Champions recall glory days as Bulls host first Insider Session
Brown, King, Levingston, Pippen and Wennington reminisce about their favorite moments from the two three-peat runs
The Chicago Bulls and Gibsons Restaurant Group hosted the first “Chicago Bulls Insider Session: Championship Edition” on Tuesday night at The Montgomery Club.
The event was highlighted by an entertaining discussion between six World Championship players—Randy Brown, Stacey King, Cliff Levingston, Scottie Pippen and Bill Wennington—on hand to reminisce about their favorite moments from the two three-peat runs. WGN sports anchor Dan Roan moderated the panel.
Among the many topics, Pippen, King and Levingston recalled finally getting past the Detroit Pistons en route to the first title in 1991.
“I think it was a journey, but I looked at the whole picture and it wasn’t just any one change,” said Pippen, one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History who is currently the team’s Special Advisor to the President and COO. “We learned and we grew as players. We learned from taking on the Detroit Pistons. It made us mentally strong and woke us up to be more physically strong.”
Levingston arrived in the Windy City just in time for that historical 1990-91 season.
“When I came to the Bulls, I came off an Atlanta Hawks team,” recalled Levingston, a forward on the 1991 and 1992 championship teams. “When I came to Chicago, everything was always in place. The first and second units were in place. I was playing with the guys that I liked and didn't care which unit I was in. We got in a few scuffles but Scottie and I bonded immediately. The chemistry was just already there.”
King, meanwhile, pointed out one similarity that exists between the modern day Bulls and the teams from the dynasty years.
“This is a prideful team; it's been that way since I got here,” said King, who serves as a television analyst for the team and played forward from 1991-93. “If you put that Chicago Bulls jersey on, you play with pride.”
The panelists also looked back on the 1995-96 campaign—Michael Jordan’s first full season with the team following his first retirement—when the team went an NBA-best 72-10 during the regular season.
“Michael was on a mission, and Scottie was with him step-by-step,” recalled Wennington, a radio analyst for the Bulls and backup center from 1993-98, of that fall’s training camp. “We knew we were going to be good because Michael made sure to push us and let us know if we weren't doing our job. You could tell right away that it was going to be a big year.”
A Chicago native, Brown was not only happy to be home when he joined the team in 2005, but he relished the opportunity to play with and learn from Jordan, Pippen and his teammates.
“They all taught me how to practice,” acknowledged Brown, the team’s current Assistant General Manager and a guard from 1995-2000. “I had no idea what it meant to practice with winners.”
The panelists who were part of the second three-peat were asked about the Beatles-like popularity that surrounded the team at the time.
“It was a different world,” said Pippen. “We embraced it, we loved it, and it was all about putting on a show. There were people waiting on us everywhere we went. When we landed the plane, left the hotel, went to practice, we were always on stage, so we had to perform.”
Prior to listening to the panel walk down memory lane, guests at the event enjoyed a cocktail hour with the opportunity to take photos with the Bulls’ six championship trophies. Each guest received a gift autographed by all of the panelists.
All proceeds from the event benefitted Chicago Bulls Charities, which provides annual financial support to Chicagoland nonprofits that share the Bulls’ commitment to youth education, health and wellness, and violence prevention.