bulls no later than the 2009-10 season.
That should pretty much make for someone who qualifies as a forgotten Chicago Bulls player of note, so let's see what these lesser blasts from the Bulls' past are up to right now.
15 15. KORNEL DAVID
Kornel David is the answer to this trivia question – who is the only Hungarian to ever play in the NBA? One of many second-stringers in this list who played for the immediate post-MJ Bulls of the late-‘90s and early-‘00s, David was already 27 years old when he made his NBA debut, and he did see some of the minutes left behind when Scottie Pippen moved to the Houston Rockets for the 1998-99 season. In other words, the “Michael Jordan of Hungary” was just about as useful as a Fred Roberts or a Darvin Ham would have been.
Obviously, David wasn’t going to be the next big star for the Bulls, and as his stats (5.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg over three years) show, he didn’t do much better in his other NBA stopovers. After his NBA career ended, he returned to Europe, where he kept playing until 2008, and worked as an European scout for a few NBA teams afterwards. Most recently, he had worked for the Milwaukee Bucks, and was one of the first to watch Giannis Antetokounmpo in action and alert the NBA of his presence.
14 14. LINTON JOHNSON
You’ll notice a lot of literal journeymen in this list, and one of them is Linton Johnson, who started and ended his NBA career with the Bulls. An undrafted combo forward out of Tulane, he started 20 of 41 games for Chicago in 2003-04, making the team and getting decent minutes because of his defense and work ethic, but not showing too many other NBA-level skills. He then played for six more NBA teams from 2004 to 2008, before playing the last eight games of the 2008-09 season as a deep reserve for the Bulls, at least allowing him to close his NBA career full-circle.
After a failed attempt to crack the Orlando Magic lineup in the 2009-10 offseason, Johnson headed to Italy, and he’s continued his journeyman ways, having played for six different teams between 2010 and now. As of now, he’s still active at the age of 36, and is married to an Italian woman named Delia, with a son named Linton Johnson IV.
13 13. JUD BUECHLER
Jud Buechler was a relatively deep reserve on the Chicago Bulls' second three-peat rosters, but he nonetheless played a key role when he'd get to play, an athletic threes-and-D small forward who can be compared to a very poor man's version of Dan Majerle. After his championship-winning days were done, he played for three more NBA teams before wrapping up his 11-year NBA career in 2002.
As we mentioned above, Buechler was one of those guys who'd seldom show up with decent numbers on the stat sheet. But he was a smart player who did the little things, and he's now putting his basketball IQ to good use as one of Luke Walton's assistants on the Los Angeles Lakers. A former collegiate volleyball star, his two daughters Reily and Brynn have since started NCAA volleyball careers of their own.
12 12. DAVE CORZINE
One of the older players in this list, Dave Corzine’s career stats may suggest he was the predecessor of the aging Bill Cartwrights and Robert Parishes and the mediocre Will Perdues and Luc Longleys who had come after him. But for a couple seasons in the pre-Michael Jordan era, Corzine was a pretty decent starting center, using his burly frame to haul down rebounds, while contributing his share on offense. Jordan’s arrival, however, took away a lot of his touches in 1984-85, and he would soon be supplanted by defensive specialist Jawann Oldham, then the aforementioned Bill Cartwright as starting center as the Bulls kept improving. He was also quite popular with 1980s Bulls fans due to his being a native of Chicago suburb Arlington Heights.
All in all, Corzine spent 13 years in the NBA as his 6’11”-260 frame often guaranteed him a place on someone’s roster. Years after he retired, he returned to his alma mater of DePaul, working as a color analyst, Director of Men’s Basketball Operations, and head of Community Outreach.
11 11. TYRUS THOMAS
The Bulls probably regret accepting the Portland Trail Blazers’ draft day offer, where they essentially sent their 2006 fourth-overall pick Tyrus Thomas and young backup forward Viktor Khryapa to Chicago, in exchange for the Bulls’ second-overall pick LaMarcus Aldridge and a future second-rounder. Aldridge has since become a star for both the Blazers and the Spurs. Thomas, on the other hand, took three years to become a starting PF for the Bulls, and when he did, he wasn’t anything special.
Thomas’ third season with the Bulls was as good as it got for him, as he spent the rest of his disappointing NBA career with the Charlotte Bobcats and the Memphis Grizzlies. He then played in Germany’s Bundesliga, averaging just 3.6 points and 3.4 rebounds in his one season. That was almost exactly one year ago, and as he’s the youngest player on this list at 30, there may be hope he returns to the NBA someday. Just don’t expect big minutes for this certified draft bust.
10 10. AJ GUYTON
When the Bulls lost Michael Jordan to his second retirement, that sent the team hurtling down the standings, and the backcourt happened to be especially woeful, especially at the point guard position. Aside from Rusty LaRue, who’s also in this list, the Bulls turned to second-rounder AJ Guyton from 2000 to 2002, giving him substantial minutes as a backup to the mediocre Bryce Drew, then to an aging Greg Anthony.
Guyton was essentially finished after his two-year tenure with the Bulls ended – he played one more season for Golden State, but only saw action in two games. He then played most of the remainder of his pro career in Europe, before returning to his home state of Illinois and serving as a college assistant coach. Last year, he was added to the coaching staff of the expansion Windy City Bulls, Chicago’s new D-League affiliate.
9 9. RUSTY LARUE
Rusty LaRue was arguably a better football quarterback than basketball point guard while playing for Wake Forest. But since he saw more pro potential in the latter, he signed with the championship-winning 1997-98 Bulls as a free agent, and saw backup minutes at the one as Chicago went from super-team to whipping boy in one fell swoop. Ironically, he was getting lots of playing time (9.3 ppg in 32.3 minutes over four games) in 1999-00, when the Bulls finally cut him, and he spent the next four years splitting time in Europe and on NBA benches.
LaRue spent five years as a Wake Forest assistant coach from 2009 to 2014, and now coaches at West Forsyth HS, the same school that produced another, far more prominent ex-Demon Deacon point guard, Chris Paul. He also went through the tragedy of losing his oldest son Riley, who was killed in a car crash in 2015, aged only 19.
8 8. TRENTON HASSELL
With the Chicago Bulls in rebuilding mode in the early-2000s, they turned to veterans such as Jalen Rose and Donyell Marshall, as well as youngsters like Jamal Crawford, Jay Williams, Tyson Chandler, Eddy Curry, and Trenton Hassell. Unlike the aforementioned high-profile baby Bulls, Hassell was a second-round steal from Austin Peay, and he quickly transitioned from big-time scorer in the mid-majors to being an offensive afterthought, yet a lockdown defender.
Hassell’s time in the Bulls was limited to his first two seasons in the league, but he was, for better or for worse, their starting shooting guard for most of 2001 to 2003. Soon after his ten-year NBA career ended in 2011, he took up coaching, and he now coaches the Clarksville SOL AAU team in his Tennessee hometown, as he preaches what he used to practice in the NBA – it’s the little things you do on-court that often count the most.
7 7. RANDY BROWN
When the three-peat-winning 1995 to 1998 Chicago Bulls needed a pesky defensive point guard off the bench, they turned to Randy Brown, who was acquired in 1995 after four seasons off the bench for the Sacramento Kings. Although we originally chose not to list any third-stringers, Brown is the exception – playing second-string minutes behind Ron Harper and Steve Kerr, he was the latter’s antithesis as a guy who couldn’t shoot, but could steal the ball and be a general nuisance to opposing backcourt players. He also started at point guard from 1998 to 2000, albeit for some terrible Tim Floyd-coached Bulls teams.
The end of Brown’s tenure with the Bulls was the end of his career as a productive point guard, as he failed to distinguish himself in latter stints with the Celtics and the Suns. Like Pete Myers, whom you also can find in this list, he’s now a part of the Bulls coaching staff as an assistant, as he’s been working in that capacity since 2015. He’s come back quite nicely after having to auction off his three championship rings due to a bankruptcy filing in 2009.
6 6. EDDIE ROBINSON
An undrafted product of Central Oklahoma and a former Division II scoring champion, Eddie Robinson made his NBA debut with the Charlotte Hornets, where he earned raves for his athletic ability at small forward. Seeing a potential star in the making, the Bulls signed him to a five-year deal in 2001. However, stardom would prove to be elusive, as he spent most of the next three years playing behind Jalen Rose. After three decent seasons off the bench, the last two years of his contract were bought out, and that was it for his NBA career.
Robinson kept his NBA hopes alive after his contract buyout, playing in the D-League from 2006 to 2008, and he had also taken his talents to the National Basketball League of Canada in the early-2010s. Now 40 years old and essentially retired from the sport, he now works as a music promoter in his hometown of Flint, Michigan, and manages the career of independent rapper Kinfolk Ro.
5 5. PETE MYERS
When Michael Jordan retired from basketball (for the first time) ahead of the 1993-94 season, someone needed to step in as the Bulls’ starting shooting guard. It turned out to be a nondescript journeyman named Pete Myers, who had played for five teams from 1986 to 1991, the Bulls included, and was back in the NBA after two years in Italy. And there was nothing Jordan-esque about Myers aside from his height of 6’6” – he was a scrappy defender and hustle guy who, as it turns out, was keeping things warm for MJ’s eventual return to the Bulls late in the 1994-95 season.
After his second run with the Bulls ended, Myers played for three more NBA teams, including a second tour of duty with the Knicks. His defense and work ethic kept him in the league until 1998, and right now, he’s still very much involved with the team he gained the most notoriety with, as he’s been a longtime assistant with the Bulls. He also coached — and lost — three NBA games with Chicago as an interim head coach.
4 4. DAVID GREENWOOD
Essentially, he was the Bulls’ consolation prize for not being able to draft Magic Johnson first-overall in 1979, as he was selected right after. And while it’s true that he was more than decent as Chicago’s starting power forward from 1979 to 1984, you won’t hear his name coming up too often when talking about future Hall of Fame inductees. For what it’s worth, he did play alongside Michael Jordan during his rookie year, though by that time, he had just found himself demoted to a reserve role.
Greenwood was sent to San Antonio in 1985 for an aging George Gervin, and for a few seasons, his career appeared to have a new lease on life. He won a title with the 1989-90 Detroit Pistons as his NBA run was winding down, but retired a year later after a solid, yet unspectacular 12-year career. He would later coach at his high school alma mater, Verbum Dei, in Los Angeles, and last month it was announced that he would be inducted in March to the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Hall of Honor.
3 3. BILL WENNINGTON
Canadian big man Bill Wennington’s NBA career was seemingly over after six seasons in 1991, when he suited up in the Italian leagues for two years. And when the Bulls brought him back to the NBA in 1993, he was the latest in a growing line of mediocre centers who’d somehow end up with more championship rings than they ever dreamed of wearing. Wennington, who was part of the Bulls’ 1995-98 three-peat lineups, was a soft rebounder and defender, but had a similarly soft shooting touch, and could always be counted on to make his free throws.
Wennington was quite the popular backup with the Bulls, and was so popular that Chicago-area McDonald’s restaurants named a sandwich after him – the Beef Wennington. His likability and sense of humor has also enabled him to snag a job as a radio color commentator for his old team, as he’s been since 2003. His son Robbie was a Boston College tight end, and is now working as Assistant Athletic Director at Boston’s Catholic Memorial HS.
2 2. SCOTT WILLIAMS
The Chicago Bulls had many a middling big man during their championship days, and we’ve got one in here who was on board for the second three-peat. Scott Williams was on board for the first three-peat, and after playing sparingly as an undrafted rookie in 1990-91, he played a progressively bigger role in the next two championship teams. At 6’10”, this former North Carolina Tar Heel played both the four and the five, and was mainly utilized for his off-the-bench rebounding and defensive ability.
Remarkably, Williams ended up playing 15 NBA seasons, almost exclusively as a backup, and never averaged more than 7.6 points per game in a year. He was also a true journeyman, playing for six more teams after becoming a free agent in 1994. After retiring, he spent two seasons as an NBA assistant, and this father-of-two is now working as a color analyst for relative Division I newbies Grand Canyon University.
1 1. BJ ARMSTRONG
At 6’2”, BJ Armstrong was technically a point guard on the Chicago Bulls’ first three-peat lineup, and the guy who started alongside Michael Jordan after John Paxson’s age started to catch up with him. He was Paxson’s backup on the Bulls’ first two championship team, got promoted to starter in 1992-93 as the Bulls won their first title, then enjoyed an expanded offensive role and an All-Star spot in 1994 during Jordan’s almost two-year sabbatical. Then he seemingly dropped off the face of the earth, or more like into NBA obscurity.
Armstrong could have broken out in a “big fish in a little pond” scenario as the Toronto Raptors’ first-overall pick in the 1995 expansion draft. But he was then traded to the Golden State Warriors after refusing to report to training camp, and he found himself bouncing around the league after one semi-decent year with the Warriors. Fittingly, he did return to Chicago for his final NBA season in 1999-00, but he was clearly a shadow of his old self by then. Armstrong is now a sports agent as part of Wasserman Media Group, and is the agent for several players, including Derrick Rose and 2016 Bulls draftee Denzel Valentine.
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