Michael Jordan is known as the Greatest Player of All Time due to his intense drive and competitive nature.
No Man Is an Island
In the entire history of the NBA, there hasn't been a single individual that won the NBA championship all by himself. Wilt Chamberlain needed Jerry West and Gail Goodrich. Magic Johnson had Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy, and Byron Scott. Larry Bird had Robert Parish, Kevin McHale, and Dennis Johnson.
The same is true with Michael Jordan. It took seven seasons before Michael tasted his first championship because he did not have the necessary supporting cast to ascend to the top of the NBA throne.
It was not until Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant emerged that Michael was finally able to capture the elusive championship crown. This shows the value of teammates in one's success. Here are five of the most famous of Michael Jordan's teammates. This list is just my opinion, but I am confident that any NBA fan who has followed MJ's career will agree that these teammates are the first to come to mind.
Five Most Famous NBA Stars Who Played With Michael Jordan
- Scottie Pippen
- Steve Kerr
- Dennis Rodman
- Toni Kukoc
- Horace Grant
1. Scottie Pippen
- Position: Small forward
- College: University of Central Arkansas
- Draft selection: 1987 draft; selected by the Seattle SuperSonics as the 5th overall pick in 1st round
- Years with Jordan: 1987–1993, 1995–1998
- Accolades: Six-time NBA champion, seven-time NBA All-Star, NBA All-Star game MVP
Scottie Pippen was the Robin to Michael Jordan's Batman. It is fortunate that Scottie never sought to supersede Michael. A lot of tandems in the NBA never work out because both men want to be the alpha dog. Shaq and Kobe failed because Kobe always thought he was better than Shaq. Durant and Westbrook fell apart because Russ felt he was the superstar.
Scottie competed with a 7' 3" wingspan, which is the same as Kawhi Leonard. The two have very similar games as both are lockdown defenders who usually guard the best player of the opposing team on a nightly basis. Both players use their enormous wingspan to disrupt the opposing teams' offense. They also use it for the occasional steal and block.
It was a nightmare for opposing teams to get the ball across the halfcourt with the Bull's lengthy trio of Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan, and Ron Harper. With each of them sporting an above-average wingspan, passes by opposing teams were easily deflected and it was hard to simply get the ball across.
Pippen was a true two-way player. In addition to being an efficient offensive player, he was a tremendous defensive player as well. Pippen was tasked to guard the best forwards and guards on a nightly basis. He was quick enough to defend speedy guards and was big enough to match up against opposing forwards.
One of Scottie's finest defensive moments was when he was tasked to slow down Magic Johnson in the 1991 NBA Finals. By that time, Magic already had five championships. He was the engine that ran the Showtime Lakers and he was a matchup nightmare. He was a point guard in a power forward's body. He also had a tremendous supporting cast in James Worthy, Mychal Thompson, Byron Scott, Sam Perkins, A.C. Green, Vlade Divac, and Elden Campbell. The Showtime Lakers were the most dominant team of the '80s with their five championships.
After successfully defeating "the old guard" Los Angeles Lakers, the young Bulls would win two more championships and would successfully complete a three-peat. Their second championship was won against Clyde Drexler and the Portland Trailblazers. Their third championship was won against Charles Barkley and the Phoenix Suns.
It was thought that Scottie was a mere beneficiary of Michael's greatness. Pippen, however, proved the detractors wrong in the 1993–94 season (when Jordan went into his first retirement) when he averaged 22 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 5.6 APG, 2.9 SPG, and 0.8 BPG. The Bulls were not the same without Jordan and they were eliminated by the New York Knicks in seven games. They still won 55 games that season, which was better than expected.
The next year, Michael Jordan rejoined the team at the tail end of the season. The Bulls made a late surge with Jordan back in the fold, but they ultimately fell to the upstart Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Semifinals in six games.
The next season was redemption time for the Bulls and they completed the first 70-win season in NBA history with a 72-10 record. It stood unchallenged for two decades before it was surpassed by the 73-9 Golden State Warriors in the 2015–16 season.
Alas, no dynasty lasts forever. Upon the breakup of the 1998 Bulls team, Pippen was shipped to the Houston Rockets. The trio of Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley, and Scottie Pippen was an awesome frontcourt. However, they were all past their prime. Furthermore, Pippen and Barkley did not get along at all, so after a year, Scottie was shipped to the Portland Trailblazers.
Where Is He Now?
The Chicago Bulls retired Pippen's jersey on December 9, 2005. He joins Jordan's 23, Bob Love's 10, and Jerry Sloan's 4 as the only numbers retired by the Bulls organization. He helped bring six championships to the organization and is serving as one of the Special Advisors to the President & COO along with Toni Kukoc and Horace Grant. In 2011, the Bulls unveiled a bronze statue of Pippen at their home venue, the United Center.
Pippen was a basketball analyst for ESPN and frequently a guest analyst for The Jump with Rachel Nichols. Rachel was a journalism student at Northwestern University and was doing work for the Washington Post at the time. She claims that Pippen was always very gracious and professional in dealing with her even though she was just a college student at that time. This was in stark contrast to how many athletes mistreat people in the media.
2. Steve Kerr
- Position: Point guard
- College: University of Arizona
- Draft selection: 1988 draft; selected by the Phoenix Suns as the 50th overall pick in the 2nd round
- Years with Jordan: 1995–1998
- Accolades: Five-time NBA champion as a player, three-time NBA champion as a coach
"Little Stevie Spot-up" is one of the most prolific three-point shooters of all time. While he has not chucked up the same volume as Ray Allen or Reggie Miller, he is the most accurate in NBA history with a shot percentage of .454. In his career, Steve has made 726 three-point field goals, which ranks him at 175th for the all-time record and ties him with John Salmons.
While Steve was not a superstar by any means, he was a sparkplug off the bench. He was an instant contributor on offense and could explode for a barrage of three-pointers at any given time. He also has ice water in his veins and is not afraid to take clutch shots. A testament to his nerves of steel is him making the game-winning shot in the dying moments of Game 6 of the 1997 NBA Finals. Others may break under the immense pressure, but not Steve.
After his stint in Chicago, Steve was a vital rotation player for the San Antonio Spurs where he was part of their 1999 championship squad. He and Derek Anderson were subsequently traded to the Portland Trailblazers for Steve Smith. There, he was reunited with his Chicago Bulls running mate Scottie Pippen. Together, they helped the Blazers muster 49 wins. They were, however, trounced in the first round of the playoffs by the Los Angeles Lakers.
Steve was traded back to the Spurs along with Erick Barkley and a 2003 2nd-round pick in exchange for Charles Smith, Amal McCaskill, and Antonio Daniels in the following season. The 2002–03 season was Steve Kerr's swansong. It was the end of the road for his playing career. He would, however, be rewarded with another championship. Steve was an assassin in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals and helped sink the Dallas Mavericks with four three-pointers in the second half. They subsequently vanquished the Jason Kidd-led New Jersey Nets and captured the crown.
Where Is He Now?
Steve has had stints as a broadcast analyst for TNT and as a consultant and general manager for the Phoenix Suns after retirement. He subsequently got a coaching stint with the Golden State Warriors on May 14, 2014. In his rookie season as a head coach, the Warriors were able to compile a 67-15 record and an NBA Championship. The next season, he guided the Warriors to a 73-9 record and helped them break the record of the Chicago Bulls team that he played in. In his third season, the Warriors likewise got a 67-15 record and a second championship.
He is currently regarded as one of the best coaches in the NBA along with Gregg Popovich and Brad Stevens. Steve has long since had his playing days behind him, but he still continues to chuck up three-pointers in practice against Steph Curry.
3. Dennis Rodman
- Position: Power forward
- College: Southeastern Oklahoma State University
- Draft: 1986 draft; selected by the Detroit Pistons as the 27th overall in the 2nd round
- Years with Jordan: 1995–1998
- Accolades: Five-time NBA champion, two-time NBA All-Star, 2011 Hall of Fame inductee
Dennis is perhaps one of the most notorious teammates Michael has ever been associated with. Dennis has a reputation on and off the court. While he is best known as a basketball star, he has also tried having a career as an actor, an author, and as a wrestler. In fact, he teamed up with Hulk Hogan in a tag team match against Diamond Dallas Page and Karl Malone.
He has also appeared in movies like Simon Sez, The Minis, and Double Team. Dennis and Michael were originally enemies as they were on opposing sides of the fierce Bulls-Pistons rivalry. Rodman actually guarded Jordan on several occasions and made sure to body-check him a lot.
The "Bad Boys" of Detroit made sure to physically abuse Jordan anytime they had the chance. This was not only applicable to Jordan; the rest of the Bulls were punished as well. The Pistons were like the bullies in the yard who would prey on the hapless Chicago Bulls. They would serve as a roadblock each year and would resoundingly eliminate the Bulls every time they met. When the Bulls finally clicked in 1991, they swept the Detroit Pistons and showed that there was a new beast in the east. This marked the end of the Piston's stranglehold on the Eastern Conference and the beginning of the Chicago Bull's ascent to NBA supremacy.
After Dennis' stint in Detroit, he would eventually be traded to the San Antonio Spurs where he would become more flamboyant than before. He started to color his hair and do all sorts of publicity stunts in the media. He also clashed with the front office and was suspended for several games. He had a brief fling with Madonna and became a distraction for the team. The Spurs finally had enough of Rodman's antics and traded him to the Chicago Bulls for Will Purdue. While this was not a good move for the Spurs in terms of talent, it was better for team chemistry. It proved to be one of the most beneficial trades for the Bulls in the Jordan era.
During his Chicago Bulls tenure, Rodman was one of the most prolific rebounders in the game. He led the league in rebounding average for all three years he was in Chicago. He was also a member of the New World Order faction in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) along with Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, and Kevin Nash. There was even an instance where Rodman tackled Malone to the ground to promote their upcoming pay-per-view match.
After the Bulls' run was over, Rodman played for the Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks. He was still a prolific rebounder but he still had an attitude problem. He later played overseas for Mexico, the United Kingdom, and Finland.
Dennis has translated his colorful life into books. Bad as I Wanna Be, Dennis the Wild Bull and I Should Be Dead By Now: The Wild Life and Crazy Times of the NBA's Greatest Rebounder of Modern Times are three of his most popular works.
Where Is He Now?
Dennis was last seen buddying up with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. Kim is an avid basketball fanatic and was excited to meet the basketball legend. Dennis called the younger Kim "a friend for life." Dennis was able to leverage his friendship with Kim in order to secure the release of American Kenneth Bae.
He has also had an exhibition game in North Korea along with retired NBA players such as Kenny Anderson, Cliff Robinson, Vin Baker, Craig Hodges, Doug Christie, Sleepy Floyd, and Charles D. Smith. Dennis has also been training some of North Korea's youth in basketball.
Rodman aims to use sports in order to bridge the gap between the US and North Korea. He has been to North Korea several times and has tried to promote a better understanding between the two countries.
4. Toni Kukoc
- Position: Small forward
- Draft: 1990 draft; selected by the Chicago Bulls as the 20th overall pick in the 2nd round
- Years with Jordan: 1995–1998
- Accolades: Three-time NBA champion
Toni was perhaps the greatest European player of his time. He was an amazing specimen who stood at nearly seven feet tall and had guard-like skills. He could handle the rock, shoot from mid-range and long-distance, and had excellent passing skills. He could basically play all five positions. During his time, not many big men in the NBA and overseas were as skilled as Toni. The Bulls nabbed Kukoc with the 29th pick in the 1990 NBA Draft. Though the Bulls knew that Toni might not come to the United States right away, he would still be able to develop overseas.
This is the draft and stash strategy made famous by the San Antonio Spurs. They would draft overseas players who were stars in their local league or national team. Then they would wait for them to develop as a player. Once they were primed and ready for the NBA, they would be called up and signed to a contract.
The Bulls were hoping that Toni would join the team soon to make an impact with Jordan. This finally materialized in 1993, but Jordan was gone by then. Kukoc was a welcome addition to the defending champs as the departure of Jordan left a huge void in the roster. Toni did a decent job of scoring off the bench with an average of 10.9 PPG. His other averages included a 4.0 RPG, 3.4 APG, and 1.1 SPG. However, Jordan left very big shoes to fill. Without MJ around to lead them, the Bulls got trounced by the rival New York Knicks in the second round of the NBA Playoffs.
With Jordan returning towards the end of the next season, Kukoc became a perennial Sixth Man of the Year contender. He did win the award once in 1996, but this did not discount the fact that Kukoc was invaluable to the Bulls. He was a player with a high basketball IQ who could play all five positions and could shoot from anywhere on the floor.
Upon the disbanding of the Bulls championship roster, Kukoc became the de facto leader of the squad for a season and a half. He was traded midway through the 1999-2000 season to the Philadelphia 76ers in a three-team trade. The Bulls got Bruce Bowen from Philadelphia as well as John Starks and a 2000 first-round draft pick from Golden State. The Bulls parlayed the pick into Chris Mihm.
Kukoc would spend a season and a half with the Allen Iverson-led Philadelphia squad. He would later be dealt with Theo Ratliff, Nazr Mohammed, and Pepe Sanchez in exchange for Dikembe Mutombo and Roshown McLeod. This was a blockbuster deal that the Sixers felt would take them over the hump. They got close as they were the runner-up in the 2001 NBA Finals.
Toni would have one and a half productive seasons in Atlanta before being traded to his final team, the Milwaukee Bucks. Toni, along with a package that included Leon Smith and a 2003 first-round selection (T.J. Ford), were traded for perennial All-Star Glenn "Big Dog" Robinson. While no longer the main player, Toni was a key reserve for Milwaukee for four seasons before retiring at the conclusion of the 2005–2006 season.
Where Is He Now?
Toni Kukoc started golfing in 1996 when he was still a member of the Chicago Bulls. Now that he is retired, he has all the time to play and watch the professionals play as well. He won Croatia's national amateur tournament in 2011. He spends his free time with his family. He currently lives in Highland Park with his wife Renata. He has two kids who are also athletes. His son Marin plays basketball and his daughter Stela plays volleyball.
Toni is a special consultant to the President and Chief Operating Officer of the Bulls, Michael Reinsdorf. Chicago hopes that Toni can help them scout and nurture internal players. Toni's connections to European basketball and legendary status would also help the Bulls immensely.
5. Horace Grant
- Position: Power forward
- College: Clemson University
- Draft: 1987 draft; selected by the Chicago Bulls as the 10th overall pick in the 1st round
- Years with Jordan: 1987–1993
- Accolades: Four-time NBA champion, NBA All-Star
Before the rebounding demon Dennis Rodman came along, there was the begoggled Horace Grant. Horace was a solid rebounder who frequently had his rebound numbers in the double digits. He also contributed to the Bulls' defense with a steal and a block per outing. Though relatively diminutive in stature compared to the big hulking centers of the '80s and '90s, Horace was never afraid to mix it up down low.
Basketball runs in the Grant family. After Horace was picked 10th overall in the 1987 draft, his twin brother Harvey was picked 12th the following year. Harvey was never a superstar, but he was a solid player for Washington and Portland. Harvey raised three basketball prodigies in Jerai, Jerami, and Jerian Grant. Jerai made his name overseas playing for Latvia, Italy, Australia, and Israel. Jerami was picked 39th overall in the 2014 draft and was a solid rotation player for the Philadelphia 76ers and Oklahoma City Thunder. Jerian was picked 19th overall in 2015 and served as a key reserve for the Knicks and Bulls.
Horace was a key cog in the first three-peat for the Bulls. His rebounding and defensive prowess would complement those of Jordan, Pippen, and Cartwright. Horace stayed on the team for a year after Michael Jordan left the team to play baseball. However, after being unceremoniously beaten by their Eastern Conference rival, the New York Knicks, Horace took his talents to Daytona Beach to join Shaq and Penny.
Jordan came back soon after Horace left. This re-energized the Bulls and they tried to recapture their crown from the Houston Rockets, who were beneficiaries of Jordan's absence. Ironically, it was Horace and the Magic who would eliminate the Bulls in the second round of the playoffs.
After the 1998–1999 season, Horace had a brief stint in Seattle before rejoining former coach Phil Jackson with the Lakers in the 2000–2001 season. It was here where Horace won his fourth championship. After winning another ring, Horace decided to rejoin the Magic. In his final year, he decided to rejoin the Lakers to help Kobe, Shaq, Payton, and Malone win a ring. They came up short, but this does not discount Horace's stellar career.
Where Is He Now?
Horace serves as a special advisor to the President and Chief Operating Officer of the Chicago Bulls, Michael Reinsdorf. Horace served for several years as one of the NBA's goodwill ambassadors and has helped pay it forward by setting up basketball clinics worldwide.
He also served as the coach of his daughter's basketball team. He also has served as a personal trainer to high school kids. It may not be long before an NBA coaching job is on his resume.
Who Were Michael Jordan's Best Teammates?
We've covered the most famous teammates of MJ, but who were his best on the court? There is some overlap, but some of his best teammates are not necessarily the most well-known among fans.
- Scottie Pippen: Pippen is synonymous with Jordan. He is the only individual to play alongside MJ for all six of his NBA championships. Pippin was always a strong contributor with a career average of 16.1 points per game. The defense of Jordan and Pippen was always a threat to the opposition.
- Dennis Rodman: The Worm helped Jordan win three of his championships in the late 90s. He was a huge asset to MJ, which is seen in his career rebound average of 13.1 per game.
- Horace Grant: Horace played a huge role in Chicago's first three-peat. He was a solid all-around player who was dependable on scoring, assists, blocks, and rebounds.
- John Paxson: Paxson was a longtime member of the Bulls and was part of the first three-peat. He is best remembered for his three-point shot that won Chicago the championship in 1993.
- B.J. Armstrong: B.J. was a dependable point guard for the five years he was on the Bulls. He was a valuable contributor to the three-peat in the early '90s as he averaged 11 points and three assists per game while playing with Jordan.
Who Were Michael Jordan's Teammates in the Finals?
The following is a list of every player who was on the Chicago Bulls from 1991–93 and 1996–98; these were the years they won a championship with Jordan.
- B.J Armstrong (91, 92, 93)
- Bill Cartwright (91, 92, 93)
- Horace Grant (91, 92, 93)
- Craig Hodges (91)
- Dennis Hopson (91)
- Stacey King (91, 92, 93)
- Cliff Levingston (91, 92)
- John Paxson (91, 92, 93)
- Will Perdue (91, 92, 93)
- Scottie Pippen (91, 92, 93, 96, 97, 98)
- Scott Williams (91, 92, 93)
- Bobby Hansen (92)
- Chuck Nevitt (92)
- Scott Randall (92)
- Rodney McCray (93)
- Ed Nealy (93)
- Trent Tucker (93)
- Darrell Walker (93)
- Corey Williams (93)
- Randy Brown (96, 97, 98)
- Jud Buechler (96, 97, 98)
- Jason Caffey (96, 97)
- James Edwards (96)
- Jack Haley (96)
- Ron Harper (96, 97, 98)
- Steve Kerr (96, 97, 98)
- Toni Kukoc (96, 97, 98)
- Luc Longley (96, 97, 98)
- Dennis Rodman (96, 97, 98)
- John Salley (96)
- Dickey Simpkins (96, 97, 98)
- Bill Wennington (96, 97, 98)
- Robert Parish (97)
- Brian Williams (97
- Keith Booth (98)
- Scott Burrell (98)
- Joe Kleine (98)
- Rusty LaRue (98)
Who Was in the Starting Lineup With Michael Jordan?
It goes without saying that Jordan was always in the starting five for his championship seasons in Chicago. Here are his teammates that were with him on the starting lineup. There may have been slight variations throughout a season, but these were the lineups that started the most games in a season.
- 1990–93: Bill Cartwright, Horace Grant, John Paxson, Scottie Pippen
- 1995–97: Ron Harper, Luc Longley, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman
- 1997–98: Ron Harper, Toni Kukoc, Luc Longley, Dennis Rodman
How Many Hall of Famers Did Michael Jordan Play With?
Out of six championship teams, two of MJ's teammates would go on to be inducted into the hall of fame. These players were Scottie Pippen, who was inducted in 2010, and Dennis Rodman, who was inducted in 2011. Pippen was actually a two-time inductee as he entered the hall of fame as an individual and as a member of the 1992 US Olympic team, the Dream Team.