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SI FOR KIDS
Jordan, Bulls will be back next season
Posted: Thursday June 18, 1998 01:11 PM
NEW YORK (CNN/SI) -- The Chicago Bulls have left some huge tracks for teams to follow in the NBA. These Bulls of the '90s rank -- no one is questioning this anymore -- as one of the top teams ever.
The fact that they've been so good for so long is why, it says in this crystal ball, the Bulls will be back next season. Something this good -- something this great -- is not going to be broken up just because of money.
When you look at some of the best teams in the history of the league, it wasn't money that broke them up. The Los Angeles Lakers of the '80s got old. The Boston Celtics got old. The Detroit Pistons got old and beat up.
The Bulls are not that old, and they're not beat up. They can play again. They should play again.
They have the cap room, so salaries shouldn't be a problem. And from what owner Jerry Reinsdorf has said, he's going to make every effort to keep the team together. He doesn't want to be the one that breaks up the Bulls.
That may not be good news for 28 other cities in the league. Fans all over are saying "Hey, you've had your run. It's time to step aside." But it would be healthy for the league.
The way Michael Jordan and others have positioned themselves, whether the Bulls will stay together rests largely on Scottie Pippen's shoulders. That depends on whether he accepts the money Reinsdorf will throw at him.
Dennis Rodman, too, is a question. A lot of people see him as a replaceable part, but Rodman has become part of the Bulls. He was really good in the Finals. He did a great job of getting Utah's Karl Malone out in the wood. He's become sort of a sideshow to the team, but he does what he needs to do, the rest of the Bulls do their thing -- and they win.
There's a real concern on whether Phil Jackson will come back, too. If he doesn't, maybe Jordan won't either.
But if Michael commits to another coach, and the new coach doesn't change the way the team plays -- that would be ludicrous -- the Bulls have everything they need for another title in the '90s.
Which brings us to The Man himself. There's no question Jordan has to return for the Bulls to be the Bulls.
We all like to sit around the bars or the dinner table and debate who is the greatest player in the history of the league. Up until a couple years ago, my pick was Magic Johnson. He could play all five positions on the floor, and he won championships. That's what separated him. It's a pretty good argument.
But what Michael Jordan has done has clearly surpassed everyone who ever played the game. In Game 6, you could see he is still awfully quick. Michael just took the game over and said, "Hey, we're going to win."
He can win another title. And one more would probably do it.
There are only two other questions that Jordan and Pippen and everybody else involved have to answer when they consider the return of the Bulls:
And who's going to beat them?
Bob Hill, the former head coach for the Indiana Pacers and the San Antonio Spurs, is the NBA analyst for CNN/SI, the 24-hour sports news network from CNN and Sports Illustrated. His column appears weekly exclusively on CNNSI.com.
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