Where Are They Now?

Today, every player from the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls basketball team is currently retired.  Michael Jordan has accomplished many goals since retiring from the game of basketball. He has starred in the movie Space Jam. Michael Jordan recently became part-owner and head of basketball operations for the Charlotte Bobcats. This was a huge investment because he is now the first billionaire NBA player in history and the world’s second-richest African-American. This month, President Barack Obama honored Jordan with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his success on the court and as a business man. Phil Jackson went on to coach the Los Angeles Lakers after his run with the Chicago Bulls. Today he is the current president for the New York Knicks. Steve Kerr had a very successful NBA career and decided to retire. He then went on to be a sports broadcaster for ESPN. Today, he is the current head coach for the marvelous Golden State Warriors. He has accomplished many goals with this team and has won a championship as the head coach. Scottie Pippen currently works as a basketball analyst. He works for ESPN and ABC.  The rest of the team has retired and went on to spend time with their families. This team will always be the most successful basketball ever established. They’ve completed the most difficult challenges and broke multiple records. The 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls are a legendary team and is a huge role model for young children trying to pursue their dreams. This team will never be forgotten.

Legacy Coming to an End

After a tremendous season in 1996-1997, the Chicago bulls had success in the next season (1997-1998). They followed the next season with another NBA championship. Michael Jordan was the Most Valuable Player of the season and things were looking great for the team. Midway through the season, age became a factor for the legendary Chicago Bulls team. Injuries also became a factor for the Chicago Bulls as well. The Chicago Bulls had won six of the last eight NBA Championships. But their road was coming to an end and they needed to rebuild their team. Michael Jordan retired from the NBA for a second time in 1999. After Michael Jordan decided to take a few years off, Coach Phil Jackson decides to take a year off from the game as well. In 1998, Scottie Pippen knew that they would not be the same team without the best player to ever play the game and without their coach Phil Jackson so, Scottie Pippen asks to be traded. He was sent to the Houston Rockets for Roy Rogers. In 1998, Jud Buechler was traded to the Detroit Pistons. This trade made their bench a lot less effective and less scoring would be coming from the bench. In 1998, Luc Longley was traded to the Phoenix Suns. Dennis Rodman was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. This was huge because the Bulls lost a defensive anchor and a rebounding machine. Another colossal trade was Steve Kerr being traded to the San Antonio Spurs. After all these changes were made in the offseason, the legendary Chicago Bulls team was no longer the same and began to rebuild through the draft.

Michael Jordan & Scottie Pippen

Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan will be remembered as the greatest duo to ever step foot on a basketball court and in the 1995-1996 season they proved it. In the 95-96 season, Scottie Pippen averaged 19.4 points a game and shot 46% from the court. This outstanding season opened everyone’s eyes. This break out season led Scottie Pippen to become an All-Star that season. Michael Jordan recently returned from baseball this season and was ready to shock the NBA.  Michael Jordan led the league in scoring this year with 30 points per game. Michael Jordan’s outstanding performances each night led him to success. The best player to ever play the game was the 1995-1996 NBA Most Valuable Player. Scottie Pippen was 5th in the MVP race. Both Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan made the NBA’s All-Defensive team. These two legendary players led their team to victory. They broke many records and goals in the season. When Michael Jordan retired, the bulls were not the same team. They could not make it to the playoffs and they did not have the teammate chemistry that they should have. Once Michael Jordan made it back to the NBA, he led them to win three NBA championships in a row. In 1996, Magic Johnson was diagnosed with HIV and he was forced to retire. This made the Chicago Bulls road to the championship a lot easier. With the help from Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, the 1995- 1996 Chicago Bulls will be remembered as the most iconic teams in NBA history.

Triangle Offense

The Triangle offense was invented in the early 30’s by a man named Sam Barry. Sam Barry was the coach at University of Southern California. He created his offensive strategy to keep defenses from switching from man defense to a zone defense. After Sam Barry retired, his former player Tex Winter decided to become a coach for Kansas State University. He adapted Sam Barry’s coaching style and brought the triangle offense to Kansas State University. Tex Winter later decided to leave the college level and coach in the NBA. The 1995 Chicago Bulls then hired the well experienced Tex Winter. The 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls was the first NBA team to use the triangle offense. Players and coaches in the NBA never witnessed this type of offensive strategy and this led to defensive confusion for other teams. This offensive strategy made players have to defend Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen one on one. If the defense decided to play help man defense, the Bulls would just pass the ball to the open man. This offense also did not allow teams to play a zone defense because a player will always be open. Phil Jackson the Chicago Bulls head coach, made it difficult for teams when they played. This offensive strategy is a big reason why Phil Jackson has thirteen NBA championship rings and is inducted into the Hall of Fame. Today many teams have taken the Chicago Bulls triangle offense. The New York Knicks use this offense and the Los Angeles Lakers also use this offense today.

 

The Roster

1995 was a historic year for the NBA fans and Chicago Bull fans. In 1994 the Chicago bulls made the playoffs even though Michael Jordan retired to peruse a career in baseball. They went on to beat the Cavaliers in the first round. In the Eastern Conference semifinals they faced a tough and well coached New York Knicks team and fell short. In the offseason, the Chicago bulls wanted to be a dominate team once again. In March 1995, Michael Jordan returned to the Chicago Bulls from the Birmingham Barons. The Chicago Bulls traded Will Perdue for the Hall of Fame big man Dennis Rodman. This trade was enormous for the NBA because it established an unstoppable big three in the Eastern Conference. The Chicago Bulls already had Scottie Pippen from last season so; many teams were terrified of the dynasty that was being formed. The starting center for this team was Luc Longley. He was an effective scorer inside and a tenacious rebounder. The starting point guard on the 1995-1996 Bulls team was Ron Harper. He averaged 3.9 assist a game with the Bulls. The Chicago Bulls bench provided superb support for the starters. The backup point guard and is now the current Head coach for the Golden State Warriors was Steve Kerr. The Backup shooting guard playing behind Michael Jordan was the sharp shooter Jud Buechler. The Backup center playing behind Luc Longley was Bill Wennington. The long time veteran John Salley played the backup power forward position and Toni Kukoč played the backup small forward position. The Chicago Bulls also drafted Jason Caffey in 1995. He was picked in the first round and pick number 20. Also the Bulls drafted Dragan Tarlać in the second round and pick number 30. The reserves on this team were Randy Brown, James Edwards, Jack Haley and Dickey Simpkins. The head coach for this dynamic team was the legendary Phil Jackson.

Road to 72-10 Regular Season Record

The 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls had a long and tough journey to the NBA regular season record. They surprised the NBA fans and went 72-10. Teams were trying to find to stop the Bulls. For example, the Detroit Pistons created a system to try and stop the Bulls. The Bad Boys called this the Jordan Rules. The Jordan Rules were a defensive strategy to limit Michael Jordan from dominating on offense. They would double team him, talk trash to him and when they fouled him they made sure it was a foul. This style of defense limited Michael Jordan from reaching the paint on offense. The Bulls faced a lot of adversity during the 95-96 seasons. They lost two games in a row to the nuggets and suns. After those two loses, they went on to win thirty two games in a row and shocked the NBA. The Bulls finished 72-10, breaking the 69-13 record of the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers. The Chicago bulls were so unstoppable that only the Indiana Pacers were able to beat the Bulls twice. This showed the NBA that the bulls were a legendary team. The Bulls also broke many other records during the regular season. Michael Jordan was named the League’s Most Valuable player. Not many teams were able to stop his dominance on the court.  Michael Jordan was also the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in the All Star Game. Dennis Rodman led the NBA in rebounds. Toni Kukoc won the NBA Sixth Man Award. The big three, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman were placed on the league’s All-Defensive Team.

Road to the Championship

The 1995-1996 season was a success for the Chicago Bulls in the playoffs. In the first round of the NBA playoffs, they faced a determined Miami Heat team. In the first round they swept the Miami Heat 3-0. In the Semi Finals they played a much better basketball team. The New York Knicks were 57-25 coached by Jeff Van Gundy. Patrick Ewing was not going down without a fight against the Bulls. Game 1 on May 5, the Bulls defeated the Knicks. Michael Jordan dropped an incredible 44 points. They would beat the Knicks on May 7 to take a 2-0 lead. The Bulls lost in game 3 even though Michael Jordan had 46 points. The Bulls then went on to win the series 4-1. The Chicago Bulls faced a young and inexperienced team in the conference Finals. They played Shaquille O’Neal and the Orlando Magic. The Bulls were determined to beat this young team and head to the NBA finals. They blew the Orlando Magic out almost every game they played.  In game one, the Bulls beat the Orlando Magic by 38 points. By game three, the Chicago Bulls were ahead in the series 3-0. They then went on to beat the Orlando Magic in a four game series sweep. In the NBA finals, the Bulls knew they were in for a challenge. They faced an experienced, well coached Seattle Sonics team. They were lead by Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton. In game one, the Chicago Bulls defeated the Sonics by 17 points. The Bulls then went on to win three straight games and they were up in the series 3-0. However, the Sonics would not go down without a fight. They beat the Bulls by 21 in game 4. In game 5, the Bulls looked week and lost again. In game 6, the Bulls went on to defeat the Sonics and win the series 4-2. The Chicago Bulls were then crowned the NBA champions of 1995-1996.