Ranking the greatest Chicago Bulls of all time
No NBA franchise was more dominant in the 1990s than the Chicago Bulls. Chicago won six championships, including a pair of three-peats, thanks to the dazzling brilliance of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.
And while both men are deserving of their place in basketball's pantheon, they aren't the only Bulls who merit a shoutout. Here are the five greatest players in franchise history.
5. Artis Gilmore
Accolades: Hall of Fame, 11x All-Star, 5x All-Defensive Team, 1x MVP
Artis Gilmore is a bit of a forgotten name in the hall of great centers, but he was a powerhouse during his time with the Chicago Bulls. After being a five-time All-ABA player, he joined the NBA and spent six years in Chicago before spending another five in San Antonio.
For his career, he averaged 18.8 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game, and was an 11-time All-Star. Gilmore never enjoyed postseason success in Chicago but his ability to average a double-double and perform at an All-Star level for over a decade are enough for him to garner a spot on this list.
4. Derrick Rose
Position: Point guard
Accolades: 3x All-Star, Rookie of the Year, 1x MVP
Derrick Rose entered the NBA as a phenom out of the University of Memphis, leading his team to the college national championship before joining the Chicago Bulls and winning Rookie of the Year.
Rose’s career looked to be on track for an even brighter future as he captured the 2011 MVP award by averaging 25 points and 7.7 assists per game. However, after injuring his ACL midway through his fourth season, he would never again achieve the same level of play, and became a high-level journeyman.
While Rose’s career has not turned out the way many would have expected, the first three and a half years of his career were filled with excitement, grit, and MVP-quality basketball. He will always be a "what if" player due to the altered trajectory caused by his injury.
3. Dennis Rodman
Position: Power forward
Accolades: Hall of Fame, 2x All-Star, 8x All-Defensive Team, 2x Defensive Player of the Year, 7x rebounding champion, 5x NBA Champion
Dennis Rodman is one of the most polarizing figures in modern American sports history. He was a wildcard, and the kind of wildcard you wanted on your side. He out-hustled everyone, leading to his seven rebounding titles as a 6'7" forward. He was also an absolute magnet on defense, eight times being named to the All-Defensive team.
While the great Chicago Bulls teams of the 1990s had the next two names on this list, it is debatable whether they would have enjoyed the same level of dominance without Rodman putting in the dirty work. He will be forever underrated due to his antics both on and off the court, but at his best, Rodman was simply incredible.
2. Scottie Pippen
Position: Small forward
Accolades: Hall of Fame, 7x All-Star, 7x All-NBA, 6x NBA Champion, 10x All-Defensive Team
Scottie Pippen has been named to every Top 50 All-Time NBA in print, and for good reason. He was arguably the best defensive small forward of all time, consistently pairing up against the opposing team’s best offensive player and shutting them down.
Pippen was a do-everything compliment to Michael Jordan who likely could have led a team of his own with the tremendous talent he possessed. Playing 12 years for the Bulls, he averaged 17.7 points and 2.1 steals per game over that span.
1. Michael Jordan
Position: Shooting guard
Accolades: Hall of Fame, 14x All-Star, 10x scoring champion, 9x All-Defensive Team, 5x MVP, 6x Finals MVP, 6x NBA champion
The greatest Chicago Bulls player of all-time also happens to be the greatest basketball player of all-time, and arguably the greatest athlete ever. As highly decorated as any player in NBA history, Jordan’s career is well-known and well-analyzed, and memories of his brilliance on the court elicit excitement, reverence, and admiration still to this day.
Swing by your local bar and ask anybody with eyes on a basketball game to compare Jordan to LeBron James, and you’re likely to spark an hours-long conversation full of passion. Jordan was the greatest of all time, the most intense competitor we’ve had the opportunity to witness, and the pride of the Chicago Bulls franchise.