5 Famous Michael Jordan Teammates
The 1991-1992 Chicago Bulls Championship Team
No Man is an Island
In the 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 as Jordan 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.
Scottie Pippen was the Robin to Michael Jordan's Batman. The fortunate thing though is that Scottie never sought to supersede Michael. A lot of tandems in the NBA never worked out because both wanted 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 has a 7'3" wingspan which is the same as Kawhi Leonard. The two have very similar games as both are lock down defenders who usually guard the best player of the opposing team on a nightly basis. Both players use their enormous wingspan to disrupt opposing teams' offenses. 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 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. He was not only an efficient offensive player but a tremendous defensive player as well. Scottie 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 5 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 80's with 5 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. The 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 when he averaged 22 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 5.6 APG and 2.9 SPG and .8 BPG. The Bulls were not the same without Jordan and were eliminated by the New York Knicks in seven games. They still won 55 games that season though and were better than expected.
The next year, Michael Jordan rejoined the team at the tailend of the season. The Bulls made a late surge with Jordan back in the fold but ultimately fell to the upstart Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Semifinals in 6 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 of the 2015-16 NBA Season.
Alas, no dynasty is forever and upon the breaup of the 1998 Bulls team, Pippen was shipped to the Houston Rockets. A trio of Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley and Scottie Pippen is an awesome front court. However, they were all past their prime. Furthermore, Pippen and Barkley did not get along at all so after a year rental, 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.
Scottie Pippen is a basketball analyst for ESPN and is frequently a guest analyst for The Jump with Rachel Nichols. Rachel was a journalism student in Northwestern 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 eventhough she was just a college student at that time. This was in stark contrast to how many athletes mistreat the people in the media.
Scottie Pippen Free Throw Line Dunk
"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 a Ray Allen or Reggie Miller, he is the most accurate in NBA history at a clip of .454. In his career, Steve has made 726 three-point field goals which ranks him at 175th all time and ties him with John Salmons.
While Steve was not a superstar by any means, he was a sparkplug off the bench. He is instant 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 will 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 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 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 pointersin 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 and remains the head coach until today. In his rookie season as a head coach, the Warriors were able to compile a 67-15 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 regarded as one of the best coaches in the current 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.
Steve Kerr Clinches the Bull's Fifth Champsionship!
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 Dennis is best known as a basketball star, he has also tried his hand as an actor, as an author and as a wrestler.He in fact teamed up with Hulk Hogan in a tag team match against Diamond Dallas Page and Karl Malone.
He has also appeared in such movies as Simon Sez, The Minis and Double Team Dennis and Michael were originally enemies and were part of the fierce Bulls-Pistons rivalry. Rodman in fact 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 but the rest of the Bulls 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, they swept the Detroit Pistons and 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 clash with the front office and was suspended 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 is not a good move for the Spurs in terms of talent, it is better for their chemistry.
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 had some attitude problem issues. 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 has 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. To add to this, 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 by the two countries.
Dennis Rodman and Hulk Hogan versus Karl Malone and Diamond Dallas Page
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 this 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 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 draft overseas players who are stars in their local league or who are national players for the country. Then they just wait for them to develop in the local leagues. Once they are primed and ready for the NBA, they call them up and sign them to a contract.
The Bulls were hoping that Toni would join the team soon to join Jordan and . This finally materialized in 1993 but by then Jordan was gone. Kukoc was a welcome addition to the defending champs as the departure of Michael Jordan left a huge void in the roster. Toni did a decent job scoring off the bench with a 10.9 PPG clip. He even chipped in 4.0 RPG, 3.4 APG and 1.1 SPG but Jordan left big shoes to fill. Without Jordan to lead them, the Bulls got trounced by 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 in the floor.
Upon the disbanding of the Bulls championship roster, Kukoc became the defacto 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 and 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 were close though as they were runners-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 a 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 spends his free time with his family. He currently lives in Highland Park with his wife Renata and has two kids who are also athletes. His son Marin plays basketball and his daughter Stela plays volleyball.
Toni also 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 help the Bulls immensely.
Toni Kukoc Inducted Into the FIBA Hall of Fame
Before there was rebounding demon Dennis Rodman, there was the begoggled Horace Grant. Horace was a solid rebounder who either average double digit rebounds or was at least close to that. 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 80's and 90's, Horace is 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 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 Bulls. His rebounding and defensive prowess would complement those of Jordan, Pippen and Cartwright. Horace stayed around the team a year after Michael Jordan left the team to play baseball. However, after being unceremoniously beaten by 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 eclipse the Bulls who would eclipse Jordan and the Bulls in the second round.
After the 1998-1999 season, Horace had a brief stint in Seattle before rejoining former coach Phil Jackson in the 2000-2001 season and winning his 4th championship. After winning another ring, Horace decided to rejoin the Magic. In his final year, Horace decided to rejoin the Lakers to help Kobe, Shaq, Payton and Malone win a ring. They came up short ultimately, but this does not discount Horace's stellar career.
Where is He Now?
Horace serves as a special advisor to President and Chief Operating Officer Michael Reinsdorf. Horace served for several years as one of the NBA's goodwill ambassadors and has helped pay if 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 and an NBA coaching job may be on his horizon.
Horace Grant versus John Starks
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