The Chicago Bulls overview is one of the most iconic basketball teams in history. They’ve won six NBA championships and have had some of the greatest players to play. If you’re a Bulls fan, you know about their storied past. But what about the present? What are the Bulls doing now to try and win another championship? Let’s take a look.
Name, Logo, And Uniforms
Dick Klein desired a moniker that referenced Chicago’s old meat packing business (akin to the predecessor Packers organization) as well as the location of the Chicago Stadium to the Union Stock Yards.
Klein considered names like Matadors or Toreadors but rejected them, stating, “If you think about it, no team with as much as three syllables in its moniker has ever had any success save the [Montreal Canadiens].” When considering potential names with his family, Klein chose Bulls after his son Mark exclaimed, “Dad, that’s a load of bull!”
The Bulls are notable for using the same logo with little variation since the team’s beginnings. The emblem depicts a crimson, charging Bull’s face. Dean P. Wessel, a well-known American graphic designer, created the logo, which was accepted in 1966. During the early 1970s, the Bulls also had an alternate logo that included the identical Bulls emblem but with a cloud that said “Windy City” beneath the Bull’s nose.
Uniforms from 1966-1973
The Bulls now wear three distinct uniforms: one white, one red, and one alternative black uniform. The initial jerseys were similar to what the Bulls wear now in terms of aesthetics, with the famous diamond encircling the Bulls emblem on the shorts and block text. The original uniforms were distinguishable by black drop shadows, red or white side stripes with black borders and white writing on red uniforms. The city name was added to the red jerseys for the 1969-70 season.
Uniforms from 1973-1985
The Bulls radically updated their style for the 1973-74 season, eliminating the side stripes and drop shadows and shifting the front numbers to the left chest. While the “Bulls” wordmark was changed from vertically to radially arched on the white jerseys, the red uniforms received a more major makeover, with black writing and a script “Chicago” wordmark. These outfits were worn until 1985, with minor changes to the lettering.
This uniform set was brought back as a throwback outfit for the 2003-04 and 2015-16 seasons.
The Bulls’ outfit was modified beginning with the 1985-86 season. The more noticeable visual alterations were centered on uniform numbers and a vertically arched “Bulls” wordmark in both red and white outfits. This jersey, like the previous one, saw a few changes, most notably in handling the player’s name.
When Nike took over as the NBA’s uniform provider in 2017, the Bulls retained much of the same style, except for the shorter shoulder striping and the inclusion of the Chicago four stars on the waistband. With Nike and the NBA removing home and away uniform designations, the Bulls declared that their red “Icon” uniforms would become home uniforms, and their white “Association” jerseys would become away uniforms.
The Bulls would use red “Icon” uniforms in home games through the 2020-21 season, switching to white “Association” uniforms beginning in the 2021-22 season.
Alternate black uniforms
The Bulls introduced a black uniform for the 1995-96 season. The early appearance included red pinstripes but no diamond on the shorts. In the 2012-13 season, this set was reintroduced as throwback uniforms.
The Bulls used significantly modified black uniforms without pinstripes from 1997-98 through 2005-06. With a few minor adjustments to the template, this set also marked the return of the city name in front of the jersey for the 1999-2000 season.
The Bulls’ black alternate uniform was changed again for the 2006-07 season, now approximating the red and white uniform with the addition of a red diamond in the shorts. The jerseys were updated for the 2014-15 season to incorporate sleeves and a contemporary diamond treatment in black with red and white borders.
The Bulls’ black uniforms have stayed virtually unchanged since the 2017-18 season, except for the alteration above to the new Nike emblem, which changed the treatment of the shoulder piping. Nike named this “Statement” uniform in allusion to its third jersey. After Thanksgiving, the Bulls began using the Statement uniforms, which are now used in road games against teams that wear white, gray/silver, or cream jerseys.
The Bulls’ “Statement” jersey saw the reintroduction of pinstripes in dark gray for the 2019-20 season. In addition, the diamond treatment was changed back to red, the piping was changed, and four six-point stars were added to the beltline. The Bulls wore this “Statement” outfit in select home and road games against opponents wearing white, cream, or silver uniforms.
1966–1975: Team creation and early success
The Chicago Bulls were given an NBA franchise in 1966. The team’s first few years were challenging since only one owner played professional basketball (Dick Klein). However, with the aid of Pat Williams and Jerry Sloan, the Bulls made the playoffs every year they were in charge.
Artis Gilmore was moved to the San Antonio Spurs in 1972, and the Bulls’ explosive attack was centered on guards Quintin Dailey and Ennis Whatley. With sustained poor performance, the Bulls changed course and moved Theus to the Kansas City Kings during the 1983-84 season.
Attendance continued to drop, and the Wirtz Family sought to sell the franchise to ownership groups interested in relocating the team away from Chicago. When selling a business, many owners prefer to do so locally. However, there are a few factors to consider before making this choice.
First, ensure that the local ownership group can successfully and efficiently administer the firm. Second, investigate the local market to check if your product or service has a feasible market. Finally, ensure that the selling conditions are fair and reasonable to all parties.
1976–1984: Gilmore and Theus duo
Artis Gilmore guided the Chicago Bulls to their first winning season in 12 years in 1976. Gilmore and his squad depended on hard effort and teamwork to prevail in the face of a new owner who was uninterested in NBA basketball. They drafted Reggie Theus the next year, and together they guided the Bulls to their second consecutive winning season.
However, owing to a coin flip in 1979, they lost the opportunity to choose first in the NBA draft. This blunder would result in the selection of David Greenwood, who would become one of the finest players in Bulls history.
After trading Gilmore to the San Antonio Spurs, the Bulls could pick two of their talents, Quintin Dailey and Ennis Whatley. Attendance continued to drop, and the Wirtz Family sought to sell the franchise to ownership groups interested in relocating the team away from Chicago.
1984–1993: Michael Jordan era begins
Michael Jordan dominated the NBA between 1984 and 1993. He led the Bulls to six titles and six Finals MVPs. The Chicago Bulls chose him third overall in 1984, and he helped them rebuild around him. The next year, they added point guard John Paxson and traded with the Cavaliers on draft day for the rights to power forward Charles Oakley.
They produced much of the Bulls’ offense for the following two years, along with Jordan and center Dave Corzine. However, they were swept by the Celtics in the playoffs once again.
In 1987, they selected center Olden Polynice and power forward Horace Grant and made another huge off-season deal, this time to the New York Knicks for Charles Oakley.
With these added players plus the previous year’s starting five, the Bulls won 50 games and progressed to the Eastern Conference Finals, where the Pistons defeated them in the Conference Finals. The series is tight, but the Bulls prevail, winning the seventh and decisive game. The Pistons go on to win a second championship.
1993–1995: Jordan’s first retirement
The Bulls were headed by Scottie Pippen when Michael Jordan announced his retirement from the NBA three months after his father’s death. However, the squad underperformed, and MJ returned to the lineup on March 18, 1995. He guided the Bulls to the playoffs, where the Orlando Magic defeated them. The Bulls lost Armstrong over the offseason, and Krause dealt Perdue to the San Antonio Spurs for rebounding specialist Dennis Rodman.
1995–1998: Return of Michael Jordan and second championship three-peat
Michael Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to their third consecutive championship in 1995-1996. Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, and John Paxson were among the team’s stars. They comfortably beat the Hornets in the first round before sweeping the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals.
They met the Utah Jazz in the Finals, and although losing Game 1 in Utah, they dominated the rest of the series, winning four straight games to claim the title. This was Michael Jordan’s final season in the NBA, as he announced his retirement in July of that year.
The Chicago Bulls, led by superstar Derrick Rose, overcome all odds to win their sixth Eastern Conference title. After falling to the Charlotte Hornets in game one, the Bulls comfortably trounced them in the following three games of the series. The Bulls faced up against the Indiana Pacers, led by Reggie Miller, in the Conference Finals.
Experts thought the Pacers had the best chance of beating the Bulls. However, the Bulls won their sixth Eastern Conference championship by defeating the Pacers 88-83. With this win, the Bulls go to the NBA Finals, where they will meet the Miami Heat.
1998–2008: Post-Jordan era and a decade of struggle
When Krause opted to deal away important players and draft prospects to rebuild, the Chicago Bulls squandered their championship window in 1998. Tim Floyd, the team’s new coach, guided them to a decent 21-win season, although they still finished bottom in the league. After making the playoffs for the first time in six years in 2001, the Bulls were eliminated in the first round again.
Krause made another huge trade in 2002, sending Brand to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for the second overall selection and Eddy Curry. Despite these changes, the squad struggled, finishing with the league’s lowest record.
Assistant coach Bill Fitch replaced Cartwright in 2003, and the squad improved little, ending with the league’s fifth-worst record.
The Bulls selected collegiate sensation Jay Williams, with the second choice in the NBA draft. Jalen Rose, Crawford, Fizer, newcomer Donyell Marshall, Curry, Chandler, and guard Trenton Hassell all contribute.
Jay is the first Bull in over 20 years to lead the league in field goal percentage. Under Bill Cartwright, the youthful Bulls improved to 30-52, spearheaded by Curry’s outstanding play.
When Jerry Krause retired in 2003, he was replaced by John Paxson. Things appeared to be going well when the Bulls selected point guard Kirk Hinrich with the seventh overall choice and signed veteran Scottie Pippen. However, the club rapidly encountered a bump as Eddy Curry regressed, Tyson Chandler experienced recurrent back issues, and Pippen’s knees began to suffer.
Cartwright was sacked as head coach in December 2004, and Skiles was hired to replace him. This change of surroundings only aided Hinrich, who became a fan favorite for his hard defense and gritty drive.
However, the squad concluded the season with 23 wins and 59 defeats, the league’s second-worst record. Crawford was re-signed and dealt to the Knicks for expiring contracts, but Fizer was not re-signed.
The 2004-05 NBA season was a watershed moment for the Chicago Bulls. The franchise sent its first-round selection in 2005 to Phoenix in exchange for Ben Gordon and Luol Deng. The tactic paid off, as both players emerged as key contributors for the Bulls late in the 2004-05 season and into the playoffs.
However, the Bulls were eliminated in the first round by Washington. Gordon was named Rookie of the Year and Finals MVP in 2006. The Chicago Bulls met the Detroit Pistons in the 2016 NBA Playoffs.
The Bulls had the opportunity to make history by becoming the first club to sweep an entire playoff series. However, they were defeated in game 6, giving the Pistons their first postseason series triumph.
2008–2016: Derrick Rose era
2008–2010: Appearance of Derrick Rose
The Bulls picked Derrick Rose from the University of Memphis, despite having the lowest probability of obtaining the opportunity to draft first overall in the 2008 NBA draft lottery. The Bulls eventually sold Weems to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for Denver’s normal second-round selection pick in 2009, New York’s regular second-round draft pick in 2009, and the Bulls’ second-round draft pick in 2010. On July 30, 2008, they re-signed Deng to a six-year, $71 million contract.
The Bulls completed the first of multiple transactions, sending Brad Miller and John Salmons to the Sacramento Kings in exchange for Andres Nocioni, Drew Gooden, Cedric Simmons, and Michael Ruffin.
On February 19, 2009, the Bulls transferred Larry Hughes to the New York Knicks in exchange for Tim Thomas, Jerome James, and Anthony Roberson. Later that day, the Bulls completed their third trade. Rose became only the second player in NBA history (after Michael Jordan) to win the MVP Award while playing for the same club when he won it in 2011.
For the first time since 1998, Chicago ended the regular season with a league-best 62-20 record and won the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference. In the playoffs, they defeated the Indiana Pacers and the Atlanta Hawks in five and six games. They then faced the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals, where they were defeated 4-2.
2011–2014: Injury-plagued seasons for Derrick Rose
The Bulls picked Jimmy Butler 30th overall in 2011 and following the lockout, the team lost Kurt Thomas to free agency. Rip Hamilton, a veteran shooting guard who the Detroit Pistons had released, was signed by the Bulls. The Bulls also granted MVP, Derrick Rose a five-year, $94.8 million contract deal.
Derrick Rose’s season was cut short when he tore his ACL in a game against the Philadelphia 76ers. Despite this, the squad won 45-37 and finished second in their category. The Bulls traded Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers over the offseason. The Chicago Bulls selected Cameron Bairstow with the 49th selection in the draft’s second round.
They made a few off-season changes, including signing Pau Gasol and re-signing Kirk Hinrich. Nikola Mirotic was acquired in a draft-day trade in 2011, but because of salary ceiling constraints, he couldn’t join the team sooner. The Bulls want to upgrade their roster and compete in the East this season.
2014–2015: Return of Derrick Rose to health and rise of Jimmy Butler
The Chicago Bulls appeared to be on track for another lengthy postseason run with Derrick Rose back in the lineup and Pau Gasol healthy. However, their inconsistency and lack of synergy proved to be their demise, as they were eliminated in the first round by the Milwaukee Bucks. Butler and Gasol would now have to lead the club into the playoffs.
Butler led the Bulls to an upset victory against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round, but they could not maintain their momentum, falling in the following two games. The Cavs eventually won the series in four games. The Chicago Bulls approach the offseason with much uncertainty after a poor season and worries about Thibodeau’s future.
2015–2016: Change in approach
The Bulls sacked Tom Thibodeau and replaced him with Fred Hoiberg as head coach. Butler missed several games due to injury, yet the Bulls still made the playoffs. They were, however, ousted in the first round.
2016–2017: Departure of Derrick Rose
Derrick Rose and Justin Holiday were dealt to the New York Knicks in the summer of 2016 in exchange for center Robin Lopez and point guards Jerian Grant and Jose Calderon. The Bulls signed Rajon Rondo as their new starting point guard in exchange. The Bulls announced the signing of Dwyane Wade on July 7. The Bulls acquired 2014 Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams in exchange for Tony Snell on October 17.
The Bulls concluded the season 41-41, securing the eighth spot in the playoffs. In the first round of the playoffs, the club took an early 2-0 lead over the top-seeded Boston Celtics but ultimately lost the series after dropping the next four games.
2017–present: Post Derrick Rose Era
2017–2020: Final years of GarPax & Rebuilding
The Chicago Bulls transferred All-Star and 2017-2018 MVP Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves in the summer of 2017 in exchange for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, and Minnesota’s first-round choice in the 2017 NBA Draft. The Wolves selected Lauri Markkanen with this choice. In addition, the Bulls terminated Michael Carter-Williams on June 27, letting him become an unrestricted free agent.
The Bulls released Rajon Rondo and Isaiah Canaan on June 30. Justin Holiday returned to the Bulls on July 10, 2017, signing a two-year, $9 million contract. On September 24, 2017, Dwyane Wade and the Bulls allegedly agreed to a one-year contract buyout.
Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Wade gave back $8 million of his $23.2 million contract as part of the agreement.
For much of the Bulls’ 72-game season, Daniel Theis and Javonte Green shared the court. They each had their moments, but it wasn’t enough to propel the Bulls through the first round for the fourth year in a row.
2021–present: LaVine and DeRozan duo
The Bulls pick hometown youngster Ayo Dosunmu 38th overall in the 2021 NBA Draft. The Bulls trade Tomas Satoransky, Garrett Temple, a 2024 second-round selection, and cash to the New Orleans Pelicans in the same draft for Lonzo Ball. The Bulls also signed free agent and 2020 NBA Champion Alex Caruso, who could not strike a deal with the Los Angeles Lakers.
As part of the same preseason makeover, the Chicago Bulls announced a deal with the San Antonio Spurs on August 11 that sent Thaddeus Young, Al-Farouq Aminu, a protected first-round choice, and a second-round selection to the Spurs in exchange for four-time All-Star DeMar DeRozan.
New York Knicks
The Bulls have also faced stiff competition from the New York Knicks. The two clubs played in the playoffs four years in a row (1991-1994) and again in 1996, with the series lasting seven games twice (1992 and 1994).
However, their first playoff meeting occurred in 1989, when both teams were dubbed “teams on the rise” under Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing, respectively (rivalry that began their first year in the 1982 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship Game, with Jordan hitting the game-winning jumper).
With six games remaining in the Eastern Semifinals, Chicago would be the first to meet. The Bulls won the first three years (1991-1993) before losing in 1994. However, they avenged themselves in 1996. As with Detroit, the cities’ traditional rivalry has resulted in hatred between the teams and, on occasion, their supporters.
The rivalry between the Chicago Bulls and the Miami Heat began when the Heat became contenders in the 1990s, a decade dominated by the Bulls. They were eliminated three times by Chicago, who won the championship each time. The rivalry was reignited by the Bulls’ return to the playoffs in the post-Michael Jordan era, as well as the rise of Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose.
The resurrected rivalry was violent, with harsh plays and hard fouls amongst players, most notably former Heat player James Posey’s antics. The Heat defeated the Bulls in five games in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals.
Chicago ended Miami’s 27-game winning run on March 27, 2013. Later that year, in the 2013 Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Bulls and Heat faced. The series was won by Miami 4-1.
The Bulls-Cavaliers rivalry is between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Chicago Bulls in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The clubs have battled each other since the Cavaliers entered the NBA as an expansion team in 1970. The rivalry didn’t start until the Bulls selected Michael Jordan with the third overall choice in 1984.
The rivalry cooled down once Jordan moved on to the Washington Wizards and later retired, but when Cleveland selected LeBron James with the first choice in 2003, the animosity resurfaced. On the other hand, the Cavaliers had an advantage over the Bulls, who would choose Derrick Rose with the first choice in 2008, transforming Chicago from a lottery club to a potential contender.
Since the Jordan-led Bulls met the “Bad Boy” Pistons in the 1988 Eastern Conference playoffs, the Bulls’ major division adversary has been the Detroit Pistons. Until 1991, the two teams played in the playoffs four times in a row, with the Pistons winning each occasion. The Pistons were swept in four games in the Eastern Conference Finals in 1991, and they walked off the court with time still on the clock.
In the 2007 Eastern Conference Semifinals, former Detroit cornerstone Ben Wallace faced his former team, reigniting the rivalry (the Pistons won in 6 games). The clubs’ closeness and participation in the Central Division exacerbate the rivalry, marked by tough, physical play since the teams first clashed in the late 1980s.
The rivalry between Chicago and Detroit extends beyond the NBA since the two cities shared divisions in all four major North American sports until 2013, when the Detroit Red Wings relocated to the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division.
- Read more: Brooklyn Nets Overview
Points scored (regular season) (as of the end of the 2021–22 season)
Chicago Bulls Roster
|Lonzo Ball2||PG||24||6′ 6″||190 lbs||UCLA||$18,604,651|
|Tony Bradley13||C||24||6′ 10″||248 lbs||North Carolina||$1,669,178|
|Alex Caruso6||SG||28||6′ 5″||186 lbs||Texas A&M||$8,650,651|
|Tyler Cook25||F||24||6′ 8″||255 lbs||Iowa||$1,701,593|
|DeMar DeRozan11||SF||33||6′ 6″||220 lbs||USC||$26,000,000|
|Ayo Dosunmu12||SG||22||6′ 4″||200 lbs||Illinois||$925,258|
|Goran Dragic9||PG||36||6′ 3″||190 lbs||—||$460,463|
|Andre Drummond||C||28||6′ 10″||279 lbs||Connecticut||$1,669,178|
|Javonte Green24||SF||29||6′ 5″||205 lbs||Radford||$1,669,178|
|Malcolm Hill14||F||26||6′ 6″||220 lbs||Illinois||—|
|Derrick Jones Jr.5||SF||25||6′ 6″||210 lbs||UNLV||$9,720,900|
|Zach LaVine8||SG||27||6′ 5″||200 lbs||UCLA||$19,500,000|
|Marko Simonovic19||C||22||6′ 11″||220 lbs||—||$925,258|
|Dalen Terry||G||20||6′ 7″||195 lbs||Arizona||—|
|Matt Thomas21||SG||28||6′ 3″||190 lbs||Iowa State||$1,669,178|
|Tristan Thompson3||C||31||6′ 9″||254 lbs||Texas||$1,000,000|
|Nikola Vucevic9||C||31||6′ 10″||260 lbs||USC||$24,000,000|
|Coby White0||PG||22||6′ 4″||195 lbs||North Carolina||$5,837,760|
|Patrick Williams44||PF||20||6′ 7″||215 lbs||Florida State||$7,422,000|
In conclusion, the Chicago Bulls have a lot to offer. They are a great team to watch and have a rich history. They have won six championships and have been to the playoffs numerous times. They have a lot of talented players and are always a force to be reckoned with. Thanks for reading!