The one and only @stickity13 took to Instagram Thursday afternoon to post a picture of three friends hanging out.
The three friends all just so happened to be former Bulls players: Ben Gordon, Luol Deng, and of course, Joakim Noah.
It’s crazy sometimes how you can see a picture and it instantly brings back memories.
When I saw this photo of the three, all I could think of was all the great moments of past Bulls’ seasons. These guys brought the Bulls back after the Jordan era and they will always be remembered by Bulls’ fans.
They’ve produced so many moments throughout the past decade or so that I wanted to reminisce on some of them.
For example: Ben Gordon becoming the only rookie ever to win the 6th man of the year award, Luol Deng’s steal that led to Derrick Rose’s game-winning shot against the Lakers on Christmas Day, and Joakim Noah doing this:
So many great memories, but I’m going to try and pick out each player’s best moment while they were on the Bulls.
Ben Gordon: 2009 NBA Playoffs, Game 2 at Boston
I’ve rewatched this highlight reel over 10 times and I still can’t believe some of the shots he was making. This man had 42 points, 1 rebound, and ZERO assists. He shot the ball 24 times that game while making 14 of them including 6 from three. Ben Gordon seriously woke up that day and was like you know what: “Today is strictly about buckets”. That has to be the most Ben Gordon stat-line in the history of Ben Gordon stat-lines.
But it was also Ben Gordon’s greatest game as a Bull. He went toe to toe against Ray Allen in the 4th. This one was pretty easy. Shoutout to Ben Gordon.
Also, quick side note: This series was ridiculous.
Check this out: Four different games went to OT, (NBA record) Derrick Rose scored 36 points in his rookie debut (tied an NBA record), and between Games 4-6 there were SIX overtimes played (not sure if that’s an NBA record but I feel like it has to be).
Luol Deng: All of the 2011-2012 NBA Season
This one is kinda cheating because I used the whole season as his best moment. But it really was. And if anyone deserves a whole season to be their best moment, it’s Luol Deng. I’m pretty sure he played every single minute of every single game for the Bulls that year. He led the league in minutes per game that year with 39.2. To be honest, I’m not sure how he can even walk because he averaged 37.9 minutes per game in 2009-10, 39.1 minutes per game in 2010-11, 39.2 minutes per game in 2011-12, 38.7 minutes per game in 2012-13, and 37.2 minutes per game in 2013-14. That’s an insane 5-year run (no pun intended). I’m tired just typing that sentence.
The 2011-12 season was, in my opinion, Luol’s best as a Bull. It was the first time he was named an All-Star and he was named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team that year too. He was also one of the few, if not the only, player who could “cover” LeBron James. He did about as good a job as you can expect a player to guard a 6’8″ human battleship. Shoutout to Luol Deng.
(I also remember watching Luol play that year and I told my friend that the Bulls would retire his jersey if he remained with the Bulls his entire career. I still stand by that statement.)
Joakim Noah: 2013 NBA Playoffs, Game 7 at Brooklyn
I could have easily made this whole article about Joakim Noah. He has countless, and I mean countless great moments during his time with the Bulls. He was a huge role model off the court, and he’s in my top 5 of favorite Bulls players ever.
But my favorite Joakim Noah moment is his performance in Game 7 on the road in Brooklyn. No other game stands out quite like this one. This game was the epitome of who Joakim Noah was a basketball player. The passion and will to win that he showed in this game was crazy.
He finished with 24 points, 16 rebounds, and 6 blocks. He was playing with plantar fasciitis in his right foot. I, personally, see the light at the end of the tunnel whenever I stub my toe on something so I can’t even imagine what “playing with needles underneath your foot” would feel like.
This game was all about Joakim and his will to win. There is no reason the Bulls should have won that game, nor that series, with them being out 2 starters, and a recovering Derrick Rose. Shoutout to Joakim Noah.
(My other two favorite moments of Noah’s time with the Bulls was when he called out Cleveland, for being Cleveland and when he broke the world record for the most f**k you’s in a 10 second span in Sacramento).
Wanna talk Bulls? Tweet me @jdez_xo.
(Photos via Getty Images, USA Today: Debby Wong, and AP: Carlos Osorio)