Chicago Bulls

Wed, 07 Jan 2009 10:21

History of Chicago Bulls

About the NBA team Chicago Bulls.

The Chicago Bulls are a National Basketball Association (NBA) franchise that has been playing in the league since 1966. The team is based in Chicago, Illinois and plays in the Central Division of the Eastern Conference. Throughout franchise history, the Bulls have become one of the most popular and successful teams in the NBA. The team is best known for its reign in the 1990s, when they were able to pull-off a repeat three-peat to take six NBA Championship titles in eight seasons. Michael Jordan, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, helped bring success and prestige to the Bulls franchise. The Bulls currently play their home games at the United Center in Chicago and their team colors are black, red, and white. This article will cover the Chicago Bulls franchise history.

Chicago Bulls – instant success

Before the Bulls became the NBA team of Chicago, there had already been two other NBA teams from the city. Chicago's first NBA team was known as the Chicago Stags, a team that played in the league from 1946-1950. The Packers came to Chicago in 1961 and, one season later, the team changed its name to the Chicago Zephyrs. In 1963, the franchise moved to Baltimore and Chicago had no team until the founding of the Bulls in 1966. Unlike most expansion teams, the Chicago Bulls experienced instant success upon joining the NBA.

The Bulls made it to the Playoffs on their first two seasons in the league. In fact, the Bulls even set the record for the best first-season standing posted by an expansion team, with 33 wins and 48 losses. Although the record was not stellar, it was enough to get the Bulls into the NBA Playoffs for the first time. The team lost to the St. Louis Hawks 3-0 in the NBA Western Division Semifinals. Despite the loss, the team set a number of records and Johnny Kerr, their head coach, won the Coach of the Year award. In the team's second season, they won 29 games and lost 53, which got them into the Playoffs for a second consecutive season. Unfortunately, the Bulls would lose in the Western Division Semifinals once again after the Los Angeles Lakers beat them 4-1. In the following season, the team would post a 33-49 record, but they did not make it to the 1969 Playoffs.

After missing the Playoffs in their third season, the Bulls would go on to eight Playoffs appearances in the next eight seasons, including six consecutive Playoffs appearances in the seasons between 1969-1975. Some of the notable players from the 70s Bulls roster include Chet Walker, Clifford Ray, Jerry Sloan, and Bob Love. While the team had relative success, they were unable to make it past the Western Conference Finals. After losing to the Portland Trailblazers in the 1977 Western Conference First Round, the Bulls would enter into a slump that would last for seven seasons.

Chicago Bulls -  the dark ages

In the seven seasons between 1977 and 1984, the Chicago Bulls would only make it to the NBA Playoffs once, in 1981. The team missed the Playoffs in the 1977-78 season after an average season of 40 wins and 42 losses, placing third in the Midwest Division. In the following season, the Bulls would only win 31 games, losing 51, and missing missing the Playoffs for the second consecutive season. In the following season, the Bulls would miss the Playoffs again with a 30-52 record. Finally, in the 1980-81 season, the team showed some promise, by setting a 45-37 record and making it to the Playoffs. The Bulls would win two games to zero against the New York Knicks in the 1981 NBA Eastern Conference First Round. Unfortunately, they would lose in the Eastern Conference Semifinals to the Boston Celtics, who crushed the Bulls 4-0.

In the three seasons that followed their 1981 Playoffs defeat, the Bulls would fall back into a slump, missing the Playoffs for three consecutive seasons once again. It would not be until 1984 that Michael Jordan would arrive in Chicago to change the Bull's luck and change the sport of basketball altogether.

Chicago Bulls – Michael Jordan's arrival and the Bulls' learning curve

The first two picks of the 1984 NBA Draft were Hakeem Olajuwon by the Rockets, and Sam Bowie by the Blazers. While Olajuwan would become one of the NBA greats, it would be the third pick of the draft who would make the biggest impact in the league and in the world. Michael Jordan was chosen by the Chicago Bulls as the third pick of the 1984 draft. In his first season in the league, Jordan won the Rookie of the Year award and helped bring the Bulls to the Playoffs for the first time after three seasons. Although the team lost in the Eastern Conference First Round to the Milwaukee Bucks, it would mark the beginning of a Bulls dynasty that would be led by the high-flying Jordan. In the 12 seasons that Jordan would play with the Bulls, the team never missed the Playoffs.

After their first Playoff appearance with Jordan, it would take the team five more Playoff seasons to make it to the NBA Finals. During those five seasons, Jordan and the Bulls would continue to gain experience and develop as a team and a franchise. In the 1987 Playoffs, the Bulls were knocked-out in the Eastern Conference First Round by the Boston Celtics, for the second consecutive season. The Bulls would finally make it past the First Round in the 1988 Playoffs, after beating the Cleveland Cavs 3-2 to face the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Jordan would win the All-Star Most Valuable Player (AMVP) award, the Defensive Player of the Year award, and the MVP award in the 1987-88 season.

In the 1989 Playoffs, the Bulls would make franchise history by making it to the NBA Eastern Conference Finals for the first time. The team beat the Cavaliers and the New York Knicks, before losing 4-2 to the Pistons in the Conference Finals. The following season, the Bulls would be defeated once again by the Pistons in the Conference Finals, but the team showed improvement as they stretched the series to the full seven games.

Chicago Bulls – the double three-peat

In the three seasons between 1990 and 1993, Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls would prove that they were the most dominant team in the league by winning three NBA Championship titles in a row. During the 1991 Playoffs, the Bulls beat the Knicks, the Philadelphia 76ers, and the Pistons to get to the Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers. They beat the Lakers and Jordan was declared the Finals MVP (FMVP) and the regular season MVP. The 1992 Playoffs had a similar result, with the Bulls beating the Miami Heat, the Knicks, and the Cavaliers to meet the Trailblazers in the Finals. Again, the Bulls won the Finals and Jordan won the FMVP and MVP awards. In the 1993 Playoffs, the Bulls sweeped the Atlanta Hawks and the Cavaliers, then beat the Knicks to meet the Phoenix Suns in the Finals. The team won their third-straight Championship title and Jordon won his third-straight FMVP award.

After the three-peat, Jordan decided he would retire from professional basketball. The team still did relatively well without Jordan, making it to the Eastern Conference Semifinals twice in a row, but they could not go all the way. In 1995, Jordan returned to play for Chicago again, and the team was able to win another three, consecutive NBA Championship titles in 1996, 1997, and 1998. Jordan would win the FMVP award in all three seasons, including the AMVP and the MVP awards in the 1995-96 and the 1997-98 seasons. Jordan would retire from basketball again and, though he returned to play in the NBA, he never played for the Bulls again.

Chicago Bulls – after Jordan

After losing Jordan for the second time, the Bulls would experience their most difficult times, missing the Playoffs for six consecutive seasons. The team would be unable to win more than 30 games during the six season and they also recorded three seasons with less than 18 wins. In the three seasons between 2004 and 2007, the Bulls would make it to the Playoffs, but they would fail to make it past the Eastern Conference Semifinals. In the 2007-08 season, the Bulls failed to make it to the Playoffs and the team has continued to try and build another prestigious dynasty like the one they had in the 1990s. As of December 18, 2008, the Bulls have recorded 12 wins and 13 losses in the 2008-09 season, placing third in the Central Division.