Chicago Bulls Championships

Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen - Two Chicago Bulls Hall of Fame players

Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. Two Chicago Bulls Hall of Fame players. (By Jean-Pierre Magnan, Licensed under CC BY 2.0, image link: flicker, cropped derivative)

After joining the NBA in 1966, the Chicago Bulls franchise made the playoffs nine of their first 11 seasons in the NBA. But between 1967 and 1984, the team enjoyed its fair share of trips to the postseason, though ever advancing to the NBA Finals.

All of that would change shortly after 1984, or the 1984 NBA Draft, to be specific. With the third overall pick in that draft, the Bulls would draft a prodigiously talented guard from the University of North Carolina by the name of Michael Jeffrey Jordan.

Immediately after drafting Jordan, the Bulls would make the playoffs in each of the next six seasons, though they would again fall short of the NBA Finals in all of those appearances.

But everything changed in the 1990-1991 season. Entering what would be considered the prime of his career in 1990, Jordan would lead this Chicago Bulls to three-straight NBA Championships, defeating the Los Angeles Lakers, Portland TrailBlazers, and Phoenix Suns along the way. Jordan would win the NBA’s MVP award after the first two seasons.

However, Jordan shockingly and abruptly retired from the NBA after the 1993 season, professing his mental anguish from the death of his father, and interest to pursue playing professional baseball.

That retirement would last for two years, as Jordan returned to the NBA in the spring of 1995.

Chicago Bulls 1996

Entering Jordan’s first full season back in the NBA, Jordan’s Bulls became the instant favorite to win the NBA’s Eastern Conference. Such prognostications turned out to be correct, as the 1995-1996 Bulls would finish with a 72-10 record in the regular season, which was the highest win total for a team in NBA history.

Chicago would finish the season by defeating the Seattle SuperSonics in the 1996 NBA Finals, capturing Jordan’s fourth NBA championship. The 72-win season by the Bulls would remain the best regular season record for the next 20 seasons (though eventually passed by the 73-win Golden State Warriors in 2015-2016).

Still, many people consider the 1995-1996 Bulls to be the greatest single team in NBA history.

Chicago Bulls NBA Championships 1998

Jordan and the Bulls would follow-up their 72-win season by winning 69 games the following year and defeating the Utah Jazz in the 1997 NBA Finals.

Many people wondered if Jordan and the Bulls “had enough gas left in the tank” to pull off a second three-peat. The Western Conference was loaded with talent, and the Eastern Conference had teams like the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers, who were hoping to dethrone the Bulls. But Chicago again finished another 60-plus win season, and after a tough battle through the NBA’s Eastern Conference playoffs, faced the Utah Jazz in a rematch of the previous year’s Finals. Chicago would defeat Utah in six games, pulling off their second-straight three-peat with Jordan as their franchise superstar. Shortly after winning his sixth NBA title, Jordan would again retire from the NBA, before one last stint with the Washington Wizards a few years later.