The Chicago Bulls dominance of the 1990’s is certainly their highest point as a franchise. Nonetheless, for a franchise that has spanned 54 seasons, the Bulls still boasts a rich history of All-Stars and Hall of Famers that wore the red stripes throughout its existence.
Certainly, the top player on this list of greatest Bulls players is already a gimme and no one will ever take that title from him. Nonetheless, it’s still worth listing the other four that round out the top five players in team history.
5. Bob Love
Bob Love easily had his best years in Chicago. Initially playing scarce minutes through his first three years in the league, Love’s numbers spiked to 21.0 points and 8.7 rebounds in his fourth NBA season. Through nine seasons with the Bulls, Love averaged 21.3 points and 6.8 rebounds.
Possessing a solid two-way game, Love made three All-Star teams, received two All-NBA nods, and was named to the All-Defensive team thrice. Love also helped lead Chicago to two Conference Finals appearances in back-to-back years from 1974 to 1975.
Love is just one of four players to have their jersey retired by the franchise. Thus, he should rightfully take his standing as a top-5 Bull of all time.
4. Jerry Sloan
Dubbed as “The Original Bull”, Jerry Sloan became Chicago’s first ever selection when they took him in the 1966 expansion draft. Drafted originally by the Baltimore Bullets in 1965, Sloan eventually made a name for himself in Chicago, playing all but one of his 11 years with the franchise.
In his 10-year stint with the Bulls, Sloan made the All-Star twice and led them to eight straight playoff appearances. Though he did put up a solid 14.7 points in his Bulls career, Sloan made a name for himself on the defensive end.
Sloan, who eventually found success as a head coach, made the All-Defensive team six times through his career and currently ranks third in Defensive Win Shares in the team’s history. He also became the first Bulls player to have his jersey retired.
3. Derrick Rose
Derrick Rose did not have a lengthy career with the Bulls, unlike most of the players on this list. However, his impact on the franchise simply cannot be ignored.
Rose reinvigorated the Bulls after their glory years in the 1990’s. A Chicago native, Bulls fans connected to Rose like no other athlete since Michael Jordan.
Rose immediately established himself as the franchise cornerstone when he won Rookie of the Year in 2008-09. And in just his third season, Rose became the youngest MVP in league history. In his MVP campaign, the former no. 1 overall pick averaged 25.0 points and 7.7 assists, while leading the Bulls to the best record in the NBA.
Unfortunately, a career-altering torn ACL deprived all of us from truly seeing the former league MVP at the real peak of his powers. Rose will forever be one of the ultimate what ifs.
2. Scottie Pippen
These next two should be easy.
Despite being overshadowed by the greatest player of all time, many have often argued that Chicago wouldn’t have won all their six NBA titles without Scottie Pippen. Known as one of the greatest perimeter defenders of all time, Pippen’s game complemented that of Michael Jordan’s perfectly.
Not only was he a force on the defensive end, Pippen also boasted a very well-rounded offensive game to go along with elite playmaking skills, especially at the forward spot.
While playing Robin to MJ’s Batman for most of his career, Pippen also gave us a snippet of how he looked like as the no. 1 option in 1993-94 when Jordan took a hiatus from the game. In that season, the 6-foot-7 forward turned in averages of 22.0 points, 8.7 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 2.9 steals.
Pippen finished third in MVP voting that year, while leading the MJ-less Bulls to a 55-win regular season and a valiant 7-game effort against the two-seed New York Knicks in the 2nd round.
1. Michael Jordan
Who else would you put here? Maybe Coby White has a shot? Or Kris Dunn?
Kidding aside, there are probably not enough superlatives to describe Michael Jordan. Likewise, there is probably not one word to encapsulate just how much this man meant to, not just Chicago, but also the game of basketball.
The Bulls franchise and the city of Chicago changed forever when North Carolina standout somehow miraculously fell into their laps at no. 3 in the 1984 NBA draft. While they had to go through heartbreaks through the 1980’s, the following decade saw them dominate the league led by Jordan.
Of course, we all know just how much of an elite scorer Jordan is. However, the Hall of Fame shooting guard was also just as elite on the other end of the floor.
The list of career accolades: 6 NBA championships, 6 Finals MVPs, 5 regular season MVPs, and a Defensive Player of the Year award in 1987-88, among countless others. Moreover, Jordan also holds multiple records in Bulls history, a list that’s too numerous to enumerate.
“The Shot”, “The Flu Game”, crying in the locker room after winning the 1996 Finals – these are just some of the classic moments that Jordan created in a Bulls uniform.