How The GOAT Was Built: 6 Life Lessons From the 1996 Chicago Bulls

GOAT cover (book by Jack Silverstein, design by Zachary Gibson, Bag Fry)

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.”

READ AND DOWNLOAD THE PDF VERSION: How the GOAT was built — by Jack M Silverstein

For an iBooks copy for your phone, email readjack.com@gmail.com.

More e-book options to come.

To read the six lessons without the prologue or epilogue, (but with lots and lots of video!), click the links below: Continue reading “How The GOAT Was Built: 6 Life Lessons From the 1996 Chicago Bulls”

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“My coach is everything” — Phil Jackson’s influence on the 1996 Chicago Bulls

Lesson 6 copy

Excerpt from “How The GOAT Was Built: Six Life Lessons From the 1996 Chicago Bulls

Lesson #6: Find a coach who will help you be your best self

by Jack M Silverstein (@readjack)

In the summer of 1996, after winning his fourth championship, Michael Jordan came within 30 minutes of signing with the New York Knicks.

“New York was right downstairs,” Jordan told Spike Lee in “Best Seat In the House.” “The Bulls — all they had to do was mess up.”

The Knicks had an offer on the table for Jordan: one year, $25 million. “We told (Jordan’s team) they could have all our cap room,” Madison Square Garden President Dave Checketts said at the time.

michael_jordan_ny_knicks-e1350356884597
Could Michael Jordan have joined the Knicks? According to the man himself, it almost happened in 1996. (Photo illustration by Patrick Ortega, found at ballislife.com)

Continue reading ““My coach is everything” — Phil Jackson’s influence on the 1996 Chicago Bulls”

On the John presents: A trip to the Chicago Bulls locker room

On the John presents…

A trip to the Chicago Bulls locker room

Originally completed December 1, 2009

Life is good up in the press box.

I work for a magazine called TrueStar. We are student-run publication; Chicago high school students (and a few of our alum now in college) do all of the writing, graphic design, photography, sales and marketing, distribution, and now, radio work. TrueStar then hires professionals in those fields to teach the necessary skills to our student staff.

I love this job. Continue reading “On the John presents: A trip to the Chicago Bulls locker room”

On the John: Goodbye to The Memory Maker

On the John
Goodbye to The Memory Maker

Originally published on the readjack.com blog, July 4, 2009

This floater for the win on MLK Day 2005 at Madison Square Garden was one of many great Ben Gordon moments.
This floater for the win on MLK Day 2005 at Madison Square Garden was one of many great Ben Gordon moments.

Say what you will about Ben Gordon. It’s been said before. Too short to defend two guards, too undisciplined to defend the point, too one-dimensional to run the floor, too streaky a shooter, too careless a ballhandler, too many pull-up threes that killed too many possessions, too much of a wild card to build a team around. It’s not quite 22 two’s, but then Ben Gordon was never quite what anyone wanted.

But here’s what he was: a legit NBA scorer, a dude who could break you without breaking a sweat, a threat for 30 any time his sweet stroke was in rhythm, one of the most accurate three point shooters in the franchise’s 43 years, and as of last season, the franchise leader in three pointers made.

So yeah, he made big shots. He made late shots. He made a whole bunch of threes. Most of all though, he made memories. Ultimately, that is where Ben Gordon’s Bulls legacy will lie. Continue reading “On the John: Goodbye to The Memory Maker”

Moving On–The tale of Scottie Pippen’s 1994 Chicago Bulls

October 6, 1993: Moving on

My mom told us while we were getting dressed for school.

The Day the (American Basketball Portion of the) Earth Stood Still.
October 6, 1993: The Day the (American Basketball Portion of the) Earth Stood Still.

It must have been something for her, hearing the news and knowing she had the responsibility to tell my brother and me. I can imagine her downstairs, getting ready for her day in the classroom, making our sandwiches and listening to the radio as she would on any other morning, and then comes the report, and her own personal reaction, and the sudden decision that had to be made of how to tell us. This wasn’t a death; a family member, or even a pet, passing away. This wasn’t a building bombed or a country going to war; it wasn’t a house burning down or a near-fatal car accident. This was just a man deciding he no longer wished to play basketball. That’s all it was. Yet she knew it was more than that, we all knew, the city knew, and so she walked up the stairs and stepped into our room and gave us one final moment of innocence before telling us what we never thought possible.

“Boys, I’ve got some bad news.” We stood and looked at her. “Michael Jordan retired.” Continue reading “Moving On–The tale of Scottie Pippen’s 1994 Chicago Bulls”

Determined to win–the story of the 1993 Chicago Bulls

Determined to Win

If there is one disadvantage to winning back-to-back championships in any sport, it’s that eventually the extra games begin to wear on your team. After playing 99 meaningful games in 1991 and another 104 in ’92, Michael and Scottie rode away to Barcelona to play for the Dream Team. When they returned in the fall of ’92, it was clear: they were exhausted.

Jordan and Pippen reveal their true patriotism by draping themselves in American flags on the '92 medal stand. Heroic, ain't it?
Pippen and Jordan reveal their true patriotism by draping themselves in American flags on the '92 medal stand.

The ’93 Bulls got off to a good enough start, but didn’t dominate the way they had the past two years, and at the end of the season found themselves second best in the East behind the rising New York Knicks, and third best overall behind the Barkley-led Suns. Most critics saw both of these teams as legit threats to the Bulls’ dynasty; Sports Illustrated predicted the Knicks and the Suns in the Finals. The Bulls were finished… Continue reading “Determined to win–the story of the 1993 Chicago Bulls”

Bear Down and Get Some Runs, best-of: March 2, 2005

Before a team gets their ESPN on, they belong to the die hards.
Before a team gets their ESPN on, they belong to the die hards.

March 2, 2005

Sports fans are always a step ahead of the rest of the country when it comes to their team. We watch day after day when no one else is watching, and then the team starts to play well and begins garnering praise outside of the city, and we feel pretty damn good about ourselves. We’re like the kid who “discovers” a band, and then makes sure everybody knows it when they finally hit big. But being a fan of a rock band is not the same as being a fan of a team. First of all, there’s no such thing as a bandwagon rock band fan. Posers maybe, but not bandwagon. A band starts small, cuts a few records, makes a few hits, and grow more popular. There’s no shame in becoming a fan of a band once it becomes popular, because all you are doing as a rock fan is appreciating their music. Continue reading “Bear Down and Get Some Runs, best-of: March 2, 2005”

Bear Down and Get Some Runs, best-of: Watching hoops with Dad

Spring of ’92…Watching hoops with Dad

February 9, 1992: Magic time at the Silverstein household.

It is February 1992. I am ten years old. Dad and I are sitting on the couch in our TV room in Evanston. We are watching the NBA All-Star Game. As the game goes on, I hop off the couch to sit on the floor, gazing at the television as my father speaks.

First came the love, then came the understanding. If you grew up when I grew up, it was impossible not to love the NBA. It was everywhere. And of course, I was particularly fortunate because I was given the Chicago Bulls, a team on the rise. The love was there. It was instantaneous. The understanding, though, came later, and while it was a gradual process, I credit a large jump to watching the 1992 All-Star Game with my dad. Continue reading “Bear Down and Get Some Runs, best-of: Watching hoops with Dad”

Bear Down and Get Some Runs, best-of: January 13, 2005

From 1991 through 1998, the Bulls won six championships, with Michael and Scottie playing on all six teams. During that time, they had two main cores of players who won at least two titles each. The first three-peat featured a core of Grant, Paxson, Cartwright, Armstrong, Scott Williams, Perdue, King, Hodges, and Levingston. The second three-peat featured a core of Rodman, Harper, Longley, Kukoc, Kerr, Wennington, Brown, Buechler, Caffey, and Simpkins. Watching the Bulls during the ’90s was a treat, and not just because they were a dominant title-winning team. As great as the championships were, and as much fun as it was to watch them play basketball, what really made the Bulls of the ’90s special was that we got to watch a group of players play together year after year. Continue reading “Bear Down and Get Some Runs, best-of: January 13, 2005”