Top 15 Greatest Players in Chicago Bulls History
An array of stars have shone brightly for the Chicago Bulls franchise since the team arrived on the NBA stage in 1966.
Michael Jordan and his Dream Team teammate Scottie Pippen aren't the only famous players to have once donned the red, black, and white. Norm Van Lier, Reggie Theus, and Artis Gilmore are just a few more examples.
Here is a list of the 15 best players to ever suit up for the Bulls. And if you're expecting to see the talented youngster Derrick Rose, then you'll be deeply disappointed.
Rose is a great player, and he just might lead the team to a couple of titles in the future, however he hasn't played long enough yet to earn a spot on this list.
Well, let's get started.
Enjoy, fellow Bulls fans.
15. Kirk Hinrich (2003- present)
"Captain Kirk" fell into the Bulls' laps in the first round of the 2003 draft, which was the same draft that produced the likes of superstars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Bosh. Hinrich was the seventh overall pick.
The defensive-minded point guard was a starter during his first five seasons with the Bulls, but was later replaced by Derrick Rose, the top pick in the 2008 draft.
Hinrich led the Bulls to the playoffs in 2005, ending the team's seven-year postseason drought. He also helped them reach the playoffs the following two seasons and once again in 2009 when they took the defending champion Boston Celtics to seven games in the first round.
Hinrich currently needs just 10 three-pointers to surpass Ben Gordon as the Bulls' all-time leader in three-point field goals.
14. Reggie Theus (1978-1984)
You may know Theus as the former Sacramento Kings head coach. You also may know him as an actor on the Saturday morning sitcom "Hang Time."
Chicago sports fans, though, know him as a talented guard who starred for the Bulls in the early 1980s.
Theus was selected by the Bulls with the ninth overall pick in the 1978 draft. He finished in second place for the Rookie of the Year award behind Phil Ford.
Theus was named an All-Star twice, although the Bulls only finished with a winning record once during his days in Chicago.
His best season in a Bulls uni came in '82-83 when he averaged a career-high 23.8 points per game.
He spent five-and-a-half seasons in Chicago before being traded to the Kansas City Kings for Steve Johnson and three future second-round picks.
13. B.J. Armstrong (1989-1995, 1999-2000)
Armstrong was chosen by the Bulls with the 18th overall pick in the 1989 draft.
After backing up John Paxson at point guard in his first three seasons, he joined Michael Jordan in the starting backcourt during the 1992-93 season.
B.J. helped the Bulls win three consecutive NBA titles from 1991-1993 against the Los Angeles Lakers, Portland Trail Blazers, and Phoenix Suns, respectively.
He was voted by the fans to start in the 1994 All-Star Game, where he scored 11 points and dished out four assists in 22 minutes of action.
Armstrong was drafted by the Toronto Raptors in the 1995 expansion draft, but rejoined the Bulls for 27 games in the 1999-00 season, which was his final year in the league.
He is currently the agent for another Bulls All-Star guard, Derrick Rose.
12. John Paxson (1985-1994)
Paxson never made an All-Star team during his 11-year career, but that doesn't mean he wasn't one of the greatest Bulls of all time.
The former first-round draft pick signed a free agent deal with the Bulls and spent nine seasons in Chicago, mostly as a backup point guard who could light it up from downtown.
Paxson was known for knocking down clutch three-pointers during his tenure with the Bulls. His most memorable shot came in Game Six of the 1993 NBA Finals when he knocked down a championship-winning trey with 3.9 seconds remaining.
He was definitely an integral part of the Bulls first three-peat.
After retiring, Paxson served as an assistant coach under Phil Jackson, worked as a broadcaster, and later went on to become general manager of the Bulls.
He is currently the team's VP of Basketball Operations.
11. Tom Boerwinkle (1968-1978)
Unless you're a Bulls historian, you probably have never heard the name, "Tom Boerwinkle." Drafted fourth overall by the Bulls in 1968, the 7'0" center played his entire 10-year career with the team.
Boerwinkle averaged at least 11.1 rebounds per game during his first four seasons and is second on the Bulls all-time rebounds list behind Michael Jordan. He is also in the top 10 in both minutes played and assists.
He holds the team record for most rebounds in a game with 37, which he accomplished against the Phoenix Suns in 1970.
Boerwinkle was known for his solid passing as he averaged 3.2 assists per game for his career.
10. Dennis Rodman (1995-1998)
The "Worm" was basically given to the Bulls as he was picked up in a trade from the San Antonio Spurs for backup center Will Perdue.
Rodman was brought in to replace longtime starting power forward Horace Grant and provide the Bulls with rebounding and stifling defense, just as he had when he was a member of the Detroit "Bad Boy" Pistons.
Whether his hair was dyed blond, red, or green, the two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year blended in nicely with his superstar teammates Jordan and Pippen.
One of the NBA's greatest rebounders ever, Rodman didn't let his off-the-court behavior disrupt the Bulls winning ways on the court as Chicago won three titles during his tenure with the club.
It might have been difficult for the Bulls to win those titles without the addition of Rodman.
9. Artis Gilmore (1976-1982, 1987)
After a phenomenal ABA career, Gilmore was selected by the Bulls in the 1976 dispersal draft.
The "A-Train" made four All-Star appearances during his time in Chi-Town and was named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team in 1978.
Gilmore never averaged under 17 points and nine rebounds as a Bull. His best season came in 1977-78 when he posted 22.9 points and 13.1 rebounds per contest.
He is the Bulls' all-time leader in blocks and field-goal percentage, and ranks in the top 10 in several other categories.
Gilmore was traded to San Antonio in 1982 and was then dealt back to Chicago in 1987, where he played 24 games before getting waived.
8. Horace Grant (1987-1994)
Grant, a 6'10" power forward out of Clemson, was picked up by the Bulls with the 10th overall pick in the 1987 draft.
He backed up Charles Oakley during his rookie year, but became a starter after Oakley was traded to New York for Bill Cartwright, a move that Michael Jordan wasn't too thrilled with at the time.
Known for his trademark goggles, he was a key member of the Bulls' first three championship teams in the early '90s with his rebounding and ability to knock down the open jumper.
In 1994, he played in his first and only All-Star game of his career.
Grant left Chicago for the Orlando Magic as a free agent in 1994 to join forces with young superstars Shaquille O'Neal and Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway.
7. Toni Kukoc (1993-2000)
Although Kukoc was drafted by the Bulls in 1990, he remained in Europe and didn't join the team until 1993.
The versatile forward emerged as a spark plug off the Bulls bench, as he backed up Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, and later Dennis Rodman. He won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award in 1996.
Kukoc helped the Bulls win three titles as a reserve, and then became the leading scorer in 1998-99 after the dynasty was dismantled.
He was dealt to the Philadelphia 76ers midway through the 1999-00 season in a three-team trade that also involved the Golden State Warriors.
6. Chet Walker (1969-1976)
Walker was traded from the Philadelphia 76ers with Shaler Halimon to the Bulls for Bob Kaufmann and Jim Washington.
"Chet the Jet" never won a championship in Chicago like he did in Philly; however he enjoyed an outstanding career with the Bulls as the team's starting small forward.
Walker teamed with Jerry Sloan, Norm Van Lier, and Bob Love to form a respectable Bulls team of the '70s.
He averaged at least 19.2 points and 5.0 rebounds per game during his six seasons in Chicago and made four All-Star teams as a member of the Bulls.
Walker was one of the top free throw shooters in the '70s. He led the league in free throw percentage in '71 and placed second in '70.
He ranks fifth on the Bulls' all-time scoring list and third in free throws made.
5. Norm Van Lier (1971-1978)
"Stormin' Norman" was selected by the Bulls in the third round (34th overall) of the 1969 draft and was immediately traded to the Cincinnati Royals.
Two years later, he was traded along with a future third-round draft pick back to Chicago for Jim Fox and a future second-rounder.
Van Lier earned several achievements in a Bulls uniform. He made the All-Star team three times, the All-NBA Second Team once, the All-Defensive First Team three times, and the All-Defensive Second Team five times.
Van Lier is the Bulls' third all-time leader in both assists and steals behind Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.
He also ranks in the top 10 in games played, minutes played, field goals, and free throws.
He died in February 2009 at age 61. Oddly, former Bulls coach Johnny "Red" Kerr passed away later that day as well.
4. Bob Love (1968-1976)
Love came to Chicago, along with Bob Weiss, in a trade that sent Flynn Robinson to the Milwaukee Bucks.
After failing to average double figures in scoring during his first two-and-a-half seasons in the league, Love had a breakout year in his first full season with the Bulls averaging 21 points per game. He led the team in scoring for seven consecutive seasons.
Love made three All-Star appearances as a member of the Bulls and was named to the All-NBA Second Team twice. He was also selected to the All-Defensive Second Team twice.
Love is currently third on the team's all-time scoring list with 12,623 points and his No. 10, which was later worn by B.J. Armstrong, was retired in 1994.
3. Jerry Sloan (1966-1976)
Before he became a legendary head coach with the Utah Jazz, Sloan was a solid defensive guard for the Bulls in the '60s and '70s.
He spent his rookie season with the Baltimore Bullets and then became the first player to be drafted by the Bulls in the expansion draft of 1966. He earned the nickname "The Original Bull."
Sloan amazingly led the Bulls to the playoffs in their first year of existence, something that wouldn't happen in today's NBA.
As a Bull, he made two All-Star teams, four All-Defensive First Teams, and two All-Defensive Second Teams. He also helped the team reach the postseason on several occasions.
Sloan's No. 4 was the first number to be retired by the Bulls.
2. Scottie Pippen (1987-1998, 2003-2004)
Pippen was a lot more that just Michael Jordan's trusty sidekick, he was hands down one of the game's greatest perimeter defenders.
He was selected to 10 All-Defensive Teams: eight First Team selections and two Second Team selections.
Scottie was acquired from the Seattle SuperSonics in a draft day trade for Olden Polynice and future picks. That deal would soon turn out to be one of the most lopsided in NBA history.
Pippen became a starter in his second season and later helped the Bulls win six titles.
The seven-time All-Star forward was signed-and traded to the Houston Rockets in 1999, but re-signed with Chicago in 2003, where he played the final season of his amazing career.
1. Michael Jordan (1984-1998, 1995-1998)
Who else would top this list?
Jordan is not only the greatest player in Bulls history, he's perhaps the greatest player in NBA history. And not very many people would argue with that statement.
Drafted by the Bulls with the third overall pick in the 1984 draft, MJ immediately became a superstar as he took home Rookie of the Year Honors after averaging 28 points per game.
The former North Carolina Tar Heel went on to lead the Bulls to an astonishing six NBA titles in the 1990s and if it wasn't for his brief retirement, he could have led the team to another two. No disrespect to Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets.
Jordan won five regular season MVPs, six Finals MVPs, a Defensive Player of the Year Award, was named to the All-NBA First Team 10 times, and made the All-Star team twelve teams as a Bull.