Hall of Fame run lifts Bulls’ visibility
BY LACY J. BANKS firstname.lastname@example.org August 14, 2011 12:00AM
Scottie Pippen (left) congratulates former Bulls teammate Dennis Rodman at the Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremonies Friday. | Jim Rogash~Getty Images
Updated: October 19, 2011 2:56AM
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The Bulls’ recent
Friday when five men with
connections to the team were honored at enshrinement
ceremonies for the Naismith
Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Of course, you remember how successful the 2010-11 regular season was. Point guard Derrick Rose was an All-Star starter and was voted the NBA’s most valuable player. Tom Thibodeau was voted coach of the year and general manager Gar Forman co-executive of the year after the Bulls finished with a league-best 62-20 record, their best since they won their sixth championship in 1998.
Then Friday, former players Dennis Rodman and Artis Gilmore and former assistant coach Tex Winter were inducted into the Hall of Fame. In addition, former Bulls publicist Brian McIntyre was honored with the John Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award and former Bulls play-by-play announcer Jim Durham shared the Curt Gowdy Media Award with former Sports Illustrated writer Alexander Wolff.
All in all, was this the best non-championship season in Bulls history?
‘‘Yes,’’ chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said. ‘‘I am tremendously proud of all the former Bulls. It is a wonderful feeling to see so many honored at the same time. It is also great for our fans, who supported these men throughout their careers.’’
Hall president John Doleva said he couldn’t remember the last time so many people with ties to one team were honored.
‘‘What is especially impressive is that these awards were given for three different categories,’’ he said.
Durham, who worked for the Bulls for 19 seasons, appreciated the fact that the team has been on a Hall of Fame roll in recent years.
‘‘It’s been raining Hall of Famers for the Bulls lately,’’ Durham said. ‘‘I’m just proud to be a part of all this. It says something about how great an organization the Bulls have been.’’
Phil Jackson, who coached the Bulls to six championships and the Los Angeles Lakers to five more, was inducted as a coach in 2007. Michael Jordan, a 10-time NBA scoring champion, five-time regular-season MVP and six-time Finals MVP, was inducted in 2009. In the same year, the late Johnny ‘‘Red’’ Kerr, a former Bulls coach before becoming an analyst on their TV broadcasts, was honored with the Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award. Scottie Pippen, a seven-time All-Star, was inducted into the Hall in 2010.
This windfall is no real surprise. The Bulls’ six championships rank third in NBA history behind the Boston Celtics’ 17 and the Lakers’ 16.
‘‘Now the Bulls’ big five are in the Hall of Fame, where they belong,’’ said Rodman, who won two championships with the Detroit Pistons and three with the Bulls. ‘‘There’s me, Phil, Michael, Tex and Scottie. This is a franchise coming into its own.
‘‘Of all the teams I played with, the Bulls allowed me to really be myself as an individual and as a player.’’
For better and worse, obviously.
Now the Bulls are hoping Rose will lead them to another golden era.