Chicago has always been one of the big cities when it comes to professional sports. It’s a city that has teams in the NFL, NHL, MLB, and of course the NBA. It’s fans have always been dedicated to their teams. But, I ask a question. Have the Chicago Bulls gone stale?
It’s no question that Chicago Bulls fans have been spoiled. The Michael Jordan teams that led to six NBA championships set a standard in this city for NBA basketball. So, it’s understandable when the excitement for this season’s team, which is mediocre at best, is down. The Bulls this season have struggled to even stay at .500. Percentages like that were unrealistic during the Michael Jordan era.
Is it really fair, however, to compare that team and this team? The Bulls in the 90s had Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, and more. Today we sit and talk about Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade. That’s quite a huge difference. There’s also no comparison between Fred Hoiberg and Phil Jackson back in the day. Phil Jackson’s triangle offense was unstoppable back in the 90s. Today, Fred Hoiberg is lucky if his players even listen to him.
Another thing that has changed, is that the Bulls used to have rivals. Was there a better feud than the Chicago Bulls versus the Utah Jazz? Or, even the Chicago Bulls versus the Phoenix Suns? The Bulls today have no rivals. Nobody gets excited when a certain team comes to town.
I think that the big thing that has changed between the NBA then in the NBA now is that now you have four or five teams that run the league. Back then almost every team was exciting to watch. Almost every team had star players on it. Almost every team was competitive. For example, the Utah Jazz had Karl Malone, John Stockton, and Jeff Hornacek. The Charlotte Hornets had Muggsy Bogues, Vlade Divac, and Glen Rice. The New York Knicks had Patrick Ewing, Allen Houston, and Larry Johnson. I could go on and on. The NBA Playoffs used to be a thing of beauty. Now, the NBA playoffs are very predictable and it’s almost a sure bet to pick the winner.
I don’t know if the NBA will ever get back to what it used to be. But I know that the Chicago Bulls need to get that spark back in this city. I know that the Chicago Bulls need to get back to being a staple of Chicago Sports. One way to make this happen, in my opinion, is to accept the fact that the team has gone stale. The first step in fixing a problem is admitting you have a problem. The Chicago Bulls would be wise to go the route of the Chicago White Sox and admit that it is time to go into a full rebuild. I don’t know that trading Jimmy Butler is the answer, but if you can get enough back and it puts you in a position to rebuild this team and get it back to where it used to be, it’s at least worth a look.
Will Chicago ever have a team like that which consisted of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Toni Kukoc, and Ron Harper? I think it’s fair to say no. But, what I do look forward to, is the Chicago Bulls rebuilding into a team that will leave a new Legacy of its own.