Bulls Franchise Part 4

Bulls Franchise Part 4

Following the 1992-1993 NBA season, the NBA offseason portrayed many surprises and devastating trades, one being the talk of Michael Jordan’s retirement to play baseball. The Bulls general manager Jerry Krause was bewildered as to why Jordan had been looking to make this decision after only playing in the NBA for 9 years. While the offseason continued, Jordan announced that he would retire in October. This left the Chicago Bulls and the whole entire NBA going in circles about why. Jordan had been dominating in the NBA for his whole career. He had 3 MVPs, 3 championships, 3 finals MVPs, and already 7 scoring titles. Jordan was playing his best basketball which is why there was so much confusion on why he was retiring to play baseball.

During July, Jordan had been taking his time off and putting the basketball down for a little bit. The constant physical demand the game had exhausted him, and he wanted nothing more than a little bit of time to relax. That is until Jordan’s dad went missing a week later. Nobody could find him, his car, or any signs of where he could have been. It had been a whole entire 18 days before police and investigators found James R. Jordan Sr.’s body in a swamp with gunshot wounds all over his body. The investigators had later reported that Jordan Sr. had fallen asleep in his car at a highway restop until a group of guys broke into his car, shot him, took all of his stuff, and then threw his body in a nearby swamp to get rid of any evidence. When Jordan found out about this it immediately put him into a mental collapse. Jordan’s biggest role model was his father, and it always had been. With Jordan in this mental state, he decided that he wanted to retire from basketball and play baseball instead because it had been his fathers dream for him to play baseball professionally. A couple months later on October 6, 1993, Michael Jordan announced his retirement from the game of basketball. 

At the start of the 1993-94 NBA basketball season the Chicago Bulls had still been recovering from Jordan’s retirement, and looked to fill in that spot. Not only had Jordan been the Bull’s go to man for the past decade, but he had also been the leader of this Bulls team. The Bulls started to look more to Jordan’s sidekick, Scottie Pippen, to be their go to man for the year. Pippen wasn’t Jordan, but he was a very reliable player who had been with the Bulls for a couple of years now. Chicago also had returning players in Horace Grant and John Paxson as well as their new draft pick out of Europe, Toni Kukoc. Toni Kukoc was a high prospect and the Bulls were very fortunate to have drafted him. 

The 1993-94 went very well for the Bulls. Pippen, Kukoc, and John Paxson all filled in for Jordan, and the Bulls finished with a 55-27 record and 3rd in the East. In the first round of the playoffs, they matched up with a weak Cavaliers team. They swept them in 3 games, and moved on to face a much tougher New York Knicks team. In previous years, the Bulls have had their trouble with the Knicks and now without Jordan, the Knicks looked to take complete control this time around. The Knicks would win games 1 and 2 easy, with Patrick Ewing and John Starks both leading the way for the Knicks. The Bulls would come back and win game 3 and 4 at home, but then lost game 5. The Knicks led the series 3-2 and it seemed like there was little hope left for this Bulls team. At the start of game 6, the Knicks carried all of their momentum from the previous win and used it in game 6. The Bulls fought back hard and played very well together as a team. They ended up winning game 6, but they knew there was almost no chance they won game 7 in Madison Square Garden. The Bulls were exhausted. The Knicks appeared to be the better team and showed that they were. Ewing dominated the Bulls and they had no answer all night. The Knicks would win game 7 and move onto the Eastern Conference Finals. 

With this loss the Bulls were unable to keep their streak going and came up empty handed. Even with the great roster they had they knew they were missing a piece. That piece was Michael Jordan. It was hard to play without him because of the great leadership qualities he showed as well as the exceptional offensive performances he had night in and night out. The Bulls knew that without him, it would be very hard for them to get back to the Championship.