The Chicago Bulls come in at No. 4 in the Panini America 30 Teams/30 Weeks NBA countdown to the most collectable NBA teams of all-time.
For the NBA, the Chicago Bulls and the world, everything changed on June 19th, 1984. That was the night of the NBA DraftWith the third selection – which followed Houston nabbing Hakeem Olajuwon and Portland picking Sam Bowie – the Bulls drafted a slender guard from North Carolina named Michael Jordan.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Jordan played 13 memorable seasons with the Bulls. In the era dominated by the Magic Johnson’s Lakers and Larry Bird’s Celtics, he climbed the NBA hierarchy and took the Bulls to the promised land.
Chicago dominated the 1990s, winning six championships. The franchise reached the mountaintop in 1991 by ending two dynasties. First, the Bulls broke through the Pistons in a four-game sweep in the Eastern Conference Finals, which ended the Bad Boys Era. Next, Chicago dismantled the Lakers in five games, which ended Johnson’s run as the face of the league. It was officially Jordan’s time.
The Bulls would win two more championships before Jordan took a sabbatical to give baseball a try, which caused him to miss most of the next two seasons. Back for a full season in 1995-96, he led the Bulls to another three consecutive championships, the latter two coming against a Utah Jazz squad led by Hall of Famers John Stockton, Karl Malone and coach Jerry Sloan, a former Bulls player himself.
While Jordan got the lion’s share of the attention, it was not a one-man show on those championship teams. Most notably, Scottie Pippen was Jordan’s sidekick, and a great one at that. Like his counterpart, Pippen was long, athletic, an elite defender and playmaker. Other key role players in the decade included Horace Grant, John Paxson, Dennis Rodman, Steve Kerr, Toni Kukoc and Ron Harper. Of course, having Phil Jackson as coach helped, too.
The Bulls rebuilt after the Jordan Era and became a highly competitive and talented team in the 2010s. Led by League MVP Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, Joakim Noah and Luol Deng, the Bulls made seven consecutive trips to the postseason in 2009-15.
Older versions of the Bulls had no shortage of star power, either. Before he patrolled the sidelines for the Jazz, Sloan earned two All-Star appearances in the late 1960s with Chicago. Artis Gilmore spent seven of his 17 professional seasons wearing red in his Hall of Fame career. Fellow Naismith Hall of Famer Chet Walker averaged more than 20 points per game in his six seasons in Chicago.
Check out the Bulls’ all-time lineup below and click on each card to see if they are available for purchase on the Beckett Marketplace. The latest Panini NBA products can be found on its website.