(Photo: Jack Smith, AP)
When you finish the last danceOne of the burning questions remaining is whether or not the Chicago Bulls should win their seventh title. Jerry Krause, who was the general manager of the Bulls during their dominant career, created a lot of tension between the players and the front office, especially during their last year together. What created a lot of tension was the fact that all the players knew that the 1997-98 season would be the last year they would be together. If you watched the 10-part documentary from ESPN, you’ll know that the name “The Last Dance” comes from the nickname given by the head coach. Phil Jackson Gave this season.
They knew this would be their last time together because of Krause and his desire to start the rebuilding process. Michael JordanAnd the Scottie Pippin, and Phil Jackson would have preferred to give it back after they won their sixth title. If it was up to them, they would have all gone back and chased after the seventh title.
While every dynasty has to come to an end and front offices need to think ahead, oddly enough, Krause was very quick to shut the door in a race for a seventh title. Hell, Krause told Jackson before the season started that he could go 82-0 and still wouldn’t come back. No matter how successful the 1997-1998 season was, it was destined to be the last engagements of Phil Jackson, Michael Jordan, and Scottie Pippen together.
What makes it weird is the fact that the bulls are still kicking butt. It was only two seasons that were left out of the historic 72-10 season. While there were some signs of slowing down a bit, they were still the best team in the NBA. We’ve often seen players choose to walk away on their own when they’re at their peak, but it’s different for any organization to do so. Especially when that organization has historically not been very good.
Before Michael Jordan came on the scene, the Bulls weren’t a very good team. They were average to bad. They were the least popular team in Chicago and there was little fanfare around them. Jordan’s arrival changed that, turning it into a franchise that is mentioned in the same sentence as the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics. For them, they think that it is absolutely wonderful to finish Jordan’s race prematurely was absurd, and to this day it has been proven wrong.
Since Jordan’s retirement, the Bulls haven’t come close to sniffing another NBA championship. The Derek rose The era was a little exciting, but fleeting. The Bulls are back as a bad franchise and there is no sign of them changing course any time soon.
Back in the 1997-98 season, considering the success they had, the Bulls had to at least remain open to the possibility of going with Phil and the gang. When you have such a good thing, why not throw it out and see how far that wave can take you?
What makes it even more difficult to justify the early disassembly is the fact that the 1998-99 season was a closed year with only 50 regular season games played. Jordan and Pippen could have had some extra time to rest, and that may have made the difference in their pursuit of a seventh title. Furthermore, the eighth seed New York Knicks won the Eastern Conference title. It’s hard to believe that Jordan and Pippen won’t get rid of them so easily. As for who they would meet in the NBA Finals, the San Antonio Spurs proved to be a great breed in their own right, but at the time, they were kind of the new kids in the neighborhood. Tim Duncan lead the way. In hindsight, one would have to choose the veteran Bulls to snatch one spur, giving Jordan seven rings and Duncan four.
Now, I don’t think the Bulls would have won an eighth title had he come back in the 1999-2000 season given the appearances of the Shaq and Kobe Lakers. The Bulls didn’t have an answer for Shaq inside, and with more miles on them, it’s fair to wonder if this series will even be a big fight. Still, it’s fun to think of Jordan’s Bulls taking on Shaq and the Kobe Lakers. I mean, if the Bulls really won, that would have put the Jordan/Kobe debates to rest, right?
To end all of this, I think the Chicago Bulls obviously should have grabbed their seventh title. They had the greatest player ever, perhaps the greatest coach ever, and they could have had a shorter season to give them the advantage. Maybe all things happen for a reason and the right things ended the way they did, but even so, it looks like this team had another dance.