Way back in October, back when the Bulls’ record of 72 wins was safe, I began an essay about the 12 moves the Bulls made between June 1993 and October 1995 that turned an aged, bickering, 57-win champion into a flourishing, rejuvenated, 72-win juggernaut.
Seven months later, I have a 13,000-word e-book and have spent more time reading about and watching clips of the 1995-96 Bulls than any time other than 1995-96. I’ll save you the suspense: It’s been a sweet 7 months!
Thus I am very proud to release “How The GOAT Was Built: 6 Life Lessons From the 1996 Chicago Bulls.”
I believe in the planning and principles behind the ‘96 Bulls and the whole second three-peat. A lot of sound reasoning went into those teams. But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t any luck.
As I researched this team, I had fun diving into history’s wrinkles — those mostly forgotten sharp left turns our memories ironed into straightaways. The lesson: like the parable of the Chinese farmer, you truly never know if an event will end up being good luck or bad, so plan the best you can, react pragmatically, and move on.
And with that, here are my two favorite “what if?” moments of the 1996 Bulls — they’re related.
What if Chris Dudley didn’t sign with the Trail Blazers in 1993?
The championship Bulls don’t work without Scottie Pippen. So naturally the Bulls tried to trade him approximately a bajillion times between 1994 and 1998. In telling the story of the 1996 Bulls — and gleaning from that story wisdom for our own lives and pursuits — two abandoned Pippen trades stand out.
Incredibly, both failed because the OTHER team balked.
The first was between the Bulls and SuperSonics on the eve of the 1994 draft, the Pippen-for-Kemp deal that failed when Seattle got cold feet.
“I don’t want to be here (with the Bulls) the rest of the season,”Pippen said in early February. “I’m hoping teams are thinking about me. I’m still ready to get out of here. I’m looking for a different place, a different team, a different perspective on my career. I’ve got 18 days to go (to the February 23 trading deadline). The countdown is on. Just say I’m showcasing myself out here.”Continue reading “33-23 = 1.8, but 33+23 = 72”
Twenty years later, my number one vision of the Chicago Bulls in the spring of 1996 is 20 limbs and an approximate 35-foot combined wingspan fanned out like a flying octagon — five players between 6’6 and 6’11, four with point guard skills, four who could defend three positions, and a genius on the sideline joining his players in synced consciousness.
The 1993 Bulls and LeBron James: a look back, and a look ahead
Originally posted June 20, 2013
If I could watch only one Bulls Finals game for the rest of my life, it would be Game 6, June 20, 1993: Bulls 99, Suns 98. The night the Bulls secured their legacy as one of the premier teams in league history. The night “Paxson for three!” became every young Chicago hooper’s on-court self-exclamation.
The following is my final story on the 2011-12 Chicago Bulls. For my full RedEye archives, click here.
The season that never happened.
By Jack M Silverstein
May 12, 2012
Maybe that didn’t just happen. They called a foul, right? C.J.’s going to the line for three… right?
Because if he isn’t, then this game just ended like THAT. With the Bulls losing and the season expiring. And there’s no way THAT happened.
Those were my first thoughts after C.J. Watson’s half-court prayer fell softly to the floor. There had to be a foul, a whistle I hadn’t heard, or a late call coming. But there was no foul. No whistle. And no more games for the 2012 Chicago Bulls. Continue reading “The season that never happened.”