The Chicago Bulls joined the NBA during the expansion era of the mid-60s to mid-70s (that also included the Cavs, Bullets, Supersonics, Trail Blazers, Jazz, Buffalo Braves, Suns, and Rockets). In their 50 seasons, the Bulls have played in the playoffs a total of 34 times, and have come away with a total of 6 championships (while led by a player whose name rhymes with Schmichael Jordan).
A total of 337 players have worn a Bulls jersey during the regular season and/or the playoffs. The list of players is always a fun thing to look at. You could make jokes about the bar-and-meat reputation of The Windy City just using players found in the “B”s… where there are two guys named Boozer, two guys named Brewer, a guy named Bratz, and a guy named Booth. There have been 8 Browns, 6 Johnsons, 5 Jones’, 4 Robinsons, and 3 Smiths. And while there was no Partridge, there is a Pargo… and maybe that’s close enough.
So what that means is that a ton of guys have played for the Bulls through their three arenas. Many of them haven’t been very good, by NBA standards… but there have been some great players to lace ‘em up in Chicago. We are going to focus on the 20 Greatest. Their heyday might have been in a different team’s uniform, but we are focusing on the players and not the laundry.
There were many tough cuts, so be sure to argue and troll and whine and complain to us with comments.
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21 Honorable Mentions: Butler, The Bigs, and the Technicality of Wade
Jimmy Butler is an amazing player. He has won the Most Improved Player award, been an All-Star twice, and made three All-Defensive 2nd Teams. Yet, Jimmy Buckets (great nickname, by the way) is only 26. He made a thrilling case for Top 20, but he doesn’t have enough reps just yet. Clearly, though, the young man’s future is bright and he’ll be on a list just like this in the near, near future.
Chicago also has had a number of very talented big men over the last 50 years. Surprisingly, in both statistics and accolades, they measured out to be remarkably similar (one might have been better at blocks, one might have been more of a scorer, one might have been better with a shorter career, one might have been more of a role player but had more longevity). The bruising, enforcer big man is the player that perhaps should be most associated with the Bulls… despite Schmichael being the all-time face of the franchise. And so here we honor the very tough, bunched-up-towards-the-end cuts of Carlos Boozer, Bill Cartwright, Tyson Chandler, Antonio Davis, and Charles Oakley.
As this article is being written, Dwyane Wade is not yet a Bull. He has verbally committed to playing in Chicago, but has yet to sign the papers and take pictures in a Bulls jersey. By virtue of that, we had to keep this surefire first-ballot Hall Of Famer off the list. You, the reader, are a future person… and so the likelihood Wade is already a Bull for you (or perhaps even formerly was a Bull). If that is the case, slot him at #3 on the list and bump everyone else back; as Wade is a 12-time All-Star, a Finals and All-Star Game MVP, a 3-time champion, and is ranked 20th all-time in the Basketball-Reference Hall of Fame Probability index.
20 Derrick Rose
20th out of 337 (or 21st out of 338) isn’t bad; but all the same this is a very unfortunate and depressing ranking. Derrick Rose, currently a member of the Knicks following a trade, was always meant to be the next messiah of Chicago. A hometown kid, drafted 1st overall, Rose had an electric game and perhaps the fastest 5th gear the hardwood has ever seen.
Rose won the Rookie of the Year award in 2009, and became the youngest league MVP ever just two years later. He was a 3-time all-star and made the All-NBA 1st Team once. During a playoff game against the Philadelphia 76ers in 2012, however, Rose suffered a devastating injury in the form of a torn ACL. Since that time, he has struggled to stay on the court due to a spate of injuries. When healthy (-ish), he has shown glimpses of being a very good player still, albeit one very visibly robbed of the athleticism and gumption that made him so thrilling during his halcyon days.
Rose is only 27 years old, currently. As a Knick, or whatever he winds up as over the course of his career, he may regain some semblance of his former trajectory. We, as fans of the game, can only hope that is the case. Should nothing come of his playing days to come, we are still left with a brilliant career that shone so bright that even in its short time that it became Hall-worthy (he is currently ranked 162 on the HOF index, ahead of fellow what-if inductees Pete Maravich and Bill Walton).
19 Jerry Sloan
Fans under 40 know Sloan, if they know him at all, as the longtime coach of the Utah Jazz. What young fans might not know is that the former 4th overall pick was a 2-time All-Star himself that gritted and pushed and banged his way into the hearts of Chicagoans to become known as “The Original Bull”.
Sloan played 11 seasons in the league; 10 of them with Chicago. A wing player with seemingly endless ferocity hustled his way to six All-Defensive Teams (four of them 1st) and two All-Star appearances. Jerry Sloan sits in the Top 10 for a number of career Bulls stats (stats earned as a Bull), but most tellingly… he is second in steals per game, second in total fouls, and first in defensive rating. His number is retired by the Bulls.
Jerry Sloan then went on to a Hall of Fame career as a head coach, imparting his same playing mentality into the Utah Jazz for 23 straight seasons until his retirement in 2011.
18 Reggie Theus
Reggie Theus was essentially a high-scoring shooting guard that was so adept with the ball that he played point guard for half his career. Theus was the big star in Chicago just before Michael Jordan came to town, and he was an exciting and heady player to watch.
Theus was the runner-up for Rookie of the Year in 1979 (losing out to Phil Ford). He was, however, a 2-time All-Star (both selections as a Bull) who then moved on to the Kansas City Kings after six seasons in Chicago. He was the centerpiece of the Kings as they moved from Kansas City to Sacramento, averaging nearly 19 points with 5.6 assists and 3.4 rebounds during his time there. Despite never being a 3-point shooter, he sits at 52 on the all-time scoring list. He is also 79th in steals and 44th in assists.
An interesting side note, Theus was taken by the Orlando Magic in their expansion draft (taken from the Atlanta Hawks). He was the highest profile player for the inaugural Magic team in 1989, where he was 2nd on the team in scoring and assists.
17 Metta World Peace
Metta began his career as a Bull (when he was known as Ron Artest), having been drafted 16th in 1999. A promising player and physical, defensive hound, he was included in a high profile trade to Indiana (along with Brad Miller, who almost made this list himself) for Jalen Rose (among others). It was in Indiana where World Peace began to make a (different) name for himself and gain both some fame and infamy.
As you might expect from someone who changed his name to Metta World Peace, Metta is an interesting character. Coming from a very troubled past (including witnessing first-hand someone getting murdered by getting stabbed by a table leg at a YMCA), Metta has publicly battled mental illness and his own hard-luck story. It has led to very negative incidents, such as being the precipitating factor for the infamous fan-player brawl the ‘Malice at the Palace’, some high-profile cheap shots (like elbowing James Harden in the temple), and an ugly domestic violence situation with his ex-wife (we’d like to take the opportunity to remind Metta and all our readers that none of these antics are acceptable… but that domestic violence is a very serious matter that does not get dealt with harshly enough in pro sports). It has also led to far more lighthearted scenarios… like the time when playing for Houston that World Peace was late for the team bus and showed up without pants due to being absent-minded and in a rush.
Metta’s talent and tenacious on-court demeanor, however, have tempered his demented cartoon character routine for the ballclubs that took him on (at least for a while). World Peace is a 1-time All-Star and 1-time winner of the Defensive Player of the Year award. He has made a 3rd Team All-NBA, two 1st Team All-Defense, and two 2nd Team. He is 57th all-time in 3-pointers and 22nd in steals. He was a featured player and playoff hero for the Lakers during their most recent championship in 2010. He has since settled into a comfortable role as year-to-year bench player and veteran mentor for the Lakers; taking Julius Randle and others under his wing.
16 Horace Grant
Horace Grant never got the attention or spotlight equal to MJ and Pippen (to be fair, he wasn’t quite as good as either of them), but Grant was the definitive third option for the first three Bulls championships. A strong and savvy power forward with a deft scoring touch, Grant provided an amazing compliment to Jordan and Pippen, while keeping the likes of Elden Campbell, Larry Nance, Charles Oakley, and Charles Barkley at bay. Even fans who don’t know Grant by name surely know him by his bulky and colorful goggles and ferocity in ripping down boards.
Grant hung on with the Bulls during Michael Jordan’s baseball sabbatical, becoming the 2nd option on a still-formidable playoff team. It was there that he received his sole All-Star selection. He then moved on to Orlando, where he became a fixture and fan-favorite for several years (actually beating the Bulls his first year with the Magic en route to getting swept in the Finals versus Houston).
Horace won a 4th title as a Laker in 2001 (re-uniting with Phil Jackson, Shaq, and Brian Shaw). For his career, Grant is 44th in total rebounds, 62nd in blocks, and 99th in steals. He was a member of four All-Defensive 2nd Teams, and is 149th in Basketball-Reference’s HoF Probability Index.
Horace played in the league at the same time as his twin brother, Harvey. Horace currently has two nephews in the league (Harvey’s kids) in Jerian and Jerami.
15 Elton Brand
Elton Brand was drafted by the Bulls 1st overall in the 1999. He showed great promise, winning co-Rookie of the Year honors (with Steve Francis), and was traded to the Clippers after two seasons for the rights to Tyson Chandler, kicking off the “Baby Bulls” era for Chicago.
It was in Los Angeles where Brand really made his mark. In 2002, he became the franchise’s first All-Star in 9 years (prior to that, it had been Danny Manning). He would be an All-Star one more time, in 2006, when he also made the All-NBA 2nd Team (note that the league was so loaded in that year that both Tim Duncan and Dwyane Wade were relegated to the 2nd Team also). Brand, along with Sam Cassell, Corey Maggette, Cuttino Mobley, and Chris Kaman led the Clippers past the 1st round of the playoffs for the first time in franchise history in 2006. As of last season, Brand was still hanging on in this league as a veteran (most recently with the 76ers). He currently sits 18th all-time in offensive rebounds, 42nd in defensive rebounds, and 51st in total rebounds. He is 91st in career points and 20th all-time in blocks.
14 Guy Rodgers
Guy Rodgers might be the toughest player to place on this list. He began his career before anyone else on this list, and almost didn’t get on it simply because the game was so, so different when Rodgers was playing. Rodgers spent eight seasons with the Warriors before being traded to Chicago during the Bulls’ inaugural year of 1966.
A southpaw point guard from Philly, Guy played in the Finals once with the Warriors and was the point guard for Philadelphia during Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game (where he handed out 20 assists). Rodgers was a 4-time All-Star who led the league in assists twice (and was 2nd in assists six times… which is something that happens playing at the same time as Oscar Robertson and Bob Cousy). He is 17th all-time in assists. Guy Rodgers was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2014.
13 Joakim Noah
Noah, despite being a pretty popular player with the accolades to match, has been something of a cult figure in the NBA throughout his playing career. A wild-haired center with tremendous defense and passing ability, he is constantly described as being the sort of player you hate… unless he’s on your team. Just as much as he’s known for his pestering energy on the defensive end and his long, curly hair, Noah is known by his shot… which is perhaps one of the ugliest and most awkward heave shots in basketball history (despite his being a career 49% shooter).
Joakim just finished his 9th season, all with the Bulls. He signed just this summer to join former teammate Derrick Rose (traded this summer from Chicago) on the New York Knicks. Noah is a 2-time All-Star and was the 2014 Defensive Player of the Year. He has made three All-Defensive Teams (two 1st, one 2nd) and one All-NBA 1st Team. In 2014 he also came in 4th in MVP voting as he led a Bulls team ravaged by injuries into the playoffs. He still has a ways to go to wind up on the all-time numbers lists, but will likely be there at some point (since he is still just 31 and should age decently in the league). For his career, he is 19th in rebound percentage (the amount of available rebounds in a game that he secures himself) and is 49th in block percentage.
12 Bob Love
Bob Love (no relation to Kevin) was another player in the fine Chicago Bulls mold of being defense-first. Love, however, combined that with a pretty handy scoring acumen to make for a devastating two-way player at the two forward positions. Originally having been rejected by the Cincinnati Royals (who drafted him), he doggedly worked his way into the league by first playing in the Eastern Basketball League for the Trenton Colonials (we know, we wish that was a team in the NBA, too). His numbers shot up following his transition from Cincinnati (and 14 games in Milwaukee) to Chicago; where he wound up averaging 21.3 points per game and nearly 7 rebounds.
Love was a 3-time All-Star (all with Chicago), and made two All-NBA 2nd Teams. He was also a member of three All-Defensive 2nd Teams. Bob Love continues to work with the Bulls into his 70s, and was the second player to have his jersey retired by the franchise (behind Jerry Sloan).
11 Norm Van Lier
“Stormin’ Norman” Van Lier was a bullish (pun intended) defense-first point guard who played with the Bulls for 7 of his 11 seasons in the league. He was drafted in the 3rd round (but 34th overall, so the equivalent of a high 2nd rounder right now).
Van Lier was a very popular player in Chicago during the 70s, as his small stature and blue collar defensive demeanor spoke to the spirit of the city. He made three All-Star teams and one 2nd Team All-NBA. He was on the All-Defensive Team a whopping eight consecutive years (three of them on the 1st Team). Norm led the league in assists in 1971, and finished in the top 10 in the league in all seasons but three. He sits 55th all-time on the career assists list, and has the 29th highest steals per game average for a career.
10 Ben Wallace
Ben Wallace was a very one-of-a-kind player with a very one-of-a-kind background (and one-of-a-kind afro). Wallace came into the league with the Washington Bullets as an undrafted player. The fact that he made the team despite being a severely undersized center (at 6’9”) with absolutely no shot to speak of is a testament to his rebounding and defensive abilities. After two seasons in Washington coming off the bench and playing sparingly, he got his first big shot in his one season with the Orlando Magic. He was traded with Chucky Atkins for promising superstar Grant Hill, and somehow more than managed to live up to expectations. He found his true home in another industrial Midwestern city in Detroit, where he played for six seasons before signing with Chicago (where he played for two before being moved to Cleveland).
Big Ben was a 4-time All-Star, and featured player on the Detroit Pistons championship team of 2004 that was noted for being devoid of a superstar (while toppling the top-heavy Kobe/Shaq/Malone/Payton Lakers). Wallace was voted Defensive Player of the Year four times, and made six All-Defensive Teams (five 1st and one 2nd) and five All-NBA Teams (three 2nd and two 3rd). He is 15th all-time in offensive rebounds and 13th all-time in blocks. He also is 32nd in total rebounds and 55th in steals. He is the only player in NBA history to retire with both more blocks (2,137) and steals (1,369) than turnovers (1,197). His jersey is retired by the Detroit Pistons.
9 Chet Walker
Chet “The Jet” Walker was a small-ish small forward who spent the second half of his career with the Bulls after spending the first half with the Philadelphia 76ers (his rookie year, the 76ers were known as the Syracuse Nationals). He won an NBA championship with Philly (alongside Wilt Chamberlain and Billy Cunningham).
Walker was a 7-TIme All-Star and was elected to the All-Rookie 1st Team in 1963. He has made the 31st most free throws in NBA history with 5,079; and he got to the line the 32nd most in NBA history with 6,384 attempts. . He is 55th all-time in scoring, and is 47th in rebounds. Walker led the league in games played for 3 different seasons. For Bulls season records, he is the only person to place in the top 10 for Win Shares Per 48 Minutes (good for 9th-most at .268) other than Michael Jordan. Walker also places in the Top 10 for his Bulls career in field goals (6th), free throws (3rd), free throw percentage (7th), points (6th), points per game (4th), PER (6th), and more. The Jet was voted into the Hall of Fame in 2012.
8 Artis Gilmore
Artis Gilmore was a gigantic lefty center (he was 7’2”) who sported a gigantic afro (and magnificent sideburns) that likely put him at 7’6”. Nicknamed “A-Train”, Gilmore made his biggest mark in professional basketball in the ABA, as a member of the Kentucky Colonels. As a Colonel, he won Rookie of the Year and MVP of the league in the same year. He made All-ABA and All-Defensive ABA 1st teams in his full five seasons in the league. He was also an All-Star each of those years, and won the 1975 championship. When the ABA collapsed, he was the first player taken in the dispersal draft (the pick was made by the Chicago Bulls).
Gilmore played with Chicago for 6 years following the collapse of the ABA, before moving on to San Antonio for 5 (he then returned to Chicago in his final season via trade, but was waived mid-year and signed on as a Celtic for the rest of the year). Gilmore finished his career in the NBA as a 6-time All-Star, and member of the 1977-1978 All-Defensive 2nd Team). Despite all those seasons with the ABA, he still places in several all-time categories: 48th in rebounding, 25th in blocks, 2nd in field goal percentage, and 1st in true shooting percentage (to name a few). A-Train was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011.
7 Dennis Rodman
There has perhaps never been a player more polarizing, controversial, and simultaneously a household name as Dennis “The Worm” Rodman. A slim and undersized power forward, Rodman began his career as a 2nd round pick of the Detroit Pistons. His frantic workaday defensive and rebounding acumen, his athleticism in hounding his man, and the theatrics his style of play induced on the court ingratiated him to Pistons fans worldwide. He became a key force in Detroit’s back-to-back championships of 1989 and 1990 (as a bench player in ‘89 and the starting power forward in ‘90). But it was precisely that manic energy, combined with alcohol problems, drug problems, attitude problems, and a very public “alternative” persona (compared to the traditional jock personality) that wore his welcome out in each of his stops in the league. From Detroit, he had a short two season stint in San Antonio. He then went on to be a key part of the Bulls’ 2nd threepeat. To close out his career, he lasted 23 games with the Lakers and only 12 with Dallas. He made several comeback attempts with independent, foreign, and minor league teams.
Rodman was an All-Star 2 times, as well as a 2-time winner of Defensive Player of the Year. As mentioned before, he was a big part of a total of 5 championship teams. He made a total of 8 All-Defensive Teams (all 1st but one). He also made All-NBA 3rd Team twice. A complete non-shooter, Rodman’s all-time stats are nonetheless impressive. He ranks 22nd in career rebounds, 4th in offensive rebounds, and 1st in total rebound percentage (for his career he sucked up nearly 25% of all available rebounds in the game). His number is retired by the Pistons, and he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2011.
Rodman’s extra-basketball activities have been numerous and varied, to say the least. He has had a number of reality TV show appearances, did some professional wrestling, starred in an action movie opposite Jean-Claude Van Damme, and had a highly publicized friendship and meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.
6 Robert Parish
After his long and storied career with the Boston Celtics (and his early years as a Warrior), “The Chief” was a member of the Hornets for two seasons. He closed out his career with a final season in Chicago at age 43… where he won his 4th championship. By this point, however, he was just a bench player averaging nine and a half fairly productive minutes a game (4 point and 2 rebounds to go with half a block).
Parish was voted as one of the 50 Greatest of all-time for the NBA’s 50th anniversary celebration. He was a 9-time All-Star, voted to one All-NBA 2nd Team and one 3rd Team. His 1,611 games are the most of any player ever. He also ranks 15th in total minutes played, 8th in rebounds (2nd in offensive and 4th in defensive). He was 43 when he retired, making him the 3rd oldest player to play in the league, and played for a total of 21 seasons. Parish’s jersey was retired by Boston, and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003.
5 Pau Gasol
Pau Gasol, the Spanish big man (power forward, primarily) with the easy touch and heady passing skills, spent two seasons with Chicago. He signed with the Bulls after seven up-and-down seasons with the Lakers (having come to the Lakers after seven years with Memphis in a trade for his own brother). He came in search of another ring and instead was party to a very tumultuous regime change from coach Tom Thibodeau to Fred Hoiberg. He has, this offseason, hitched his wagon to the San Antonio Spurs in order to potentially win more hardware.
Gasol was voted Rookie of the Year, after having been drafted third overall. He won two championships with Los Angeles. Pau is a 6-time All-Star (including both of his years in Chicago). He has been part of the All-NBA 2nd Team twice and 3rd Team twice. For his career, he is currently 38th all-time in rebounds, 49th in points, 84th in field goal percentage, and 54th in free throws. His block percentage is currently the 50th greatest of all-time. Gasol has the 33rd most win shares in NBA history. Basketball-Reference ranks him 74th all-time in Hall of Fame Probability currently, ahead of luminaries such as James Worthy, Dave Bing,and Joe Dumars. Gasol is the Grizzlies all-time leading scorer. In international play (notable because of his commitment to the Spanish men’s team and his 3 years with FC Barcelona before coming to the NBA), he was awarded a FIBA World Cup MVP, a Spanish King’s Cup MVP, a Spanish League Finals MVP, two FIBA Europe Player of the Year awards, and more. Gasol’s Spanish team won the 2006 FIBA World Cup over the U.S., and received the silver medal in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
4 George Gervin
Gervin, in addition to having been an incredible offensive player at the forward positions, is a strong contender for greatest basketball nickname of all-time with “Iceman”. George Gervin began his career with a 4-year stint in the ABA (one year and change with the Virginia Squires before going to the Spurs), because he was picked 40th overall by the Suns in the NBA Draft. When the ABA collapsed and the Spurs became one of four teams added to the NBA, Gervin went along for the ride. He continued to play 9 more seasons with San Antonio before being traded to the Chicago Bulls for his 15th and final season (actually playing on the same team as a very young Michael Jordan).
The owner of one of basketball’s all-time signature moves in his finger roll, Iceman was a sight to behold. Gervin was built similarly to Kevin Durant (for those of you not old enough to remember Gervin); long and spindly and athletic and fast. His nickname was derived from his cool, almost detached on-court demeanor… which he held even under extreme pressure or while accomplishing amazing feats such as scoring 63 points (33 of them in the 2nd quarter) in the final game of the season to hang onto the scoring title in 1978. Gervin was selected as one of the “50 at 50”, was a 9-time All-Star (and 3-time ABA All-Star). He won the 1980 All-Star MVP. He came in 2nd twice and 3rd once in league MVP voting from 1978-1980. Ice was All-NBA 1st Team five times and 2nd Team four times. Despite having lost 4 years to the ABA, he is still 49th all-time in free throws 37th all-time in points. Gervin has his jersey retired by the Spurs, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996.
3 Nate Thurmond
For the eagle-eyed among you, you might notice that in our previous article about the “Top 20 Greatest Players to Wear a Warriors Jersey”, Nate Thurmond placed behind Robert Parish (yes, both were Bulls for very short periods as well as Warriors at a certain point in their careers). We are not afraid to admit when we’re wrong. Unfortunately, Nate Thurmond’s death after a short battle with leukemia just recently on July 16, helped to put his career in perspective.
Parish was being given extra points for having more championships, which is more of a team accomplishment than an individual accomplishment (especially considering Parish was either the 2nd or 3rd option on the championship team). Much of Thurmond’s career was spent with a guy named Pork Chop Mullins as the 2nd best player on the team… and no, he wasn’t as good as Larry Bird or Kevin McHale. Parish also was being given added consideration for the longevity of his career (21 seasons versus Thurmond’s 16). While longevity itself is admirable, Thurmond’s career during his prime was better than Parish’s. Obfuscating Thurmond’s accomplishments is the fact that defensive stats like blocks and steals weren’t recorded officially until Thurmond was two-thirds out of the league already. As it stands, Thurmond finished with averages of 15 points, 15 rebounds, 2 blocks, and nearly 3 assists per game. Thurmond was a 7-time All-Star who finished 2nd in MVP voting behind Wilt Chamberlain in 1967. He is 10th all-time in career rebounds, and was voted to 1st or 2nd Team All-Defense five times (two of them 1st). His jersey was retired by both Golden State and Cleveland, he was voted one of the 50 Greatest Players of All-Time for the NBA’s 50th anniversary, and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985. Rest in Peace, Nate the Great.
2 Scottie Pippen
Scottie Pippen, the world’s most famous 2nd banana. Pippen began his career with the Bulls, teaming with Michael Jordan to create one of the most devastating tandems ever seen on the hardwood. While Pippen did manage to win 6 championships as a Bull (two separate threepeats), the defensive dynamo from Arkansas will forever be linked in discussion with Jordan. Pippen, however, led the Bulls in Jordan’s absence during his baseball years to very respectable finishes at the upper echelons of the Eastern Conference. Scottie then moved on to the Portland Trail Blazers (after having been traded to Houston for half a season), where he settled into a do-everything veteran role on a number of fantastic Portland teams. He then re-signed with Chicago for his final season.
If not for Jordan, Pippen would be the all-time Bulls franchise leader in over a dozen statistical categories: from games and minutes played, to points and steals and assists and defensive rebounds. While some would argue that everything Pippen did was dependent on his being paired with MJ, his individual numbers quickly quash that debate. Pippen retired a 7-time All-Star, and took home the All-Star MVP in 1994. He was voted to eight consecutive All-Defensive 1st Teams (bookended by a 2nd Team selection). A testament to his two-way prowess, Pippen stands all-time as the 54th most in points, 31st in assists, 78th in rebounds (50th in defensive rebounds), 95th in blocks, and 6th in career steals. He is 17th in career VORP (a statistic that measures Value Over Replacement Player for those not in the know), nestled right between Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul. He was All-NBA 1st Team in three seasons, 2nd Team in two, and 3rd Team in two more. Scottie won a gold medal as a member of the 1992 Olympics Dream Team. He was voted as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History for the silver anniversary. His jersey is retired by the Bulls. Scottie Pippen was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a player, and as a member of the Dream Team in 2010.
1 Michael Jordan
Graced by several all-time players, the Bulls franchise could never be topped in a list of greatest players by anyone other than “His Airness”, Michael Jordan. Jordan was picked 3rd overall in the legendary 1984 draft that also produced Olajuwon, Barkley, Stockton, Alvin Robertson, and more. Very quickly, it became clear that Michael “Air” Jordan was something altogether different. Having spent all but two years (after having been retired for 3 seasons, he came back briefly with the Washington Wizards) with the Bulls, Jordan is very commonly referred to as the GOAT… the Greatest Of All Time.
Jordan played both shooting guard and small forward with a singular focus and determination. That focus led to on- and off-court confrontations with both opponents and teammates. His hyper-competitive nature, however, propelled the Bulls (along with the contributions of other greats such as Pippen, Rodman, and coach Phil Jackson) to two separate spates of back-to-back-to-back championships at a time when several all-time great players stood in the way of the crown. MJ currently sits 122nd all-time in rebounds and 106th in blocks (as a wing player), 42nd all-time in assists, 4th in points, and 3rd in steals. His career scoring average of 30.1 points per game is the best in history.
Until this past season, Jordan’s Bulls held the record for most wins in a regular season with 72. MJ was an All-Star in each of his 14 full seasons (he came back with only a few games left in the ‘94-’95 season after having ‘retired’ to try his hand at baseball with a White Sox minor league team). He was the All-Star MVP three times, he was the Finals MVP six times, and he was the league MVP five times. He was the Rookie of the Year and the 1988 Defensive Player of the Year. Jordan was a 10-time scoring champion, 9-time All-Defensive 1st Team selection, 10-time All-NBA 1st Team selection (and 1-time 2nd Team). He led the league in steals in 3 seasons. Jordan won two of the most talked about Slam Dunk Contests of all-time. Jordan was a member of the 1992 Dream Team, winning Olympic gold, and won a previous gold in the 1984 Olympic Games. Jordan was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009, and was voted part of the NBA’s “50 at 50” Team. Michael Jordan’s jersey is retired, not just as a Bull, but also for a franchise he never even played for, in the Miami Heat… for his contributions to the game of basketball.
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