Basketball Wiki
Chicago Bulls
Chicago Bulls.png
Conference Eastern Conference NBA.png Eastern Conference
Division Central Division
Founded 1966
History Chicago Bulls
Arena United Center
City Chicago, Illinois
Team Colors Red, Black
Media WGN-TV
WGN America
WCIU (formerly)
Comcast SportsNet Chicago
CN100 (through The Comcast Network)
Owner(s) Jerry Reinsdorf
General Manager Marc Eversley
Head Coach Billy Donovan
Uniform Sponsor Zenni Optical
D-League affiliate Windy City Bulls
NBA NBA Championship logo.png 6 (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998)
Conference Conference Championship logo.png 6 (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998)
Division 9 (1975, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2011, 2012)
Retired numbers 4 (4, 10, 23, 33)
Official Website
BullsAssociation.webp BullsIcon.webp BullsStatement.webp
Home court
Chicago Bulls Court.png

The Chicago Bulls are an American professional basketball team based in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Central Division. The team was founded on January 16, 1966. The team plays its home games at the United Center, an arena shared with the Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League (NHL).

The Bulls saw their greatest success during the 1990s, when they were responsible for popularizing the NBA worldwide. They are known for having one of the NBA's greatest dynasties, winning six NBA championships between 1991 and 1998 with two three-peats. All six championship teams were led by Hall of Famers Michael JordanScottie Pippen, and head coach Phil Jackson. The Bulls are the only NBA franchise to win multiple championships and never lose an NBA Finals series in their history.

The Bulls won 72 games during the 1995–96 season, setting an NBA record that stood until the Golden State Warriors won 73 games during the 2015–16 season. The Bulls were the first team in NBA history to win 70 games or more in a single season, and were the only NBA franchise to do so until the 2015–16 Warriors. Many experts and analysts consider the 1996 Bulls to be one of the greatest teams in NBA history.

After winning their sixth NBA championship in 1998, the Bulls dynasty that had headlined the 1990s was dismantled prior to the 1998–99 NBA season amidst the NBA lockout, and the team has since failed to regain their former success. The franchise struggled throughout the 2000s, but showed promise in the early 2010s, lead by Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, culminating in a 62-win season in 2010–11. However, due to injuries to and departures of key players, the franchise was never able to build on that success and has sunk back into mediocrity since then.

Jordan and Rose have both won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award while playing for the Bulls, for a total of six MVP awards.

The Bulls share rivalries with the Detroit PistonsNew York Knicks, and the Miami Heat. The Bulls' rivalry with the Pistons was highlighted heavily during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Their rivalry with the Knicks was highlighted in the 1990s while their rivalry with the Heat was mainly highlighted in the early 2010s.

Home arenas

Franchise history

1966–1984: Early years

The Chicago Bulls are actually the third NBA team in Chicago, after the Packers/Zephyrs (now the Washington Wizards) and the now defunct Stags (1946–1950). Today, the Bulls occasionally wear the throwback blue and red jerseys from the Stags. The team began play for the 1966–67 season, and immediately posted the best record by an expansion team in NBA history, qualifying for the playoffs. During its first two seasons, the Bulls played a majority of their home games at the International Amphitheatre, before moving all of their home games to the Chicago Stadium. Over the next few years, the Bulls assembled the pieces to be competitive, though they never quite reached the top. During the 1970s, the Bulls were known as a tough, defensive-minded team, built around hard-nosed defender Jerry Sloan, forwards Bob Love and Chet Walker, point guard Norm Van Lier, and center Tom Boerwinkle. Nevertheless, the team only won one division title, and never made it to the Finals.

By the late 1970s and early 1980's, the team had hit the cellar of the league. The Bulls fortunes would have been forever changed were it not for a simple coin flip. In 1979, the Bulls lost a coin flip for the right to pick first in the NBA draft (Rod Thorn, the Bulls General Manager, called "heads"). Had the Bulls won the toss, they would have selected Magic Johnson; instead, they selected David Greenwood with the second pick.

Artis Gilmore, acquired in the ABA dispersal-draft in 1976, led a Bulls squad which included guard Reggie Theus, forward David Greenwood, and forward Orlando Woolridge. After Gilmore was traded to the San Antonio Spurs for center Dave "Mean" Corzine, the Bulls employed a high-powered offense centered around Theus, and which soon included guards Quentin Daly and Ennis Whatley. However, with continued dismal results, the Bulls decided to change directions, trading Theus during the 1983–84 season.

1984–1998: The Michael Jordan era

Michael Jordan was selected by the Bulls with the 3rd pick in the 1984 NBA Draft. Jordan is widely considered the greatest basketball player of all time.

In the summer of 1984, the team's fortunes changed when it received the third pick of the NBA draft, after Houston and Portland. While the Rockets selected Hakeem Olajuwon and the Blazers jumped on Sam Bowie, the Bulls grabbed Shooting Guard Michael Jordan out of North Carolina.

The team, with new management in owner Jerry Reinsdorf and General Manager Jerry Krause, decided to rebuild around Jordan. Jordan set franchise records during his rookie campaign for scoring (3rd in the league) and steals (4th in the league), and led the Bulls back to the playoffs, for which he was rewarded with a berth on the All-NBA second team, an All Star selection and the NBA Rookie of the Year Award.

In the offseason, the team acquired point guard John Paxson and drafted Power Forward Charles Oakley. Along with Jordan and center Dave Corzine, they provided much of the Bulls' offense for the next two years. After Jordan suffered a broken foot early in the season, the team also acquired NBA legend George Gervin to help with scoring, which he did, finishing second on the team to Woolridge in scoring. Jordan returned for the playoffs, and took the 8th-place Bulls up against the 67-15 Boston Celtics, led by Larry Bird. Though the Bulls were swept, Jordan recorded a playoff single-game record 63 points in Game 2, prompting Bird to call him 'God disguised as Michael Jordan.'

In 1986–87, Jordan continued his assault on the record books, leading the league in scoring with 37.1 points per game and being the first Bull named to the all-NBA first team. However, the Bulls were again swept by the highly favoured Celtics in the playoffs.

Scottie Pippen was selected by the Seattle SuperSonics with the 5th overall pick in the 1987 NBA Draft. Having eyed Pippen before the draft, the Bulls manufactured a trade with the SuperSonics that sent Pippen to the Bulls, in exchange for the eighth pick, Olden Polynice, and future draft pick options. Pippen would go on to be an integral part of the Bulls dynasty of the 1990s.

During the 1987 off-season, for the draft picks, Krause traded a 1987 draft pick to the Seattle Supersonics in return for an additional pick in the 1987 NBA Draft. He used the 5th pick to select small forward Scottie Pippen in the first round, and selected center Olden Polynice 8th overall and power forward Horace Grant 10th overall in the first round too. Polynice was traded to the Supersonics

In 1987–88, with Paxson and Jordan in the backcourt, Brad Sellers and Oakley at the forward spots, Corzine anchoring center, and rookies Pippen and Grant coming off the bench, the Bulls made major noise, 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. This However, for his efforts Jordan was named NBA Most Valuable Player, the first of five such awards.

The 1988–89 season marked a second straight year of major off-season moves. Popular power forward Charles Oakley, who had led the league in total rebounds in both '87 and '88, was traded to the New York Knicks for center Bill Cartwright and a draft pick which they used on center Will Perdue. This move angered Jordan, who refused to give Cartwright any credit, as Oakley was one of Jordan's best friends and was seen as a bodyguard to the young superstar. The new starting lineup of Paxson, Jordan, Pippen, Grant, and Cartwright took some time to mesh, winning fewer games than the previous season, but making it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they were subdued in six games by the eventual NBA champion Pistons.

In 1989–90, Jordan led the league in scoring for the fourth straight season, and was joined on the all-star squad for the first time by Scottie Pippen who had developed into a lockdown defender and decent scorer, especially on the fastbreak. There was also a major change on the sidelines, where Doug Collins was replaced by assistant Phil Jackson. The Bulls also picked up rookie center Stacey King and rookie point guard B.J. Armstrong in the 1989 draft. With these additional pieces and the previous year's starting five, the Bulls again made it to the Conference Finals, and pushed the Pistons to seven games before being edged out for the third straight year by Detroit. Had Scottie Pippen not have suffered a migraine in Game 7 (which subsequently caused Pippen to play terribly), the Bulls could've potentially beaten the Pistons.

1991–1993: First championship three-peat

By the 1990–91 season, the Bulls had run out of excuses, and charged through the year with a mission. They recorded a then franchise record 61 wins, and romped through the playoffs, where they swept the defending two-time NBA champion Detroit Pistons in the conference finals and won the Finals in five games over the Magic Johnson-led Los Angeles Lakers on June 12, 1991. Michael Jordan won regular season MVP and Finals MVP to go with his fifth straight scoring title.

The Bulls won their second straight title in 1991–92 after racking up another franchise record for wins with 67. They swept the Miami Heat in the first round, beat the New York Knicks in seven games in the second round, then defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games in the Eastern Conference to advance to the Finals for the second year in a row, whey defeated the Clyde Drexler-led Portland Trail Blazers in six games. Jordan once again won regular season MVP and Finals MVP, to go with his sixth straight scoring title.

In 1992–93, the Bulls won their third consecutive championship over regular season MVP Charles Barkley and the Phoenix Suns in the Finals in six games, punctuated by John Paxson's shot that gave them a 99–98 victory in game six at Phoenix. Jordan was once again the Finals MVP after setting a Finals record for points per game with over 41 ppg in the series. He also tied Wilt Chamberlain by winning his seventh straight scoring title.

1993–1995: Jordan's first retirement

During the summer, Jordan shocked the basketball community by announcing his retirement, only months after learning of his father's murder. The Bulls were led by Scottie Pippen, who had established himself as one of the top players in the league by winning the 1994 All-Star MVP. He received help from Horace Grant and B.J. Armstrong, who were named to their first all-star games. The three were assisted by Cartwright, Perdue, shooting guard Pete Myers, and Croatian rookie forward Toni Kukoč. Despite the Bulls' amazing run during the regular season, where they won 55 games, they were beaten in seven games by the eventual Eastern Conference champion New York Knicks in the second round, after a controversial foul call by referee Hue Hollins in game 5 of that series.

The Bulls opened the 1994 season by saying goodbye to their home of 27 years, Chicago Stadium, and moved into their current home, the United Center.

In 1994–95, the Bulls lost Horace Grant, Scott Williams, and Bill Cartwright to free agency, but picked up all-star Shooting Guard Ron Harper and small-forward Larry Krystkowiak. The Bulls sported the look of Armstrong and Harper in the backcourt, Pippen and Kukoc at the forward spots, and Perdue at center. They also had sharpshooter Steve Kerr, whom they acquired via free agency before the 1993-94 season, Myers, and centers Luc Longley (acquired via trade in 1994 from Minnesota Timberwolves) and Bill Wennington. However, they were slumping during the season, struggling to make the playoffs, when on March 17, 1995, they received the best possible news: Michael Jordan was coming out of retirement. He was soon among the best in the league again, scoring 55 points against the Knicks in only his fifth game back, and led the Bulls to the fifth seed in the playoffs, where they upset the Charlotte Hornets. However, Jordan was too rusty, and the Bulls were unable to overcome the eventual Eastern Conference champion Orlando Magic, which included former Bull Horace Grant, as well as rising stars Penny Hardaway and Shaquille O'Neal. When Jordan returned to the Bulls, he initially wore No. 45 (which was his number while playing for the Birmingham Barons, a minor-league affiliate of the Chicago White Sox). He chose the No. 45 because his older brother Larry wore that number in high school. Michael wanted to be half as good as his brother so he chose 23 which is considered to be half of 45. This was because during his first retirement, his jersey had been retired. However, Jordan switched back to the familiar 23 before game 2 of the Orlando Magic series.

In the offseason, the Bulls lost B.J. Armstrong in the expansion draft, but Krause pulled off a masterful deal by trading Will Perdue to the San Antonio Spurs for ballistic rebounder Dennis Rodman, who had won the past four rebounding titles and who had also been a member of the Detroit Pistons' "Bad Boys" squad that served as the Bulls' chief nemesis in the late 1980s. Due to Rodman's odd personality and his previous rivalry with the Bulls, many critics at first questioned whether the team could function properly, but these doubts were soon silenced.

1995–1998: Return of Michael Jordan Second championship three-peat

Dennis Rodman was traded to the Bulls prior to the 1995–96 season, and played a major part in the Bulls' second three-peat in the late 1990s.

With a lineup of Harper, Jordan, Pippen, Rodman and Longley, and perhaps the league's best bench in Kerr, Kukoc, Wennington and guards Randy Brown and Jud Buechler, the Bulls posted one of the best single-season improvements in league history and the best single-season record, moving from 47–35 to 72–10,[1] which was at the time, the best record in the league for an 82-game season, and the Bulls became the first NBA team to win 70 over more games. Jordan won his eighth scoring title, and Rodman his fifth straight rebounding title, while Kerr finished second in the league in three-point shooting percentage. The Bulls steamrolled through the Eastern Conference playoffs before defeating the 64 win Seattle Supersonics in 6 games. Jordan garnered the elusive triple-crown with the regular season MVP, all-star game MVP, and Finals MVP. Krause won executive of the year, Jackson coach of the year, and Kukoc was the sixth man of the year. Both Pippen and Jordan made the all-NBA first team, and Jordan, Pippen, and Rodman made the all-defensive first team.

In addition, the 1995–96 team holds several other records, including the best road record in a standard 41-road-game season (33–8), the all-time best start by a team (41–3), and the best start at home (37–0). The Bulls also posted the second-best home record in history (39–2), behind only the 1985–86 Celtics 40–1 home mark.

The team triumphed over over the Miami Heat in the first round, the New York Knicks in the second round, the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals, and finally, Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp and the Seattle SuperSonics in six games in the NBA Finals for their fourth title. The 1995–96 Chicago Bulls are widely regarded as one of the greatest teams in the history of basketball.

In the 1996–97 season, the Bulls narrowly missed out on a second consecutive 70 win season after starting out 69–11 by losing their final two games to finish 69–13.[2] The Bulls ended their season by winning the their fifth NBA championship over John Stockton, Karl Malone, and the Utah Jazz in six games in the NBA Finals. Jordan earned his second straight scoring title and ninth overall, while Rodman earned his sixth straight rebounding title. Jordan and Pippen, along with Robert Parish (who had been recently acquired by the team), were also honored as members of the 50 greatest players of all-time with the NBA celebrating its 50th season. Parish was nominated for his stellar career with the Boston Celtics.

Jordan in 1997.

The 1997–98 season was one of turmoil for the defending two-time NBA champion Bulls. Many speculated this would be Michael Jordan's final season with the team. Phil Jackson's future with the team was also questionable, as his relationship with team general manager Jerry Krause was one of growing tension. Scottie Pippen was looking for a significant contract extension that he thought he deserved, but was not getting that from the organization. In spite of the turmoil that surrounded the Bulls, they still had a remarkable season, with a final regular-season record of 62–20. Michael Jordan would be named the league MVP for the fifth and final time, and the Bulls went into the playoffs as the number one seed in the Eastern Conference.

The first round of the playoffs for the Bulls was against the New Jersey Nets, a team led by Keith Van HornKendall Gill, and Sam Cassell. The Bulls swept the Nets three to nothing in a best of five series. The conference semi-finals were more challenging with the Charlotte Hornets stealing game two from the Bulls at the United Center, and tying the series 1–1. However, the Bulls easily defeated the Hornets in the next three games of the series. The Conference Finals was a challenge for the Bulls as they went up against the Reggie Miller-led Indiana Pacers. Experts were of the opinion that the Pacers had the best chance to defeat the Bulls. The Pacers gave the Bulls no road wins, winning games 3, 4, and 6, sending the series to a deciding game seven at the United Center. The Bulls prevailed and beat the Pacers 88–83, winning their 6th Eastern Conference Championship.

In a much anticipated Finals, the Bulls faced the team that they beat the previous year, the Utah Jazz. Led by Karl Malone and John Stockton, the Jazz felt confident that they could defeat the Bulls, winning game one at Utah's Delta Center. Facing a potential two to nothing deficit, the Bulls won Game 2 at the Delta Center and tied the series. The Bulls returned to the United Center and, by winning the next two games, took a 3–1 series lead. The Jazz won Game 5 by two points, 83–81. Game 6 was a tough battle for both teams, as the Jazz had a lead late in the game. Down by three points to the Jazz, Michael Jordan led the Bulls to one final win. Jordan hit a layup shot to bring the Bulls within 1, then stole the ball from Karl Malone and hit the iconic game winning shot over Bryon Russell with 5.2 seconds remaining on the clock. With a score of 87–86, John Stockton put up a three-pointer, but missed, giving the Bulls their sixth championship in eight years. Jordan would be named the Finals MVP for the sixth time in his career. He retired for the second time on January 13, 1999.

1998–2008: Post-Jordan era and a decade of struggles

1998–2004: Post-dynasty struggles

The summer of 1998 brought an abrupt end to the championship era. Krause felt that the Bulls were on the verge of being too old and unable to compete. He decided that the team's only choices were to rebuild or endure a slow decline. His plan was to sink the team and acquire high draft picks while clearing salary cap space to make a run at several promising free agents in two years' time. After having been vetoed in a previous attempt by owner Jerry Reinsdorf, Krause traded Scottie Pippen for cast-offs from the Houston Rockets, none of whom made the Bulls' roster. He also declined to resign Dennis Rodman, and traded Luc Longley and Steve Kerr for draft picks. He hired a new coach with no professional experience, Tim Floyd, who had run a successful program at Iowa State University. Upon Phil Jackson's departure, Michael Jordan made his second retirement official. With a new starting lineup of point guard Randy Brown, shooting guard Ron Harper, newcomer Brent Barry at small forward, power forward Toni Kukoc, and center Bill Wennington, the team began the lockout-shortened 1998–99 season. Kukoc led the team in scoring, rebounding, and assists, but the team won only 13 of 50 games. The lowest point of the season came on April 10 in a game against the Miami Heat. In that game, the Bulls scored 49 points to set an NBA record for the fewest points in a game in the shot clock era.

The previous year's dismal finish came with one highlight: the team won the draft lottery and the rights to power forward Elton Brand. Since the team lost Harper, Brown, Wennington and Barry in the offseason, Brand and fellow rookie Ron Artest led the team throughout the year, especially after Kukoc missed most of the season due to injury and was then dealt for a draft pick at the trading deadline. Brand recorded the first 20-10 average for the Bulls since the days of Artis Gilmore. He led all rookies in scoring, rebounds, blocks, field goal percentage and minutes, while Artest led all rookies in steals and finished second on the team in scoring. For his efforts Brand was named 1999–2000 co-Rookie of the Year with Houston's Steve Francis, and to the all-rookie first team, while Artest was named to the all-rookie second team. However, the team established a franchise low at 17–65, second worst in the league.

After a summer in which the Bulls witnessed most major and minor free agents Tim Duncan, Grant Hill, Tracy McGrady, Eddie Jones, and even Tim Thomas spurn them, Krause signed free agent center Brad Miller and shooting guard Ron Mercer, and drafted power forward Marcus Fizer and traded draft pick Chris Mihm to Cleveland for the rights of guard Jamal Crawford. Brand again led the team in scoring and rebounds with another 20-10 season, but the new acquisitions failed to make a major impact, and they finished with the worst record in team history at 15–67.

Krause shocked Bulls fans on draft day in 2001 when he traded franchise player Brand to the Los Angeles Clippers for second pick in the draft, Tyson Chandler, a move that was seen as a huge risk. He also selected Eddy Curry with the fourth pick. Since both Chandler and Curry came straight out of high school, neither were expected to make much of a contribution for several years, but they were seen as potential franchise players. The team floundered without veteran leadership. At mid-season, the Bulls traded their top three scorers—Mercer, Artest, and Miller along with Kevin Ollie —to the Indiana Pacers for veteran guard Jalen Rose, Travis Best and Norman Richardson. There was also a change in coaching, with Floyd being dismissed in favor of assistant coach and former Bulls co-captain Bill Cartwright, following a series of arguments with players and management. The Bulls improved from 15 to 21 wins, although they were still tied for last in the league.

For the 2002–03 season, the Bulls came to play with much optimism. They picked up college phenom Jay Williams with the second pick in the draft. Rose and Williams teamed with Crawford, Fizer, newcomer Donyell Marshall, Curry, Chandler, and guard Trenton Hassell to form a young and exciting nucleus which improved to 30-52 in Bill Cartwright's first full season as head coach. Curry led the league in field goal percentage, becoming the first Bull since Jordan to lead the league in a major statistical category.

During the summer of 2003, long-time GM Jerry Krause retired, and former player and announcer John Paxson was tabbed as his successor. Jay Williams, coming off a promising rookie campaign, was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident. His contract was bought out by the Bulls in February 2004 and he has yet to return to the game. Paxson selected point guard Kirk Hinrich with the seventh pick in the draft, and signed veteran free agent and former franchise player Scottie Pippen. With Pippen playing, Cartwright at the sidelines, and Paxson in the front office, the Bulls hoped that some of the championship magic from before would return.

However, the 2003–04 season was a resounding disappointment. Eddy Curry regressed, leading to questions about his conditioning, weight and commitment. Tyson Chandler was plagued by a chronic back injury, missing more than thirty games. Pippen's ability to influence games was impaired by knee problems, and he openly contemplated retirement. Jamal Crawford remained inconsistent. Bill Cartwright was fired as head coach in December and replaced with former Phoenix coach Scott Skiles. A trade with the Toronto Raptors brought Antonio Davis and Jerome Williams in exchange for Rose and Marshall in what was seen as a major shift in team strategy from winning with athleticism to winning with hard work and defense. After struggling throughout the season, the Bulls finished with 23 wins and 59 losses, the second-worst record in the league. Fizer was not re-signed, and Crawford was re-signed and traded to the Knicks for expiring contracts. Hinrich provided the lone bright spot, becoming a fan favorite for his gritty determination and athletic ability. He won a place on the All-Rookie first team.

2004–2007: Resurgence

In the summer of 2004, the team's fortunes changed when it received the third pick of the NBA draft, after Orlando and Charlotte. The Magic selected Dwight Howard and the Bobcats jumped on Emeka Okafor, the Bulls grabbed Shooting Guard Ben Gordon out of Connecticut.

During the 2004 off-season, for the other draft picks, Paxson traded a 2005 draft pick to the Phoenix Suns in return for an additional pick in the 2004 NBA Draft. He used the picks to select Duke small forward Luol Deng in the first round, and Duke point guard Chris Duhon in the second. Paxson also signed free agent small forward Andres Nocioni, who had recently won an Olympic gold medal as a member of the Argentinian national team. The team had the youngest starting line-up (average age), and the second youngest team, behind the Phoenix Suns (although that would change when they traded Eddy Curry and Antonio Davis to the Knicks). After a discouraging 0-9 start, the Bulls began to show signs of improvement, relying on tenacious team defense and several fourth-quarter explosions from Gordon. The Bulls made it over .500 in their 39th game of the season, finishing the regular season with the 3rd best record in the Eastern Conference and the fourth seed in the playoffs, their first trip to the post-season since Jordan left.

Unfortunately, injuries late in the season cost them the services of Deng and Curry, leaving the Bulls without a dependable scoring presence in the middle. Coincidentally, the team they faced in the first round was the Washington Wizards, the team Jordan played for when he came out of retirement for a second time. Despite opening the series with two electrifying wins at home, the injury-depleted Bulls lost the next four games and the series. Ben Gordon became the first rookie to win the NBA Sixth Man Award and the first Bull to win the award since 1996 with Toni Kukoč.

During the off-season, the Bulls re-signed free agent Tyson Chandler. However, Curry showed possible symptoms of a heart disease, and Paxson would not clear him to play without extensive DNA testing. Ultimately, Curry refused to participate in the tests, and he was traded along with Antonio Davis to the New York Knicks for Michael Sweetney, Tim Thomas, and what became the second lottery pick in the 2006 NBA Draft - as well as the right to swap picks with New York in the 2007 NBA Draft.

Without a significant post presence, the Bulls struggled for most of the 2005-06 season. However, a late-season surge propelled them back to .500 (finishing with a 41-41 record) and into the playoffs for the second season in a row, with the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference and a first-round match-up against the second-seeded Miami Heat, who later went on to win the 2005-06 NBA championship in the finals against the Dallas Mavericks. After two close losses, the Bulls broke through with a blowout win in Game 3, and another win in Game 4. The Heat took the next two games to win the series, though, and the Bulls were eliminated from the playoffs. However, the team's several young players earned valuable post-season experience, and Nocioni turned in a remarkable series of performances that far exceeded his season averages.

With two first-round picks and a great deal of salary cap space, the Bulls went into the summer with a chance to improve even further. The Bulls drafted center LaMarcus Aldridge from Texas and immediately traded him to the Portland Trail Blazers for forward Tyrus Thomas, from LSU, and forward Viktor Khryapa. In a second draft day trade, the Bulls selected Rodney Carney from University of Memphis and traded him to the Philadelphia 76ers for Swiss guard Thabo Sefolosha. All of that was prelude, however. On July 3, 2006, four-time Defensive Player of the Year Ben Wallace chose to leave Detroit and agreed to sign with the Bulls for what was reported as $60 million over four years. The signing of Wallace allowed the Bulls to trade Tyson Chandler, the last remaining player of the Krause era, to the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets for veteran power forward P.J. Brown and salary cap space that was used to sign former Bulls co-captain and gritty perimeter defender Adrian Griffin.

In 2006–07, the Bulls overcame a 3–9 season start to finish 49–33, the third-best record in the Eastern Conference. In the first round, the Bulls again faced Miami, the defending NBA champions. The Bulls narrowly won Game 1 at home, then followed it with a blowout victory in Game 2. In Miami, the Bulls rallied from a 12-point second-half deficit to win Game 3 and then posted another comeback win in Game 4. The Bulls' four-game sweep of the defending champions stunned many NBA observers. It was Chicago's first playoff series victory since 1998, Jordan's last season with the team.

The Bulls then advanced to face the Detroit Pistons, marking the first time the Central Division rivals had met in the playoffs since 1991. The Pistons won the first three games including a big comeback in Game 3. No NBA team had ever come back from a 0–3 deficit to win the series, but the Bulls avoided a sweep by winning Game 4 by 10 points. The Bulls then easily won Game 5 in Detroit, and had a chance to make NBA history. But they lost at home in game 6 by 10, and the Pistons won the series 4–2 on May 17.

2007–2008: Missing the playoffs

Joakim Noah was drafted by the Bulls with the 9th pick in the 2007 NBA draft. He was named an All Star for the first time in 2013 and for the second time in 2014.

During the off season, the Bulls signed forward Joe Smith and guard Adrian Griffin, and drafted young defensive minded center Joakim Noah. However, distractions began when Luol Deng and Ben Gordon turned down contract extensions, never citing reasons. Then rumors surfaced that the Bulls were pursuing stars like Kevin Garnett, Pau Gasol, and most notably, Kobe Bryant. None of these deals happened, and general manager John Paxson denied a deal was ever imminent.

The Bulls started the 2007–08 NBA season by losing 10 of their first 12 games and on December 24, 2007, after a 9–16 start, the Bulls fired head coach Scott Skiles. Jim Boylan was named the interim head coach on December 27, 2007.

On February 21, 2008, Ben Wallace, Joe Smith, Adrian Griffin and the Bulls' 2009 2nd round draft pick were exchanged for Drew Gooden, Cedric Simmons, Larry Hughes and Shannon Brown in a three-team trade deal involving the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Seattle SuperSonics.[21] Boylan was not retained on April 17 at the conclusion of the 2007–08 season after compiling a 24–32 record with the Bulls. The Bulls ended the 2007–08 campaign with a 33–49 record, a complete reversal of last year's record.

After Jim Boylan's interim tenure expired, the Bulls began the process of selecting a new head coach. They were in talks with former Phoenix head coach Mike D'Antoni, but on May 10, 2008, he signed with the New York Knicks. Other possible options included former Dallas head coach Avery Johnson and former Bulls head coach Doug Collins. Collins resigned from the coaching list on June 4, 2008, reporting that he did not want to ruin his friendship with Jerry Reinsdorf.

On June 10, 2008, the Chicago Bulls G.M. John Paxson hired Vinny Del Negro, with no coaching experience, to coach the young Bulls. On July 3, 2008, the Chicago Tribune reported that Del Harris agreed to become an assistant coach for the Chicago Bulls along with former Charlotte Bobcats head coach Bernie Bickerstaff and longtime NBA assistant Bob Ociepka. Along with Bickerstaff and Ociepka, Harris helped establish a veteran presence on the coaching staff and helped rookie head coach Del Negro.

2008–2016: The Derrick Rose era

2008–2010: Appearance of Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose was selected by the Bulls with the first overall pick of the 2008 NBA Draft. He was the 2010–2011 regular season MVP, becoming the youngest player to win the award at age 22.

With a slim 1.7% chance of winning the rights to draft number 1, the Bulls won the 2008 NBA Draft Lottery and selected first overall. With this, the Bulls became the team with the lowest chance of winning to ever win the lottery since it was modified for the 1994 NBA draft, and second lowest ever. On June 26, 2008, the Bulls drafted Chicago native Derrick Rose from the University of Memphis as the number 1 draft pick. At pick number 39 they selected Sonny Weems. The Bulls later traded Weems to the Denver Nuggets for Denver's 2009 regular second round draft pick. The Bulls then acquired Ömer Aşık from the Portland Trail Blazers (selected with the 36th pick) for Denver's 2009 second round draft pick, New York's 2009 second round draft pick, and the Bulls' 2010 regular second round draft pick. The Bulls re-signed Luol Deng to a six-year $71 million contract on July 30, 2008. He was later plagued with an injury keeping him from action for most of the 2008–09 season. Ben Gordon signed a one-year contract on October 2, 2008.

On February 18, 2009, the Bulls made their first of several trades, sending Andrés Nocioni, Drew Gooden, Cedric Simmons, and Michael Ruffin to the Sacramento Kings for Brad Miller and John Salmons. Then on February 19, 2009, the NBA trade deadline, the Bulls traded Larry Hughes to the New York Knicks for Tim Thomas, Jerome James, and Anthony Roberson. Later that day the Bulls made the third trade in a span of less than 24 hours by sending swingman Thabo Sefolosha to the Oklahoma City Thunder for a 2009 first round pick. The trades brought a late-season push for the Bulls, which finally clinched a playoff berth on April 10, 2009, their fourth in the last five years. They finished the season with a 41–41 record. Their record was good enough to secure a No. 7 seed in the 2009 NBA Playoffs, playing a tough series against the Boston Celtics. In Game 1, Derrick Rose scored 36 points, along with 11 assists, tying Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's record for most points scored by a rookie in a playoff debut. After breaking the record for most overtimes played in an NBA Playoffs Series, the Boston Celtics managed to overcome the Bulls after 7 games and 7 overtimes played.

The Bulls had two first round picks in the 2009 NBA Draft and decided to take Wake Forest stand out forward James Johnson and athletic USC forward Taj Gibson. In the 2009 NBA off-season the Bulls lost their leading scorer, Ben Gordon, when he signed with their divisional rival, the Detroit Pistons.

On February 18, 2010, John Salmons was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks for Joe Alexander and Hakim Warrick. Meanwhile, Tyrus Thomas was traded to the Charlotte Bobcats for Acie Law, Flip Murray and a future protected first round pick. On April 14, 2010, the Bulls clinched the playoffs with the number 8 seed. Unlike the previous year, however, the Bulls' playoff run was shorter and less dramatic as they were eliminated by the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games. On May 4, 2010, the Bulls officially fired head coach Vinny Del Negro.

2010–2011: Arrival of Tom Thibodeau and Derrick Rose's MVP season

In early June 2010, Boston Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau accepted a three-year contract to fill the Bulls' head coaching vacancy. He was officially introduced on June 23. On July 7, it was revealed that Carlos Boozer of the Utah Jazz had verbally agreed to an $80 million, five-year contract. Afterwards, the Bulls traded veteran point guard Kirk Hinrich to the Washington Wizards to create more cap space. The Bulls also signed former 76er and Jazz sharpshooter Kyle Korver to a three-year, $15 million contract. The same day that the Bulls signed Kyle Korver, they signed Turkish All-Star Ömer Aşık. After being matched by the Orlando Magic for J. J. Redick, they signed their third free agent from the Jazz in the off-season in shooting guard Ronnie Brewer, traded for former Warrior Point Guard C.J. Watson, and signed former Bucks Power Forward Kurt Thomas as well as former Spurs player Keith Bogans and former Celtic Brian Scalabrine.

Rose earned the 2011 NBA MVP Award, thereby becoming the youngest player in NBA history to win it. He became the first Bulls player since Michael Jordan to win the award. As a team, Chicago finished the regular season with a league-best 62–20 record and clinched the first seed in the Eastern Conference for the first time since 1998. The Bulls defeated the Indiana Pacers and the Atlanta Hawks in five and six games, respectively, thereby reaching the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 1998, and faced the Miami Heat. After winning the first game of the series, they lost the next four games, ending their season.

2011–2014: Injury-plagued seasons for Derrick Rose

During the off-season, the Bulls drafted Jimmy Butler 30th overall in the 2011 NBA Draft. Butler was seen as a raw, undeveloped talent, but had potential and was already a stud on the defensive side of the ball. After the NBA lockout ended, the Bulls lost Kurt Thomas to free agency, and released Keith Bogans. The Bulls signed veteran shooting guard Richard "Rip" Hamilton to a three-year deal, after he was waived by the Detroit Pistons. The Bulls also gave MVP Derrick Rose a 5-year contract extension worth $94.8 million.

Derrick Rose was voted as an NBA All-Star starter for the second consecutive year, and was the third leading voted player overall behind Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant. Luol Deng was also selected as a reserve for the Eastern Conference. This was the first time that the Bulls had two all stars since 1997, when Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen were the duo. Derrick Rose was injured for most of the 2011–12 NBA season; however, the team was still able to finish with a 50–16 record and clinched the first seed in the Eastern Conference for the second straight year and the best overall record in the NBA (tied with the San Antonio Spurs). Rose suffered a new injury when he tore his ACL during the 4th quarter of the first playoff game on April 28, 2012, against the Philadelphia 76ers and missed the rest of the series. Head coach Tom Thibodeau was criticized for keeping Rose in the game even though the Bulls were essentially minutes away from their victory over the 76ers. The Bulls lost the next three games, and also lost Noah to a foot injury after he severely rolled his ankle stepping on Andre Iguodala's foot in Game 3; he briefly returned for part of the fourth quarter of that game, but missed the following games in the series. After winning Game 5 at home, Bulls were eliminated by the 76ers in Game 6 in Philadelphia, becoming the fifth team in NBA history to be eliminated as a first seed by an eighth seed. In Game 6, Andre Iguodala sank two free throws with 2.2 seconds left to put the 76ers up 79–78 after getting fouled by Ömer Aşık, who had missed two free throws five seconds earlier. At the end of the season, Boozer and Aşık were the only members on the Bulls' roster to have played in every game, with Korver and Brewer missing one game apiece. In the offseason, the Bulls gave up Lucas to the Toronto Raptors, Brewer to the New York Knicks, Korver to the Atlanta Hawks, Watson to the Brooklyn Nets and Aşık to the Houston Rockets, but brought back Kirk Hinrich. In addition, they added Marco Belinelli, Vladimir Radmanovic, Nazr Mohammed, and Nate Robinson to the roster via free agency.

Rose missed the entire 2012–13 season, but despite his absence, the Bulls finished 45–37, second in the Central Division (behind the Indiana Pacers) and 5th in their conference. They defeated the Brooklyn Nets 4–3 (after leading 3–1) in the first round of the playoffs and lost to the defending and eventual champion Miami Heat 4–1 in the next round.

During the season, the Bulls snapped both Miami's 27-game winning streak and the New York Knicks' 13-game winning streak, becoming the second team in NBA history to snap two winning streaks of 13 games or more in a season.

Just 10 games into the 2013–14 season, Derrick Rose would tear his medial meniscus on a non-contact play. He declared he would miss the remainder of the season. On January 7, 2014, veteran forward Luol Deng was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers for center Andrew Bynum and a set of picks. Bynum was immediately waived after the trade went through. The Bulls would finish second in the Central Division with 48 wins, and earned home-court advantage in the first round. However, due to lack of a strong offensive weapon, they failed to win a single home game en route to losing to the Washington Wizards in five games.

In the 2014 NBA Draft, the Bulls traded their 16th and 19th picks for Doug McDermott, the former Creighton star and 5th leading scorer in NCAA history, who was selected with the 11th pick, and in the second round, took Cameron Bairstow with the 49th pick. That offseason, they signed Pau Gasol, re-signed Kirk Hinrich and brought over Eurostar Nikola Mirotić, who was acquired via a draft day trade in 2011, but could not come over sooner, due to salary cap constraints.

2014–2015: Derrick Rose's return to health

The second return of Derrick Rose gave the Bulls and their fans optimism for the 2014–15 season. With 2-time NBA Champion Pau Gasol and a deep bench consisting of Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotić, Tony Snell, Aaron Brooks, Doug McDermott, Kirk Hinrich, among others, the Bulls were one of the two favorite teams to come out of the Eastern Conference along with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Bulls started off the season in style with a blowout win of the New York Knicks, and then winning 7 of their first 9 games (losses coming to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics). The emergence of Jimmy Butler as a primary scorer for the Bulls was a major surprise and he surged into the forefront of the "Most Improved Player of the Year" award race. Butler's statistical jump was noted by many as one of the greatest in NBA History, going from scoring just 13 points per game in 2013–14 to scoring 20 points per game in 2014–15. Pau Gasol was considered a huge asset for the Bulls and averaged a double-double throughout the season. Both Butler and Gasol ended up making the Eastern Conference All-Star team. The Bulls' second half of the season was marred by inconsistency and frustration set in with Derrick Rose blasting the team for not being on the same page. Tension between management and Tom Thibodeau continued to be a dark cloud hanging over the organization. The Bulls finished with a 50–32 record and the 3rd seed in the Eastern Conference. They faced the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round, and took advantage of the young and inexperienced Bucks by going up a quick 3–0 in the series. However, inconsistency and not being on the same page yet again plagued the Bulls as the Bucks won the next two games, sending a scare to Chicago. The Bulls bounced back with fury in Game 6 however, beating the Bucks by a playoff record 54 points winning the series 4–2. The next round saw the Bulls facing their arch-rival Cleveland Cavaliers, and their biggest nemesis, LeBron James, who had beaten the Bulls in all three of their previous playoff meetings. The Bulls shocked the Cavs in Game 1 dominating them and never trailing. The Cavs answered back in Game 2 in the same fashion, never trailing the entire game. In a pivotal Game 3 in Chicago, the Bulls and Cavs battled closely all the way through, but the Bulls prevailed on a last-second buzzer beating 3-pointer by Derrick Rose. In Game 4, the Cavs would answer once again, with LeBron James hitting the buzzer-beating shot to win the game. The Bulls lack of consistency and poor offensive showing doomed them once again as the Cavs won the next 2 games handily and closed out the series 4–2. After the series, speculation erupted about Tom Thibodeau's job security due to escalating feud between Thibodeau and Bulls front office managers Gar Forman and John Paxson.

2015–2016: Change in approach

On May 28, 2015, the Bulls fired Tom Thibodeau to seek a "change in approach". The Bulls named Fred Hoiberg as their head coach on June 2, 2015.[32] The Bulls had only 1 draft pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, and selected center Bobby Portis from the University of Arkansas. Bulls forward Mike Dunleavy Jr. was ruled out for at least the first four months of the season after completing back surgery. With Dunleavy out indefinitely, the Bulls promoted Doug McDermott to the starting lineup in his place at small forward. Before the season started, coach Fred Hoiberg made an incredibly controversial move by putting Nikola Mirotić as his starting power forward to pair with center Pau Gasol, meaning Joakim Noah, a long-time Bulls veteran and a fan-favorite was to come off the bench. Hoiberg told the media that the move was suggested by Noah himself but Noah denied having made any suggestions to Hoiberg, which sparked a distrust between the two before the season even began.

The Bulls started the 2015–16 season off well with an impressive season-opening 97–95 victory against archrivals and defending Eastern Conference Champion Cleveland Cavaliers and jumped to an 8–3 record in the first month. The Bulls went 10–9 and through late November and December. The Bulls came back and won six straight games. However, soon afterwards, they lost 12 of their next 17 games and Butler missed four weeks after injuring his knee. The Bulls were eliminated from playoff contention after a loss to the Miami Heat on April 7, 2016 although finishing with season with a winning record of 42–40. It was the first time in 8 years that the Bulls had missed the playoffs.

2016–2017: The departure of Derrick Rose

On June 22, 2016, Derrick Rose and Justin Holiday, along with a 2017 second round draft pick, were traded to the New York Knicks for center Robin Lopez, and point guards Jerian Grant and José Calderón, who was soon traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. On July 7, the Bulls announced the signing of Rose's replacement, former all star guard Rajon Rondo. On July 15, the Bulls signed 3-time champion and Chicago native Dwyane Wade. On October 17, 2016, the Bulls acquired 2014 Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams in exchange for Tony Snell.

On February 23, 2017, Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott, along with a 2018 second round draft pick, were traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder for point guard Cameron Payne, shooting guard Anthony Morrow, and power forward/center Joffrey Lauvergne. The Bulls clinched the eighth seed in 2017 NBA Playoffs after winning seven of their final ten games and finishing the season with a 41–41 record. The team struck an early 2–0 lead against the top-seeded Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs, but ultimately lost the series in six games after losing the next four games.

2017–present: The Zach Lavine era

2017–2020: Final years of GarPax and arrival of Zach LaVine

On June 22, 2017, Jimmy Butler, along with Chicago's 2017 first round pick, was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, and Minnesota's 2017 first round pick, which the Bulls used to select Lauri Markkanen. Additionally, on June 27, the Bulls did not give a qualifying offer to Michael Carter-Williams, allowing him to enter unrestricted free agency. On June 30, Rajon Rondo and Isaiah Canaan were waived by the Bulls. On July 10, 2017, Justin Holiday returned to the Bulls signing 2-year $9 million contract. On September 24, 2017, Dwyane Wade and the Bulls reportedly agreed to a buyout of the remaining year on his contract. Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Wade gave back $8 million of his $23.2 million contract as part of the agreement.

On October 17, 2017, a fight broke out in practice between Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotić, who suffered a concussion and two broken bones in his face.[39] Portis was suspended eight games for his role in the altercation, and Mirotić missed 23 games to start the regular season. On February 1, 2018, the Bulls traded Mirotić and a second round draft pick to the New Orleans Pelicans for a first round draft pick and Ömer Aşık, Tony Allen, and Jameer Nelson.[39] Bulls ended up finishing the season with 27–55 record.

On June 21, 2018, the Bulls selected Wendell Carter with the seventh overall pick, and with 22nd overall pick via trade with New Orleans Pelicans selected Chandler Hutchison. On July 8, the Bulls matched an offer Zach LaVine received from the Sacramento Kings for a four-year, $78 million deal. On July 14, the team signed Jabari Parker to a two-year, $40 million contract after the Milwaukee Bucks' general manager Jon Horst removed the qualifying offer on the restricted free agent and allowed him to become unrestricted. Part of Parker's agreement gave the Bulls a team option for the second year. On December 3, the Bulls fired head coach Hoiberg after the team started the 2018–19 season 5–19 and promoted his assistant Jim Boylen as head coach. On January 3, 2019, the Bulls traded Justin Holiday to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for MarShon Brooks, Wayne Selden Jr. and 2019 and 2020 second round draft picks. MarShon Brooks and Cameron Payne were waived. On February 6, the team traded Bobby Portis, Jabari Parker and a 2023 second round draft pick to the Washington Wizards an exchange for Otto Porter. After a season filled with injuries, coaching change, and trades, the Bulls finished with 22–60 record missing the playoffs for the second straight year.

On June 20, 2019, Bulls selected Coby White with the seventh overall pick and Daniel Gafford with thirty-eighth pick in the second round.

In March 2020, the league suspended the season after Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19.

In April 2020, the Bulls fired longtime general manager Gar Forman, reassigned John Paxson to senior advisor role and hired Artūras Karnišovas as executive vice president of basketball operations. In May 2020, the Bulls hired Marc Eversley as general manager. On June 4, 2020, the Bulls season officially came to an end when the NBA Board of Governors approved a plan to bring 22 teams back to finish the season in the NBA Bubble, with the Bulls not being one of the 22 teams invited due to their record. The Bulls finished with a 22–43 record. Head Coach Jim Boylen was fired on August 14, 2020.

On September 22, 2020, the Bulls hired Billy Donovan as head coach who was previously with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

On November 18, 2020, the Bulls selected Patrick Williams with the fourth overall pick.

On March 25, 2021, the Bulls traded Wendell Carter Jr, Otto Porter, along with 2021 and 2023 first-round draft picks to Orlando Magic for Nikola Vucevic and Al-Farouq Aminu. The team also traded Chandler Hutchison and Daniel Gafford to the Washington Wizards for Troy Brown Jr. and Moe Wagner. Wagner was later traded along with Luke Kornet to the Boston Celtics for Daniel Theis and Javonte Green. The Bulls finished the abbreviated 72 game season with 31-41 record missing the playoffs for 4th consecutive year.

2021–present: LaVine and DeRozan duo

On August 2, 2021, the Bulls sent Tomas Satoransky, Garrett Temple, 2024 second-round pick and cash to New Orleans Pelicans for Lonzo Ball. On the same day, the Bulls managed to sign free agent and 2020 NBA Champion Alex Caruso after he and the Los Angeles Lakers failed to reach an agreement. As part of the same preseason rebuild, on August 11, Chicago announced a trade sending Thaddeus Young, Al-Farouq Aminu, a protected first-round pick and second-round pick to the San Antonio Spurs in exchange for four-time All-Star DeMar DeRozan.

With the start of the 2021-22 NBA season, the Chicago Bulls managed to gain a promising 24-10 record as of early December 2021 with the Lavine-DeRozan-Vucevic trio leading the team as the 1st seed in the Eastern Conference. The team also recorded the 5th highest defensive rating as of November.

While playing against the Indiana Pacers on New Year's Eve in the 4th quarter, DeRozan hit a buzzer-beating game-winning shot to sink the Pacers 108-106. The next day on New Year's Day, While the Bulls were down 117-119, DeRozan hit another buzzer-beating shot to defeat the Washington Wizards 120-119, becoming the first player in NBA History to hit back-to-back game-winning buzzer-beater shots in consecutive days. On January 22, 2022, it was announced that DeRozan would start in that year's All-Star Game.  Eight days later, LaVine was named a reserve.

On April 5, 2022, following a Cleveland Cavaliers loss to the Orlando Magic, the Bulls clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 2017, finishing the regular season with a 46–36 record and clinched the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference. In the playoffs, the Bulls faced the 3rd-seeded defending NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks in the first round, losing in five games.


Detroit Pistons

The Bulls–Pistons rivalry is an NBA rivalry between the Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons. The rivalry began in the late 1980s and was one of the most intense in NBA history for a couple of years, when Michael Jordan evolved into one of the league's best players and the Pistons became a playoff contender.

Miami Heat

The Bulls–Heat rivalry is an NBA rivalry between the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat. It began once the Heat became contenders during the 1990s, a decade dominated by the Bulls. They were eliminated three times by Chicago, who went on to win the title each time.

The rivalry came back in the post-Michael Jordan era due to the Heat and the Bulls becoming favorites in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls, led by Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, and Joakim Noah, battled the Heat's 'Big 3' LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh for dominance. These contests were fierce and hard fought battles featuring many fouls and ejections.

New York Knicks

The Bulls–Knicks rivalry is a rivalry between the Chicago Bulls and the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The two basketball teams have played each other every year since the Bulls first joined the NBA in 1966. However, the rivalry began to grow in intensity during the late 1980s and early 1990s, when both teams became huge playoff contenders. This was due to a variety of factors: the great frequency in which the teams competed against each other in high-stakes contests and playoff series; well-known players such as Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Patrick Ewing, and John Starks; the reputations of the team's respective cities; and personnel changes and conflicts between the teams. The two teams met in the playoffs seven times between 1981 and 1996, with the Bulls winning six of those series.

Events and Traditions

Home game introduction

For the Chicago Bulls home game intro, Tommy Edwards, the PA announcer of the Bulls, uses "Sirius" (by Alan Parsons), "On the Run" and other songs. In 1990, he was replaced by Ray Clay upon his move to Boston for the CBS radio employment and Clay continued the various aspects of the tradition. Since the move to United Center for the Bulls, they added fireworks and lasers going up. There are also improvements to White Way video screen in the arena as well as the addition to the monitoring of the stadium. This introduction includes a 3D animation of 'Running of the Bulls' on the route to United Center and smashing the bus that features the opposing team's logo that blocks their way. The players' positions are in this order: small forward, power forward, center, pointing guard, and shooting guard. In 2006, the team announced the return of Edwards, which was led by the dismissal of Clay. As part of his return, the intro has been changed and developed by Andy and Larry Wachowski, Ethan Stoller, and Jamie Pointdexter, from Chicago. The introduction now included a newly composed remix of the traditional Sirius theme.

Black Shoe Tradition

Michael Jordan going for the slam dunk at Boston Garden.

The Bulls have an unofficial tradition of wearing black shoes (regardless of being home or away) during the playoffs, which dates all the way back to 1989 when they debuted the tradition. It was noted when the Bulls made their first playoff appearance during the 2004-05 season after a six year hiatus, they went back to the tradition and sported black shoes. They were also the first NBA team to outfit the black socks with black shoes when they made their championship run during the 1996 Playoffs. Starting with the 1999 Playoffs, this fashion became the norm around the NBA.

Slam Dunk Participants

It's noteworthy to mention that the Chicago Bulls have had three participants in the Slam Dunk Contest held every year at the NBA All-Star Game. Michael Jordan won the competition back-to-back years in 1987 and 1988. Scottie Pippen competed in 1990. Tyrus Thomas competed in the dunk contest in 2007, but did not reach the final round.

Season-by-season records

Note: W = Wins, L = Losses, % = Percentage

Season W L % Playoffs Results
Chicago Bulls
1966-67 33 49 .407 Lost Division Semifinals St. Louis 3, Chicago 0
1967-68 29 53 .354 Lost Division Semifinals Los Angeles 4, Chicago 1
1968-69 33 49 .402
1969-70 39 43 .476 Lost Division Semifinals Atlanta 4, Chicago 0
1970-71 51 31 .622 Lost Conference Semifinals Los Angeles 4, Chicago 3
1971-72 57 25 .695 Lost Conference Semifinals Los Angeles 4, Chicago 0
1972-73 51 31 .622 Lost Conference Semifinals Los Angeles 4, Chicago 3
1973-74 54 28 .659 Won Conference Semifinals
Lost Conference Finals
Chicago 4, Detroit 3
Milwaukee 4, Chicago 0
1974-75 47 35 .573 Won Conference Semifinals
Lost Conference Finals
Chicago 4, Kansas City-Omaha 2
Golden State 4, Chicago 3
1975-76 24 58 .293
1976-77 44 38 .537 Lost First Round Portland 2, Chicago 1
1977-78 40 42 .488
1978-79 31 51 .378
1979-80 30 52 .366
1980-81 45 37 .549 Won First Round
Lost Conference Semifinals
Chicago 2, New York 0
Boston 4, Chicago 0
1981-82 34 48 .415
1982-83 28 54 .341
1983-84 27 55 .329
1984-85 38 44 .463 Lost First Round Milwaukee 3, Chicago 1
1985-86 30 52 .366 Lost First Round Boston 3, Chicago 0
1986-87 40 42 .488 Lost First Round Boston 3, Chicago 0
1987-88 50 32 .610 Won First Round
Lost Conference Semifinals
Chicago 3, Cleveland 2
Detroit 4, Chicago 1
1988-89 47 35 .573 Won First Round
Won Conference Semifinals
Lost Conference Finals
Chicago 3, Cleveland 2
Chicago 4, New York 2
Detroit 4, Chicago 2
1989-90 55 27 .671 Won First Round
Won Conference Semifinals
Lost Conference Finals
Chicago 3, Milwaukee 1
Chicago 4, Philadelphia 1
Detroit 4, Chicago 3
1990-91 61 21 .744 Won First Round
Won Conference Semifinals
Won Conference Finals
Won NBA Finals
Chicago 3, New York 0
Chicago 4, Philadelphia 1
Chicago 4, Detroit 0
Chicago 4, LA Lakers 1
1991-92 67 15 .817 Won First Round
Won Conference Semifinals
Won Conference Finals
Won NBA Finals
Chicago 3, Miami 0
Chicago 4, New York 3
Chicago 4, Cleveland 2
Chicago 4, Portland 2
1992-93 57 25 .695 Won First Round
Won Conference Semifinals
Won Conference Finals
Won NBA Finals
Chicago 3, Atlanta 0
Chicago 4, Cleveland 0
Chicago 4, New York 2
Chicago 4, Phoenix 2
1993-94 55 27 .671 Won First Round
Lost Conference Semifinals
Chicago 3, Cleveland 0
New York 4, Chicago 3
1994-95 47 35 .573 Won First Round
Lost Conference Semifinals
Chicago 3, Charlotte 1
Orlando 4, Chicago 2
1995-96 72 10 .878 Won First Round
Won Conference Semifinals
Won Conference Finals
Won NBA Finals
Chicago 3, Miami 0
Chicago 4, New York 1
Chicago 4, Orlando 0
Chicago 4, Seattle 2
1996-97 69 13 .841 Won First Round
Won Conference Semifinals
Won Conference Finals
Won NBA Finals
Chicago 3, Washington 0
Chicago 4, Atlanta 1
Chicago 4, Miami 1
Chicago 4, Utah 2
1997-98 62 20 .756 Won First Round
Won Conference Semifinals
Won Conference Finals
Won NBA Finals
Chicago 3, New Jersey 0
Chicago 4, Charlotte 1
Chicago 4, Indiana 3
Chicago 4, Utah 2
1998-99 13 37 .260
1999-00 17 65 .207
2000-01 15 67 .183
2001-02 21 61 .256
2002-03 30 52 .366
2003-04 23 59 .280
2004-05 47 35 .573 Lost First Round Washington 4, Chicago 2
2005-06 41 41 .500 Lost First Round Miami 4, Chicago 2
2006-07 49 33 .598 Won First Round
Lost Conference Semifinals
Chicago 4, Miami 0
Detroit 4, Chicago 2
2007-08 33 49 .402
2008-09 41 41 .500 Lost First Round Boston 4, Chicago 3
2009-10 41 41 .500 Lost First Round Cleveland 4, Chicago 1
2010-11 62 20 .756 Won First Round
Won Conference Semifinals
Lost Conference Finals
Chicago 4, Indiana 1
Chicago 4, Atlanta 2
Miami 4, Chicago 1
2011-12 50 16 .758 Lost First Round Philadelphia 4, Chicago 2
2012-13 45 37 .549 Won First Round
Lost Conference Semifinals
Chicago 4, Brooklyn 3
Miami 4, Chicago 1
2013-14 48 34 .585 Lost First Round Washington 4, Chicago 1
2014-15 50 32 .610 Won First Round
Lost Conference Semifinals
Chicago 4, Milwaukee 2
Cleveland 4, Chicago 2
2015-16 42 40 .512
2016-17 41 41 .500 Lost First Round Boston 4, Chicago 2
2017-18 27 55 .329
2018-19 22 60 .268
2019-20 22 43 .338
2020-21 31 41 .431
2021-22 46 36 .561 Lost First Round Milwaukee 4, Chicago 1
Totals 2205 2092 .513
Playoffs 186 157 .542 6 Championships


Basketball Hall of Famers

Notable players

Current Roster

Players Coaches
Pos. No. Name Height Weight DOB (YYYY-MM-DD) From
G 2 Ball, Lonzo Injured 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1997-10-27 UCLA
F/C 13 Bradley, Tony 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 248 lb (112 kg) 1998-08-01 North Carolina
G/F 7 Brown, Troy (FA) 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 215 lb (98 kg) 1999-07-28 Oregon
G 6 Caruso, Alex 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 186 lb (84 kg) 1994-02-28 Texas A&M
F 25 Cook, Tyler (TW, FA) 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 255 lb (116 kg) 1997-09-23 Iowa
G/F 11 DeRozan, DeMar 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 220 lb (100 kg) 1989-08-07 USC
G 12 Dosunmu, Ayo 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 200 lb (91 kg) 2000-01-17 Illinois
G/F 24 Green, Javonte 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 205 lb (93 kg) 1993-07-23 Radford
F 14 Hill, Malcolm (TW, FA) 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 220 lb (100 kg) 1995-10-26 Illinois
F 5 Jones, Derrick (FA) 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1997-02-15 UNLV
G/F 8 LaVine, Zach (FA) 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 200 lb (91 kg) 1995-03-10 UCLA
C 19 Simonović, Marko 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 220 lb (100 kg) 1999-10-15 Montenegro
G 21 Thomas, Matt (FA) 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1994-08-04 Iowa State
F/C 3 Thompson, Tristan (FA) 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 254 lb (115 kg) 1991-03-13 Texas
C 9 Vučević, Nikola 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 260 lb (118 kg) 1990-10-24 USC
G 0 White, Coby 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 195 lb (88 kg) 2000-02-16 North Carolina
F 44 Williams, Patrick 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 215 lb (98 kg) 2001-08-26 Florida State
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)
  • John Bryant
  • Maurice Cheeks
  • Damian Cotter
  • Chris Fleming
  • Josh Longstaff
  • Billy Schmidt

  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • (GL) On assignment to G League affiliate
  • (TW) Two-way affiliate player
  • Injured Injured

Last transaction: April 2, 2022

Retired numbers

Chicago Bulls retired numbers
No. Player Position Tenure
4 Jerry Sloan G 1966–1976
10 Bob Love F 1968–1976
23 Michael Jordan G 1984–1993
33 Scottie Pippen F 1987–1998

Recent NBA Draft selections

  • 2008 - Derrick Rose (Round 1, 1st pick)
  • 2006 - LaMarcus Aldridge (Round 1, 2nd pick) Rights traded to Portland Trail Blazers for the draft rights of Tyrus Thomas and Viktor Khryapa; Rodney Carney Round 1, 16th pick, traded to Philadelphia 76ers for rights to Thabo Sefolosha
  • 2004 - Ben Gordon (Round 1, 3rd pick)); Jackson Vroman (Round 2, 31st pick) Rights traded to Phoenix Suns for the draft rights to Luol Deng, (Round 1, 7th pick) a future first round draft pick, and cash; Chris Duhon (Round 2, 38th pick)
  • 2003 - Kirk Hinrich (Round 1, 7th pick); Mario Austin (Round 2, 36th pick); Matt Bonner (Round 2, 45th pick) Rights traded to Toronto for a 2004 2nd round pick; Tommy Smith (Round 2, 53rd pick)
  • 2002 - Jay Williams (Round 1, 2nd pick); Roger Mason, Jr. (Round 2, 32nd pick); Lonny Baxter (Round 2, 44th pick)
  • 2001 - Eddy Curry (Round 1, 4th pick); Trenton Hassell (Round 2, 30th pick); Sean Lampley (Round 2, 45th pick)
  • 2000 - Marcus Fizer (Round 1, 4th pick); Chris Mihm (Round 1, 7th pick) Rights traded to Clevland Cavaliers for the draft rights to Jamal Crawford (Round 1, 8th pick); Dalibor Bagaric (Round 1, 24th pick); A.J. Guyton (Round 2, 32rd pick); Jake Voskuhl (Round 2, 33th pick); Khalid El-Amin (Round 2 34th pick)
  • 1999 - Elton Brand (Round 1, 1st pick); Ron Artest (Round 1, 16th pick); Michael Ruffin (Round 2, 32nd pick); Lari Ketner (Round 2, 49th pick)
  • 1998 - Corey Benjamin (Round 1, 28th pick); Shammond Williams (Round 2, 34th pick); Maceo Baston (Round 2, 58th pick)

[1] [2]

Developmental League

The Bulls are represented in the NBADL by the Dakota Wizards.

Franchise Leaders

Statistic Total Player
Games Played 930 Michael Jordan
Minutes Played 35,887 Michael Jordan
Field Goals 10,962 Michael Jordan
Field Goal Attempts 21,686 Michael Jordan
Field Goal Percentage .587 Artis Gilmore
Three-point Field Goals 812 Kirk Hinrich
Three-point Field Goal Attempts 2,144 Kirk Hinrich
Three-point Field Goal Percentage .479 Steve Kerr
Free Throws 6,798 Michael Jordan
Free Throw Attempts 8,115 Michael Jordan
Free Throw Percentage .879 George Gervin
Offensive Rebounds 1,888 Horace Grant
Defensive Rebounds 4,289 Michael Jordan
Rebounds 5,836 Michael Jordan
Assists 5,012 Michael Jordan
Steals 2,306 Michael Jordan
Blocked Shots 1,029 Artis Gilmore
Turnovers 2,589 Michael Jordan
Personal Fouls 2,534 Scottie Pippen
Points 29,277 Michael Jordan


  • Michael Jordan - 1988, 1991, 1992, 1996, 1998 Most Valuable Player
  • Elton Brand - 2000 Co-Rookie of the Year
  • Michael Jordan - 1985 Rookie of the Year
  • Toni Kukoč - 1996 Sixth Man Award
  • Phil Jackson - 1996 Coach of the Year
  • Dick Motta - 1971 Coach of the Year
  • Johnny Kerr - 1967 Coach of the Year
  • Michael Jordan - 1988 Defensive Player of the Year
  • Ben Gordon - 2005 Sixth Man Award
  • Michael Jordan - 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998 Finals MVP
  • Michael Jordan - 1988, 1996, 1998 All-Star Game MVP
  • Scottie Pippen - 1994 All-Star Game MVP
  • Derrick Rose - 2009 Rookie of the Year
  • Derrick Rose - 2011 Most Valuable Player


  • Hold the best overall win-loss season record with 72-10 in 1996
  • Hold the record for most consecutive home games won (44 from 1994-95 through 1995-96)
  • Hold the record for the fewest points per game in a season after 1954-55 (81.9 in 1998-99)
  • Hold the record for the fewest points in a game after 1954-55 (49, April 10, 1999)
  • Share record for most players with 40 or more points in a game (Michael Jordan with 44 & Scottie Pippen with 40 on February 18, 1996 against the Indiana Pacers)
  • Share lowest free throw percentage by two teams in one game (.410 with the Los Angeles Lakers, February 7, 1968)
  • Share record for most personal fouls by two teams in one game (87 with the Portland Trail Blazers, March 16, 1984)
  • Michael Jordan, most points in a playoff game (63 against the Boston Celtics, April 20, 1986)
  • Michael Jordan, most consecutive playoff games with 20 or more points (60 from March 2, 1989 to May 11, 1993)
  • Michael Jordan, most free throws made in one quarter of a playoff game (13 against the Detroit Pistons, May 21, 1991)
  • Michael Jordan, most free throw attempts made in one quarter of a playoff game (13 against the Detroit Pistons, May 21, 1991)
  • Michael Jordan, most three-point field goals in one half of a playoff game (6 against the Portland Trail Blazers, June 3, 1992)
  • Shared record: Will Perdue for fewest minutes played by a disqualified player in a playoff game (7 against the New York Knicks, May 14, 1992)
  • Michael Jordan, most points in a three-game playoff series (135 against the Miami Heat in 1992)
  • Michael Jordan, most points in a five-game playoff series (226 against the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1988)
  • Michael Jordan, most field goals in a three-game playoff series (53 against the Miami Heat in 1992)
  • Michael Jordan, most field goals in a five-game playoff series (86 against the Philadelphia 76ers in 1990)
  • Michael Jordan, most field goals in a six-game playoff series (101 against the Phoenix Suns in 1993)
  • Shared record: Two teams with the fewest players to score more than ten points in a playoff game (4 with the Miami Heat, May 24, 1997)
  • Highest defensive rebound percentage in a playoff game (.952 against the Golden State Warriors on April 30, 1975)
  • Shared record: Highest free throw percentage by one team in a playoff game (1.000 against the Cleveland Cavaliers on May 19, 1992)
  • Ben Gordon, Most consecutive three pointers in a game (9)


  • The Bulls use the song On The Run by Pink Floyd when introducing the visiting team. For the home team introductions, the song Sirius by The Alan Parsons Project is played. Coincidentally, Alan Parsons was the engineer for the album The Dark Side of the Moon, which "On the Run" appears on.
  • The Bulls have a team rule that disallows its players to wear headbands during games—rare for an NBA team to have such a rule. [3]

See also

  • Bulls-Knicks Rivalry of the 1990s
  • Bulls-Heat Rivalry, current rivalry
  • Ray Clay, longtime public address announcer
  • Tom Dore, television play-by-play announcer
  • Johnny "Red" Kerr, television colorman
  • Wayne Larrivee, television play-by-play announcer
  • Neil Funk, radio play-by-play announcer
  • Benny the Bull, mascot
  • Luvabulls, Dance Team


  1., Chicago Bulls 1995-96 Game Log and Scores, accessed January 20, 2007
  2., Chicago Bulls 1996-97 Game Log and Scores, accessed January 16, 2007.

External links

Preceded by
Detroit Pistons
1989 & 1990
NBA Champions
Chicago Bulls

1991, 1992, & 1993
Succeeded by
Houston Rockets
1994 & 1995
Preceded by
Houston Rockets
1994 & 1995
NBA Champions
Chicago Bulls

1996, 1997, & 1998
Succeeded by
San Antonio Spurs


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