Finally, I have been granted permission by Bossman-in-Chief to write an article about basketball. All it has taken is years of my whining, begging and a 20 million dollar documentary about the career of surely the most iconic sports figure of all time, no, I’m not talking about Dean Windass, I am of course talking about his Airness, Michael Jordan.
Words by Brickcellphone
If you haven’t seen it yet, ‘The Last Dance’ is the new ESPN/Netflix documentary charting the rise of the 1990’s Chicago Bulls. Led by Michael Jordan, the team won six championships in eight years to become perhaps one of the most notable dynasties in sports history. The documentary was originally supposed to be released in June of this year, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent cancellation of pretty much all sports worldwide, the Gods decided to do us all a big favour and push the release date forward.
As a massive Basketball fan, this documentary excites me enormously and in honour of it finally being aired and hopefully inspiring more love for the sport, I have decided to compile some of my personal favourite highlights from a Bulls team. Now, this by no stretch of the imagination was an easy task. The MJ-led Bulls are often cited as probably the greatest sports team in history – but there are other Bulls players which hopefully you’ll learn about in this comprehensive round-up of highlights.
#10 Michael’s famous “Flu Game” vs. Utah Jazz (1997)
Yes, it’s basically as it sounds. This occurred in a pivotal game five versus a talented Utah Jazz team. The series was tied 2-2 and Michael scored a whopping 38pts as he staggered around, dehydrated, and suffering from serious flu symptoms, adding to the Bulls star’s legend as a clutch performer and relentless competitor.
It was “Probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever done,” Jordan said afterward. “I almost played myself into passing out just to win a basketball game.”
#9 Tyrus Thomas blocks Chris Bosh then hammers it down (2009)
Tyrus had an eight-year career in the NBA, four of them he spent playing for a relatively average Chicago Bulls team. Here, we see him with the hard block from behind on Chris Bosh followed by a very serious dunk in the face of Jermaine O’Neal. He got traded from the Chicago Bulls after this and spent the rest of his career between Charlotte Bobcats, Memphis Grizzlies, and German club Eisbären Bremerhaven.
#8 Derrick Rose buzzer-beater vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (2015)
D Rose’s NBA story isn’t as fruitful as it perhaps should’ve been. Rose suffered a torn ACL in his left knee in the opener of the 2012 playoffs. He missed the entire 2012-13 season, only to return and play 10 games before tearing the meniscus in his right knee in November 2013. Since then he has had two additional knee surgeries, which as you can imagine, affected his playing ability quite dramatically, he also suffered significant psychological trauma from this ordeal. This shot was from 2015 though, so as you can see he was still quite the player. He’s still in the league and currently plays for the Detroit Pistons.
#7 Nate Robinson blocks Yao Ming (2006)
This is one of the shortest players in the league, ever – blocking one of the tallest players in the league, ever. Nate Robinson is listed as being 5ft8 and Yao Ming is listed at 7ft6. That’s just under two-foot difference in height. Nate Robinson is definitely one of my favourite players of all time, he honestly has so many highlights, him dunking over Dwight Howard, him blocking Lebron James, he even dunked on Shaquille O’Neal. So, yeah, Nate Robinson is proof that height doesn’t matter!
#6 Tony Kukoč game-winner vs. Indiana Pacers (1994)
Tony Kukoč is a 6ft11 Croatian gentleman who is often cited as one of the first established European stars to enter the league. Before entering the league, however, Kukoč was quite the table tennis player, apparently… Who’d have thought it? Anyway, from this highlight you can imagine how disgruntled Reggie Miller would’ve been after this bucket went down. Celebrating early is a dangerous game as I’m sure he found out after this. It’s an amazing shot anyway, catch a shoot with 0.8 seconds left on the clock.
#5 Derrick Rose dunks on Goran Dragic (2010)
“WOW. STOP IT, STOP IT, DO NOT DO HIM LIKE THAT, WHAT ARE YOU DOING DRAGIC? DID YOU NOT GET THE MEMO, DERRICK ROSE CAN GO UPSTAIRS!!!! WOOOOOOOOO!!! OH MY GOODNESS! WATCH THIS!!!! I WANNA GO HIGHER!!!! OH MY GOODNESS!!! DRAGIC!! SOMEBODY GRAB DRAGIC’S ASS. DO YOU KNOW WHO THIS KID IS? HE’S FROM CHICAGO, HE HAS A 40 INCH VERTICAL!” The commentary basically says it all. You have now entered the top five. Welcome.
#4 Slam Dunk Contest – Michael Jordan vs. Dominique Wilkins (1988)
This is probably MJ’s most iconic dunk of all time, the free-throw line dunk. Apparently, he hadn’t even planned to do it during this competition, but as the Hawks big man, Dominique Wilkins, had proved to be quite the contender – forcing MJ to bring out the big guns causing total annihilation of Dominique in front of a Chicago crowd.
#3 Scottie Pippen dunks on Patrick Ewing, then taunts Spike Lee (1994)
This one is actually too much. The disrespect. He made Patrick Ewing, the 7ft – 255lb giant of a man look like a tiny man-baby. Nothing is more disrespectful than stepping over someone (shout out Allen Iverson) and Scottie takes that to a new level. He then proceeds to taunt Spike Lee, the film director, producer, writer, actor, professor, and long term Knicks fan. The beef was very real back then.
#2 Michael Jordan 63pts vs. Boston – Playoff Career High (1986)
This remains to this day, the most points scored in a playoff game. Unfortunately, it was all for nothing as they actually went on to lose this game. Still an amazing achievement for MJ, this was still early in his career when he hadn’t gained that much Playoff experience. I love these old crusty highlights from the 80s, feels nostalgic even though I hadn’t yet been conceived.
#1 Jordan’s iconic final shot in a Bulls uniform (1998)
This one explains itself.