Jordan holds court at anniversary ceremony


Jordan holds court at anniversary ceremony

Saturday, March 12, 2011
Posted 10:07 p.m.

By Aggrey Sam

At halftime of the Bulls 118-100 win over the Jazz Saturday night, a ceremony to honor the 20th anniversary of the franchises first championship took place, featuring members of the 1990-91 team, including one Michael Jeffrey Jordan.

After the ceremony, Jordan spoke to reporters about the unique experience.

For me, some guys I havent seen in a while. Dennis Hopson, I havent seen since 1991 and for us to reunite, tell old stories, it brings back a lot of great memories and I wish we could turn the clock back, said the Hall of Famer. Thats how I feel, but Father Times coming touches everybody and youve got to deal with the cards that you have. I miss it.

Looking back upon the journey the team took to get to that moment particularly overcoming hated division rival Detroit Jordan reflected fondly on winning the title.

Winning your first one everyone said a scoring champion cant win so that mattered for us, winning our first one. Beating the Pistons, getting past the Pistons, all that was gratifying and then doing it five more times after that, stated Jordan. If I had to pick the first one or the last one, thats a tough choice, especially when youre trying to repeat something every single time.

The Bulls legend opined on the potential of the current edition of the franchise he made a household name worldwide, expounding on his previous thoughts about All-Star point guard Derrick Rose.

I was just talking to former teammate and current Bulls vice president John Paxson, the guys upstairs, and I said, You guys could be the best team in the East. No, I dont think its going to take them seven years. Theyve got a good, talented team and once again, I think theyve got the MVP of the league.

"Hes Rose coming into his own, hes maturing quite a bit, said Jordan. When he came into the league, everybody said he had speed, he could get to the rim, but he cant shoot. Now, he can shoot the three, as well as pull-up shots. He has very few flaws. Im pretty sure the next thing theyre going to say is he doesnt play very good defense or he cant handle the double team, but time will tell.

"The kid works hard and I think hes a great piece for this franchise to rebuild with and theyve got some other pieces that help them quite a bit in the East.

Everybodys talking about Boston and everybodys talking about Miami and Orlando, you tend to forget about Chicago. You can have a lot of work on your hands.

Jordan also discussed his connection to the Windy City, a place that immediately embraced him as an NBA rookie, all the way to the present day, despite him owning a rival NBA franchise.

I had an autograph signing this morning and I signed parts of the old stadium floor, said Jordan, who mentioned the late Johnny Red Kerr when he addressed the United Center crowd on the floor where he once dominated as a player. This the United Center is a beautiful place here, but what was more beautiful was the Chicago Stadium and the home-court advantage we had back in the day. We can sit here and reminisce all day long.

"To me, its unbelievable and Im glad I had the opportunity to spend time here and make my career here. The fans are very enduring, in terms of the hard work and effort we put on the floor. I played for them. As much as I played for myself, I played for the fans of Chicago.

I love the city. I still live here, contrary to what everybody believes. My home is still here, I still pay taxes here, so Im still living here. I want the city to do well. Theyve been very instrumental in my whole career me living here and raising my kids and everything and every chance I can get to come back and thank them, its truly gratitude for me, he added.

Im very happy with the warm reception that I get every time I come here, even though Ive left and gone and done other things.

Jordans best line, however, came as he was walking away from the media throng in the bowels of the United Center.

When asked about his thoughts on Roses long-term future, the business-minded hoops icon looked over his shoulder and quipped, Any time you want to give him, well take him.

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.com's Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.

Bulls Bracket Madness: The best individual seasons in franchise history


Bulls Bracket Madness: The best individual seasons in franchise history

We're trying to figure out the best season in Bulls franchise history, and we want your help in deciding.

Because the Bulls tout the greatest player in basketball history, who could have made up this list by himself, we're giving Michael Jordan his own side of the bracket. But the other side of the bracket is also filled with some pretty memorable and remarkable campaigns.

So read up on each matchup and then have your voice heard by voting on our Twitter page here. Check out the entire bracket in the graphic above.

The Jordan Region

No. 1 Michael Jordan (1995-96) vs. No. 8 Michael Jordan (1990-91)

No. 1 Michael Jordan (1995-96): Jordan was on a mission in his first full season back from retirement. He led the Bulls to a then-record 72 wins with a regular-season MVP award, All-Star MVP and romp through the NBA playoffs, where the Bulls went 15-3 en route to their fourth NBA title. Jordan won his eighth straight scoring title at 30.4 points a game, with nine games where he put up 40 or more. He saved his best for Detroit, scoring 53 with 11 rebounds and six steals in early March. To prove Jordan was getting better as he aged, he shot a career-high 43 percent from 3-point range at age 33.

No. 2 Michael Jordan (1990-91): 1990-91: Jordan's second MVP came with his first NBA title, as he was at the peak of his powers physically combined with the ultimate team success, with the Bulls finally getting past Detroit before defeating the Lakers in the Finals. He shot a career-high 54 percent from the field while averaging 31.5 points, six rebounds and 5.5 assists as he began to fully embrace the triangle offense in Phil Jackson's second season. Jordan had 57 games where he shot better than 50 percent from the field, and was among the league leaders in steals at 2.7 per game while earning his fourth straight All-Defensive First Team honor.

No. 1 Derrick Rose (2010-11) vs. No. 2 Scottie Pippen (1993-94)

No. 1 Derrick Rose (2010-11): Where to begin? The youngest MVP in league history took the league by storm, averaging 25.0 points and 7.7 assists while leading the Bulls to a league-best 62 wins. Rose had been named an All-Star the previous season but took his game to new heights in Year 3, appearing in 81 games, making 128 3-pointers (after making a combined 32 his first two seasons) while helping the Bulls rank first in defensive efficiency under first year head coach Tom Thibodeau. Rose and the Bulls lost in five games to LeBron James and the Miami Heat, with Rose shooting a paltry 35 percent on 24 attempts per game. But his historic season will always go down as one of the franchise’s best, and the only non-Jordan MVP.

No. 2 Scottie Pippen (1993-94): Yeah, well what would Scottie be without MJ? We found out that answer in 1993-94, when Pippen took the reins of the franchise as Jordan rode the Birmingham bus as a minor-league baseball player. Pippen responded with a sensational season, averaging 22.0 points, 8.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists. He averaged 2.9 steals, shot 49 percent from the field and became a 3-point threat for the first time in his career. He was named First Team All-NBA and All-NBA Defensive First Team, and finished third to Hakeem and The Admiral in MVP voting. He averaged 22.8/8.3/4.6 in the postseason but ultimately proved it was easier to win in the spring with MJ by his side. Still, this individual season was one of the franchise’s best, if not the best. Hardware isn’t everything.

NBA Draft Tracker: Kentucky PG Shai Gilgeous-Alexander


NBA Draft Tracker: Kentucky PG Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

For most of the college basketball season, John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats ranked among the nation’s biggest underachievers. Calipari had perfected the one-and-done route in Lexington, recruiting classes full of McDonald’s All-Americans every year, making a deep run in the NCAA Tournament, and then sending those talented freshmen off to the NBA. Matter of fact, Coach Cal’s ability to get players ready to play professionally is the foundation of his recruiting success.

However, this season the tried and true formula ran into a bit of a speed bump. Injuries and inconsistency led to double digit losses for the Wildcats during the regular season, and an uncertain tournament outlook. That’s when freshman point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander emerged as the leader of this young team, and sparked Kentucky to a Southeastern Conference tournament championship.

Gilgeous-Alexander has been even better in the NCAA Tournament, scoring 19 points with 8 rebounds and 7 assists in the Wildcats’ opening round win over Davidson, then coming back with 27 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists in a victory over Buffalo.

At 6-6, Gilgeous-Alexander has the ability to shoot and pass over smaller defenders, while also possessing the quickness that is so crucial at the point guard position. Yes, he is very thin at 180 pounds, but has the frame to put on weight once he’s introduced to an NBA strength training program.

Gilgeous-Alexander has been Kentucky’s most efficient player throughout the season, shooting 49% from the field and nearly 42% from the 3 point line. He has the quickness and ball-handling ability to break down defenses and get in the paint for easy scores or assists. As the season progressed, Gilgeous-Alexander took on the role of go-to scorer late in games, sparking Kentucky’s runs in the S.E.C. AND NCAA tournaments.

So, by now I’m sure you’re asking, where does he fit with the Bulls? 3 weeks ago I was hoping Gilgeous-Alexander might be available in the 16-22 range where the Bulls might be able to get him with the Pelicans’ 1st round pick acquired in the Niko Mirotic trade. Unfortunately, his outstanding post-season play has him rocketing into the late lottery in the most recent mock drafts, and he could move up even higher if Kentucky advances to the Final 4.

The Bulls are happy with Kris Dunn as their starting point guard, and both Jerian Grant and Cameron Payne are under contract for next season. But if somehow the Pelicans fall out of the playoff field in the West (which seems very unlikely right now), adding an athletic combo guard like Gilgeous-Alexander would be an outstanding pick at 13 or 14.

So, when you’re watching Kentucky play in the NCAA Tournament, keep an eye on the tall, skinny guard wearing #22 and try to project just how good he might be on the professional level.