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.”
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.
In 30 minutes, the Chicago Bulls begin their 2010-11 season. As a new patch on their jerseys indicates, this season marks the twenty-year anniversary of the 1991 Bulls, the franchise’s first championship team.
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.
Since I’ve written so much about YOUR WORLD CHAMPION CHICAGO BULLS! (don’t you still love hearing that?), I figured I would create one page with all of my best Bulls work. Essays from Bear Down and On the Johns from 2006 to the present.
I will also post the best Bulls-related youtube vids, links to other people’s Bulls writing, and whatever else seems appropriate.
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.
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.
My mom told us while we were getting dressed for school.
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.
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.
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”