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”
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
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.
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”