Jerry Reinsdorf speaks out on breakup of Michael Jordan-led Bulls dynasty
With the NBA’s 2020 All-Star Weekend headed to Chicago, the basketball community’s attention turns to The Windy City. That also means revisiting the history of the Chicago Bulls, including when team owner Jerry Reinsdorf played a part in breaking up Michael Jordan’s six-time champion Bulls, with the dynasty coming to a crashing halt in 1998 after the second three-peat.
Reinsdorf, 83, now a fellow member of the NBA’s Board of Governors alongside the 56-year-old Charlotte Hornets owner, reminisced on the breakup of that Bulls dynasty, via Jeff Zillgitt and Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports:
When it comes to Jordan leaving Chicago, the narrative in the 20-plus years since that last title has often centered around Reinsdorf and general manager Jerry Krause breaking up the Bulls dynasty before it had run its course.
Not true, says Reinsdorf.
“At some point it had to end,” he said. “It wasn’t going to go on forever.”
“I knew we were going to have to rebuild,” Reinsdorf said. “Phil Jackson says he didn’t want to be part of a rebuild. And Michael said he didn’t want to play for anybody but Phil Jackson.
Jordan retired for a second time after first calling it quits in 1993, which then resulted in a stint playing minor league baseball. He returned to the Bulls in 1995 to commence a second three-peat from 1996-98, then he retired again as head coach Phil Jackson also moved on (eventually to the Los Angeles Lakers).
Michael Jordan’s last moment in a Bulls uniform came with the Hall of Fame shooting guard sinking the game-winning jumper against the Utah Jazz in Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals.
After Jordan and Jackson departed, Reinsdorf and Krause tore apart the team and started a rebuild that hasn’t yielded another championship, or even an NBA Finals trip, since Jordan’s dynasty.