6 Rings: the true story of the Chicago Bulls dynasty


1996 Bulls GOAT

Twenty years ago, the dynasty ended.

The Chicago Bulls of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Phil Jackson won six championships in eight seasons and reshaped the NBA forever.

My latest story celebrates their final game together, Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals, and completes (for now, I guess) an ongoing series of pieces that I have written over the past 13 years on what was easily my favorite era as a sports fan.

Here, all together, are those pieces about “YOUR World Champion Chicago Bulls!”

I will never get tired of hearing that. Continue reading “6 Rings: the true story of the Chicago Bulls dynasty”

A Look Back At Michael Jordan’s Flu Game 20 Years Later

An unknown stat makes that legendary game even more impressive and helps explain why fans get angry when stars rest.

(Originally published June 8, 2017, at the now defunct 16WinsARing.com)

If you want to fully understand Michael Jordan’s “Flu Game,” you first have to understand one of Michael Jordan’s greatest statistics: 357.

It’s a stat that is rarely discussed. The number most associated with MJ, besides 23, is 6. As in “6 rings.” Once upon a time, MJ’s career was defined by a melange of numbers. People thought about 63 and 69. They pictured him in 9 and 45. They were astounded by 7, and later 10, for his scoring titles. They grimaced at .202 and glowed with pride over 72–10.

Now, it’s 6. The only number of consequence. The one MJ chased more than any other. The one to which he drunkenly crooned after reaching it in 1998. He started counting after the first championship, flashing victorious fingers. Two in 1992. Three in ’93. Four in ’96. Five in ’97. Six in ‘98.

No number in NBA history serves as more of a mic drop in current hoops debates than MJ’s 6. The figure may be augmented in different ways, like “6–0” (his Finals record) or “6 for 6” (his Finals MVPs). But, unquestionably, 6 is the number. He likes it like that.

I like it too. I also like 357. Continue reading “A Look Back At Michael Jordan’s Flu Game 20 Years Later”

For 1.


For 1.

February 25, 2015

by Jack M Silverstein (@readjack)

All I want to hear is love.

Don’t talk to me about prospects — ours for the playoffs or the talent that might replace him.

Don’t talk to me about fault — his or his coach’s or anyone else’s.

Don’t talk to me about the future — his with us or ours without him.

Don’t talk to me about legacy — about Penny or Prior, about Fields or Woody.

Don’t talk to me about pain — unless it’s his.

Don’t talk to me about anything other than what he means to you. As a Bulls fan. As a Chicagoan.

That’s it.

That’s all I want to hear. Continue reading “For 1.”

Dec. 1, 2010: Dancing days for the Chicago Bulls

From November 2010 to May 2011, I wrote for a site called “The Sports Blog Network,” a sports website launched by Chris Reed. The site folded, as websites do, and at some point in the past year (maybe longer?) the content was removed.

I loved the work I did there and appreciated the opportunity Chris gave me (thanks man!) so I am reposting all of those stories on ReadJack.


Dancing days for the Chicago Bulls

Originally published on Sports Blog Network December 1, 2010

When the Bulls stormed Phoenix in November 2010 and beat the Suns in double OT, Bulls fans could knew this team was special.
When the Bulls stormed Phoenix in November 2010 and beat the Suns in double OT, Bulls fans could knew this team was special.

In just a few minutes, the Chicago Bulls will take floor at the United Center to, I presume, the greatest of heroes’ welcomes bestowed on a Bulls team since Game 5 of the 1998 Finals, or, at least, Game 6 of the Celtics series.

That is because, for the first time since those ring-bearing Bulls of Jordan and Pippen, Jackson and Rodman, the Red and Black have run the annual circus trip gauntlet and secured more wins than losses.

Defeated the two should-be gimmes on the docket – Houston and Sacramento – and toppled the Mavericks of Nowitzki and the Suns of Nash. Lost to the L’s best team by seven, to its hottest by nine, and to one of its most talented by one.

That last came with their best player and the Eastern Conference’s leading scorer on the pine with a sore neck. No matter – if not for a just-signed, ice cold D-Leaguer bricking a pair of foul shots with 12 seconds to play, the Bulls of Rose and Noah and Thibs and Lu would have banged out that win too. Continue reading “Dec. 1, 2010: Dancing days for the Chicago Bulls”

The NBA’s True Mount Rushmore

MJ and LeBron are both on my NBA Mount Rushmore. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/ Getty Images)
MJ and LeBron are both on my NBA Mount Rushmore. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/
Getty Images)

The NBA’s True Mount Rushmore

by Jack M Silverstein (@readjack)

LeBron James’ prediction that he will one day be part of an “NBA Mount Rushmore” has, not surprisingly, stirred up debate over the NBA’s greatest players. LeBron’s pre-LeBron Rushmore was Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Oscar Robertson. Kobe Bryant’s list is the same as LeBron’s though with Bill Russell in place of Oscar Robertson. Walt Frazier honored Jordan, Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Dwight Howard dropped an all centers edition with Russell, Kareem, Shaquille O’Neal and Hakeem Olajuwon.

The lists go on. Continue reading “The NBA’s True Mount Rushmore”

RedEye archives, 2012 – 2013

RedEye archives

(all titles are links)

2012 – 2013


NOTE: Some of the below links no longer work, either because the story is offline or the URL has been changed. Google turns up a lot of these stories, so if you want to read one that isn’t working, you can definitely search, and I can help you find whatever you’re looking for. Hit me @readjack. Thank you for reading!

— Jack, March 11, 2017

“The Rising Star” mural at Harold’s #45, Western & 79th St., by Charles Pruitt.

21 MAR 2012 — On Brandon Marshall and NFL violence

3 APR 2012 — On Derrick Rose, LeBron James’s arms, and Harold’s Chicken

22 APR 2012 — Profile on Andrew Shaw

29 APR 2012 — On Derrick Rose’s ACL and the nature of being a sports fan

8 MAY 2012 — On the Bulls’ nightmare postseason Continue reading “RedEye archives, 2012 – 2013”

If I haven’t seen it, it’s new to me.

Time to Settle Accounts

November 28, 2011: If I haven’t seen it, it’s new to me.

“They’re back!” Ben said in celebration, and they were indeed back: the 2011-2012 NBA season would play after all, a 66-game season that would begin Christmas Day. We high-fived and began jumping in circles in the tea room. I was hosting a post-Thanksgiving weekend party, and Ben was the first to arrive, and my old friend and partner-in-Bulls- joined me for a spirited dance as we imagined Derrick Rose driving and dishing and contorting his body for another gravity-defying layup. Continue reading “If I haven’t seen it, it’s new to me.”

On the John: When Kobe met Michael… and other stories…

On the John

When Kobe met Michael… and other stories…

Originally completed June 17, 2010

So close…

Ten minutes after Game 6 was in the books, Scoop texted:

“Game 7. Who you got?”

As always, I was excited for the hoops talk. In fact, before responding to Scoop, I called Bulls beat reporter Chris Cason to discuss everything from the Perkins injury to The Incredible Hops of Shannon Brown. We spoke for a half hour, and it still took me another hour to give Scoop my answer. I just did not want to face it.

Which is curious. Because a sports prompt like “Game 7. Who you got?” is usually the type of discussion I relish. Something about the way Boston had lost… Continue reading “On the John: When Kobe met Michael… and other stories…”

Learning the Hard Way: Jordan’s Bulls vs. the Bad Boy Pistons

From Bear Down and Get Some Runs:

Learning the Hard Way

My parents became friends in 1972. For eight years they lived on the East Coast, dating on and off until they decided to get married in 1980. I was born a year later while we were living in Brooklyn, MJ two years after that in Connecticut, and in 1984 we moved back home to Chicago in an Evanston apartment as my folks had always planned.

This is how it felt to be a Bulls fan in the late 80s.
This is how it felt to be a Bulls fan in the late 80s.

As a three-year-old with Chicago fandom rich in the blood, I really could not have asked for a better time to move back. While doomed as apocalyptic by the great Orwell, 1984 was the beginning of a golden era in Chicago sports. The Cubs won the division that summer, going to the postseason for the first time since 1945. The Bears, buoyed by an incredible 1983 draft, dominated in the fall and went back to the NFC Title game, and though they lost to the Niners the seeds were planted for their incredible 1985 run.

But the city’s most significant move came in the middle of the year, when the Bulls used the number 3 pick in the draft to select Michael Jordan, a junior guard from North Carolina. This was the landscape of Chicago sports when I was growing up, and from 1984-1998, I saw some pretty incredible feats: Continue reading “Learning the Hard Way: Jordan’s Bulls vs. the Bad Boy Pistons”

May 4, 2005: Game 5-Jannero Pargo, the comeback, and Gilbert Arenas

May 4, 2005

“Would you have been happier had they lost by twenty?”

Nothing stings more than losing to an unblockable jump shot at the horn.
Nothing stings more than an unblockable jump shot at the horn.

I’m sitting in my basement, having just watched one of the great gut-wrenching Bulls games of all-time, and all I can think is that I finally know what this feels like. Gilbert Arenas gave the Wizards the win and a 3-2 series lead with a buzzer beating jumper not ten minutes ago, and as he was mobbed in celebration by his teammates while the United Center faithful stood in shock and disappointment, all I could do was think of Cleveland. And Utah. And New York. And Phoenix. Continue reading “May 4, 2005: Game 5-Jannero Pargo, the comeback, and Gilbert Arenas”