The Chicago Bulls were one of the best basketball teams during the 1990s. The team won a total of six championships in eight years, winning three straight on two occasions. With the 1997-98 season called the “Last Dance,” everyone knew the team would break up after that.
Going into the 1998-99 season, the Bulls were going into the rebuilding stage, which had a huge impact. The Bulls finished with one of the worst records in the NBA that year.
A look back at the 1997-98 season
Going into that season, the Bulls already knew what was going to happen at the end of the season. There was no surprise to it that the team would split up. So, the team’s mission was to go out on top, and they made sure that they did just that.
The Bulls had already won a total of five championships going into that season, and they won the last two. The team looked to win a third straight title for the second time. The Bulls dominated once again in the regular season and was the top team in the Eastern Conference yet again. At the end of the regular season, they finished with a 62-20 record.
Going into the playoffs, the Bulls were favorites to make it back to the NBA finals. They faced a tough test in the Eastern Conference Finals going up against the Indiana Pacers. The Bulls needed all seven games to beat the Pacers in a classic matchup. The Bulls got ready to take on the Utah Jazz with a team of players who were exhausted and beaten up.
Michael Jordan gave it all he had in the finals, even playing an entire game with food poisoning. Nothing was going to stop him and his teammates from winning another title. Scottie Pippen played Game 6 with an aggravated back, which affected his play a lot. He was in a lot of pain, but he still decided to finish the game out, and the Bulls ended up winning that game, which gave the organization six overall championships.
The end of a dynasty
After that 1997-98 season ended, the Bulls started to face reality. Phil Jackson, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Steve Kerr, Jud Buechler, and Luc Longley. You had the head coach, two of the team’s best players, and a host of role players now gone. When you have a team that has that much success, you never want to see them break up like that. They want to be knocked off the throne by someone else. The Bulls could have won more titles if the organization could have found a way to keep the team together.
Now in professional sports, money plays a significant factor, and that’s what ultimately broke the team up. The Bulls would not have enough money to afford all the players going into the 1998-99 season. The general manager (Jerry Krause) and the owner (Jerry Reinsdorf) did not want to bring the team back because of the team’s payroll.
The 1998-99 Chicago Bulls
Going into the new season, it was a different atmosphere for the Bulls. The best player on the team was Tony Kukoc. With new players and a new head coach, the Bulls finished 13-37. A lot of people around the league predicted that the Bulls weren’t going to have the same success they had in previous seasons.
At times, rebuilding can be a lot. That’s what Chicago was going through, and it was apparent. All good things have to come to an end sometimes, and that’s what happened with the Bulls. The last time the Bulls played in a championship was in 1998. Though they aren’t considered one of the top teams in the league now, they had their years when they were on top of the basketball world.