Please select your default edition
Your default site has been set for 7 days

Chicago Bulls 1990s dynasty set standard for what perfect NBA team should look like, says Mike Tuck

Watch 'The Last Dance', a 10-part documentary series on Michael Jordan and the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls on Netflix via your Sky Q box from April 20

Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen celebrate the Chicago Bulls' NBA Finals win in 1997
Image: Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen celebrate the Chicago Bulls' NBA Finals win in 1997

Led by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, the Chicago Bulls team that won six NBA championships in the 1990s 'set the standards for what the perfect NBA team should look like', says Sky Sports NBA analyst Mike Tuck.

Jordan's Last Dance on Sky Q from April 20

Jordan's Last Dance on Sky Q from April 20

Watch The Last Dance, a 10-part documentary on the 1997-98 Bulls, on Netflix via your Sky Q box

'The Last Dance' is the most anticipated sports documentary to come out in a very long time. In my eyes, for the basketball community, it's the most hyped thing we've seen in a while. I'm excited to watch the never-before-seen footage and hear the inside scoop - as a player and fan, you always want to know about what is going on in the locker room, to get access to those moments we don't usually get to see.

Actually seeing and feeling what the vibe within the team was through that last title-winning season is going to be interesting. That's going to be what draws people to the documentary. There are so many sideline stories that run along with the 'Last Dance' season that make it so interesting.

Upgrade to watch Netflix on Sky Q

Upgrade to watch Netflix on Sky Q

Upgrade to Netflix on Sky Q to watch The Last Dance from April 20

Growing up, I was always a New York Knicks fan (Toronto didn't get an NBA team until 1995). I felt an allegiance to that early 1990s Knicks team with Patrick Ewing, John Starks and Charles Oakley. There were all those Conference Finals and semi-finals where the Knicks met the Bulls, and Chicago always prevailed. The Bulls were like villains in my eyes. I was not a huge Bulls guy growing up because I was always rooting for the Knicks.

Memories of the Last Dance season

My abiding memory of the 1997-98 Bulls? Jordan making the 'Last Shot' against the Utah Jazz in Game 6 of the Finals. The crossover on Bryon Russell and sealing the win in the last 30 seconds... that will always stand out to me as the biggest moment of that season, and the icing on top of their title dynasty.

Michael Jordan celebrates the Chicago Bulls# victory in the 1998 NBA Finals 2:17
Gametime analysts David Aldridge and Greg Anthony recall Jordan's 45-point performance in Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals

Was 1997-98 the Bulls toughest title to win? It would have been incredibly tough because of all the off-the-court issues. You had Jordan, the biggest player in the game with arguably the biggest ego in the game, with a guy like Dennis Rodman alongside him, a guy capable of being a significant distraction to the team.

Phil Jackson shares a word with Michael Jordan in the 1997 NBA Finals
Image: Phil Jackson shares a word with Jordan in the 1997 NBA Finals

Phil Jackson had an enormous job on his hands managing those egos but then you add the egos of (team general manager) Jerry Krause and (team owner) Jerry Reinsdorf on top of that. They were in the front office suggesting they were not receiving the recognition they thought they deserved for the Bulls success. They wanted some of the credit but all of it was going to Jordan, Jackson and Scottie Pippen. The situation was a ticking time bomb waiting to go off. When it ultimately imploded, it shut the door for the Bulls for a long time.

Also See:

Follow Sky Sports NBA on Twitter

Follow Sky Sports NBA on Twitter

See the NBA's best plays and stay up to date with the latest news

I think 100 per cent that had the Bulls been able to stay together, there was at least one more NBA championship there for them to win. But Krause, his ego, and the subsequent moves he made got in the way of things.

Unsung heroes

Ron Harper steals possession for the Chicago Bulls in Game 2 of the 1998 NBA Finals
Image: Ron Harper steals possession for the Bulls in Game 2 of the 1998 NBA Finals

I was always a big fan of Ron Harper. One thing the Bulls always did well was to recognise talent within their own division quickly.

In the late 1980s Cleveland Cavaliers teams, Harper was super-athletic - almost as athletic as Jordan - as well as being a really good defender. Even though he suffered a really bad knee injury when he was on the Clippers that made him less explosive, the Bulls acknowledged his talent and were eventually able to bring him in.

Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen restrain Dennis Rodman
Image: Jordan and Pippen restrain Dennis Rodman

They also picked up former Detroit Pistons, too, in John Salley, James Edwards and Dennis Rodman. If you watch the recent 30 for 30 documentary on Rodman, you remember how much he used to get into it with Jordan and Pippen when the Pistons played the Bulls. Jordan respected Rodman's heart, tenacity and hard-nosed approach, and he was instrumental in bringing him to Chicago.

Steve Kerr protects the ball against the Utah Jazz in the 1997 NBA Finals 2:43
Rewind to 1997, as Steve Kerr explains what it was like to play alongside Jordan and Pippen with the Bulls

Steve Kerr also sticks out among the Bulls role players. He led the NBA in three-point shooting percentage in 1994-95 and shot 51.5, 46.4 and 43.8 per cent from three in the 1996, 1997 and 1998 title-winning seasons. He always showed up in big moments. That whole experience playing for the Bulls with Jordan and seeing what it took to win multiple championships was a huge influence on him and helped make him into the coach he became.

Join our NBA group on Facebook

Join our NBA group on Facebook

Sign up and join the NBA conversation in our Facebook group

He learned a lot from Jackson (and later in his playing career from Gregg Popovich in San Antonio) about how the pieces of a team fit together and how to manage guys.

Defensive intensity, unselfish approach

Michael Jordan  and Scottie Pippen in action for the Chicago Bulls during the 1998 Eastern Conference Finals
Image: Jordan and Pippen in action for the Bulls during the 1998 Eastern Conference Finals

The 90s Bulls teams hung their hat on defense, that's for sure. Pippen made the NBA All-Defensive team every season from 1990-91 to 1999-2000, including eight straight first-team selections. Jordan was close behind with seven All-Defensive first-team appearances in the 90s. Rodman joined them on the All-Defensive first team in 1995-96. Look at their starting line-up! Harper, Pippen and Jordan could defend any guard position really well and that would lead to a lot of fast breaks and easy buckets.

Scottie Pippen battles inside against the Utah Jazz in the NBA Finals 6:44
Relive the most memorable moments of Pippen's tenure with the Bulls

The Bulls were an unselfish team, too. Everyone talks about Jordan as the prolific scorer but he was a playmaker as well. He could move the ball, more so than a guy like Kobe Bryant. He would look for his shot but he would also look for an open team-mate too. When you have a guy like Pippen running the lane, it becomes pretty easy to give up the ball.

Michael Jordan drives by Gary Payton in the 1996 NBA Finals 1:48
Unstoppa-BULLS! Relive the most memorable moments as Jordan led the Bulls to victory over the Seattle Supersonics in the 1996 NBA Finals

I consider the 1990s Bulls team the best of the modern era. Their 97-98 Last Dance season was great but, to me, their stand-out season was 1995-96 when they won 72 regular-season games. I would definitely put that 72-win team up against any other great team from NBA history - they had Michael Jordan!

Get NBA news on your phone

Get NBA news on your phone

Want the latest NBA news, features and highlights on your phone? Find out more

It was a pleasure for me to watch the Chicago Bulls when I was growing up. I feel lucky to have witnessed them play when I was a kid. No team was a better role model in terms of setting standards of what the perfect NBA team should look like.

Want to watch even more of the NBA but don't have Sky Sports? Get the Sky Sports Action and Arena pack, click here.

Around Sky