The Chicago Bulls have won six NBA champions including two “threepeats”. Their dynasty is synonymous with Michael Jordan and the two names will be forever mentioned together.
The building of the championship teams was a long an arduous struggle for the 1984 bulls. Prior to Michael Jordan the Bulls franchise was mired in mediocrity. Although the franchise dominated the National Basketball League in the late 1940’s the rest of their history until 1984 id pretty forgettable.
Their were many pieces to this puzzle with the drafting of Michael Jordan, in 1984, being the most important. The Bulls made the 1984-1985 playoffs that first year, as the seventh seed but lost to the Milwaukee Bucks three games to one. The following year 1985, the Bulls drafted John Paxson and made a trade to bring in Charles Oakley.
Paxson would give Jordan the shooter he needed and Oakley gave them size and power inside. They still made the 1985-1986 playoffs as the eighth seed despite Michael Jordan Breaking his foot. The Boston Celtics swept them but Jordan set a single game playoff record of 63 points.
The series also prompted Larry Bird to call Jordan “God disguised as Jordan” and started the rivalry between Larry Bird and Michael Jordan. This personal rivalry led to a very intense team rivalry. The Bulls viewed the Celtics as the team to beat in the East. During the “Air Jordan” era the NBA East Conference was loaded with good teams that created tremendous battles for the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan.
The season also saw Charles Oakley became a dominating defensive rebounder. He immediately established himself as a force on the boards and led the team in rebounding. The Bulls finished the 1986-1987 season with a 40 and 42 record and qualified for the playoffs. They were once again swept by the Celtics and the roster was not deep enough and too reliant on Michael Jordan.
The Celtics double-teamed Jordan and he was unable to do it by himself. In order to address this weakness the Bulls drafted Olden Polynice and Horace Grant in the 1987 amateur draft. They then sent Olden Polynice to the Trailblazers for Scottie Pippin, the next piece of the puzzle.
With Paxson and Jordan in the backcourt, Brad Sellers, Charles Oakley, Corzine and rookies Pippen and Grant, the Bulls made major noise in the 1987-1988, winning 50 games and advancing to the Eastern Conference semi-finals, where they were beaten by the eventual Eastern Conference Champion Detroit Pistons in five games.
The 1987–88 season would also mark the start of the Pistons-Bulls rivalry that was formed from 1987 to 1991. The off-season was once again an active period as more moves were made to find the right combination around Michael Jordan. Charles Oakley was sent to the Knicks for Bill Cartwright and drafted center Will Perdue.
They also picked up 3-point sharpshooter Craig Hodges from the Suns. The Bulls again advanced to the Eastern Conference finals in the 1988-1989. They disposed of their nemesis the Boston Celtics and the hated New York Knicks and eventually lost to the champion Detroit Pistons for the second straight year. This rivalry replaced the rivalry with the Celtics. The Detroit Piston led by Chuck Daly established the Jordan rules in order to stop him.
The 1990-1991 Bulls were on a mission to win the championship. The team set a franchise record 61 wins and rolled through the playoffs beating the New York Knick and the Philadelphia 76ers. They met the Detroit Pistons finally broke through with a sweep of their archenemy. They played the Los Angeles Lakers and won four games to one for their first of three consecutive championships.
With the retirement of Michael Jordan for the 1993-1994 season and losing in the playoffs in 1994-1995 the Bulls returned to their dominance and won three more consecutive championships in 1996, 1997 and 1998. It took the Bulls management six years to build a championship. With Michael Jordan as the anchor adding the rest of pieces resulted in the most dominant dynasty second only to the Red Auerbach Boston Celtics.