- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
SCOTT WILLIAMS (Bulls backup big man): In training camp Phil [Jackson] didn't want to burn those guys out, but a couple of guys took offense at them getting star status.
HORACE GRANT (Bulls power forward): I'll admit that Phil and I had a few confrontations because I had to be at every single practice working my ass off, and I had been through the championship wars with Michael and Scottie. B.J. [Armstrong, Chicago's point guard], Pax and the rest of us really had to step up when Michael and Scottie were resting. But in hindsight I see what Phil was trying to do. It probably made us a better team at the end.
TIM HALLAM (Bulls director of public relations, then and now): Everything was a pain in the ass for Michael that season. He had pretty much accomplished everything, so what more could you ask him to do? He had so many people pulling on him, asking me, "I just need five minutes with him." Well, you're one of 200 people who want five minutes, so do the math.
SAM SMITH (Bulls beat writer for the Chicago Tribune and author of The Jordan Rules): I don't remember Michael smiling much that season.
PHIL JACKSON (Bulls coach): We lost a game to the Knicks [89--84 to end the regular season], and frankly I was concerned. I expressed that and I'll never forget what Michael said: "Don't worry. We'll get it together for the playoffs." I kept that promise and used it later.
Behind MVP Barkley, the Suns go a league-best 62--20, but life with Charles has its challenges.
BARKLEY: The Bulls came in early and hammered us. [Jordan had 40 points in a 128--111 win.] I said we have to stop reading our press clippings.
WESTPHAL: We're playing the Charlotte Hornets in an early season game. Alonzo Mourning and Larry Johnson have Charles boxed. But he goes up from behind them—he's not even 6'5"—soars above them, separates from them and gets the rebound. I turned to [assistant] Lionel Hollins and said, "That right there is why we put up with his crap." Charles did stuff that made your jaw drop.
DAN MAJERLE (Suns shooting guard): My whole persona was to play hard every day in practice, but that wasn't Charles's philosophy. What we came to understand, though, was that he was perfect for our team. He opened up everything on the offensive end.
WESTPHAL: Next to Shaq, Charles may have been the worst player in history at defending the pick-and-roll. We're playing Utah early in the season, and Charles is in the wrong place one time on the pick-and-roll. Then we change it, and he's in the wrong place again. And I say, "Charles, just tell me what you want to do." And he says. "I'll let the guy come through, then clothesline him. That's what I really want to do." So late in the game they run a pick-and-roll, and Charles steals it from John Stockton to win the game. He says to me, "It's not that I can't play defense, it's just that I don't always want to."