Michael Jordan: Another six titles possible for Bulls
To commemorate the 20th anniversary of their first NBA Championship, the Bulls welcomed back former players and coaches from the 1990-91 season for a recognition ceremony during halftime at Saturday’s game versus the Utah Jazz. (Ray Amati/NBAE/Getty Images)
Audio—Bulls legend and Hall of Famer Michael Jordan (03.12.2011):
By Adam Fluck | 03.12.2011
As Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and other members of the 1990-91 Bulls championship team rode down the elevator from their suite to make their way to the halftime ceremony in their honor, Jordan proclaimed, “Out off all us guys, Scottie Pippen is the only one who looks like he can still play.”
Pippen quickly responded to Jordan, now the Charlotte Bobcats majority owner, “Well you’re the one giving out contracts, so sign me up.”
It was that kind of night for Jordan, Pippen and the Bulls, as well as the 22,123 fans on hand at the United Center, as the team honored the 20th anniversary of its first championship—a trip down memory lane for most, and an opportunity for a former group of teammates to gather once again.
"Thanks to the organization for bringing back a memory we wanted to live one more time," said Pippen, who took in Saturday's game with Jordan in a suite. "Thanks for sticking with us back in the '90s. It was a great journey."
“For us to reunite and tell old stories, it brings back a lot of great memories,” said Jordan. “I wish we could turn the clock back. That’s how I feel. But Father Time's coming, touches everybody. You’ve got to deal with the cards that you have. I miss it. I miss it.”
When he addressed the sold out crowd during halftime, Jordan offered a strong vote of confidence to the future of the Bulls.
“You guys are in store for a lot of other championships when you look at this team tonight,” said Jordan. “Don’t be surprised if you have six more coming.”
It took Jordan, a five-time NBA MVP and six-time NBA Finals MVP, seven seasons before he won his first professional championship. Based on what he has seen of this year’s Bulls and Derrick Rose, he believes another title could be coming to Chicago sooner than later.
“I was just talking to [Bulls EVP-Basketball Operations John Paxson] and those guys upstairs and said, ‘You guys can be the best team in the East if you play the type of basketball you guys have been playing,’ Jordan said. “I don’t think it is going to take them seven years to win one. I hope not. They have a good, balanced team.”
Earlier in the week, when the Bulls visited the Bobcats in Charlotte, Jordan stated that Rose was his choice for NBA MVP. He reiterated that on Saturday.
“Once again, I think they have got the MVP of the league,” Jordan said of Rose. “That kid has come into his own. He has matured quite a bit. When he came into the league, everybody said he had speed, he could get to the rim, but he can't shoot. Now he can shoot—the three, as well as pull-up shots. He has very few flaws. I'm pretty sure the next thing they are going to say is that he doesn’t play good defense, or he can't handle a double-team.
“Time will tell,” Jordan added. “The kid works hard and I think he's a great piece for this franchise to rebuild with. They’ve got some other pieces that help them quite a bit in the East. Everybody’s talking about Boston; everybody's talking about Miami or Orlando. You tend to forget about Chicago. You’re going to have a lot of work on your hands.”
But just as Jordan couldn’t win it all on his own, he doesn’t believe Rose can do it either. When asked about Bulls small forward Luol Deng, Jordan replied, “He’s the deciding factor for this team winning the championship. If he plays well, it helps out their team quite a bit.”