Saturday, March 12, 2011
Posted 10:07 p.m.
By Aggrey Sam
At halftime of the Bulls 118-100 win over the Jazz Saturday night, a ceremony to honor the 20th anniversary of the franchises first championship took place, featuring members of the 1990-91 team, including one Michael Jeffrey Jordan.
After the ceremony, Jordan spoke to reporters about the unique experience.
For me, some guys I havent seen in a while. Dennis Hopson, I havent seen since 1991 and for us to reunite, tell old stories, it brings back a lot of great memories and I wish we could turn the clock back, said the Hall of Famer. Thats how I feel, but Father Times coming touches everybody and youve got to deal with the cards that you have. I miss it.
Looking back upon the journey the team took to get to that moment particularly overcoming hated division rival Detroit Jordan reflected fondly on winning the title.
Winning your first one everyone said a scoring champion cant win so that mattered for us, winning our first one. Beating the Pistons, getting past the Pistons, all that was gratifying and then doing it five more times after that, stated Jordan. If I had to pick the first one or the last one, thats a tough choice, especially when youre trying to repeat something every single time.
The Bulls legend opined on the potential of the current edition of the franchise he made a household name worldwide, expounding on his previous thoughts about All-Star point guard Derrick Rose.
I was just talking to former teammate and current Bulls vice president John Paxson, the guys upstairs, and I said, You guys could be the best team in the East. No, I dont think its going to take them seven years. Theyve got a good, talented team and once again, I think theyve got the MVP of the league.
"Hes Rose coming into his own, hes maturing quite a bit, said Jordan. When he came into the league, everybody said he had speed, he could get to the rim, but he cant shoot. Now, he can shoot the three, as well as pull-up shots. He has very few flaws. Im pretty sure the next thing theyre going to say is he doesnt play very good defense or he cant handle the double team, but time will tell.
"The kid works hard and I think hes a great piece for this franchise to rebuild with and theyve got some other pieces that help them quite a bit in the East.
Everybodys talking about Boston and everybodys talking about Miami and Orlando, you tend to forget about Chicago. You can have a lot of work on your hands.
Jordan also discussed his connection to the Windy City, a place that immediately embraced him as an NBA rookie, all the way to the present day, despite him owning a rival NBA franchise.
I had an autograph signing this morning and I signed parts of the old stadium floor, said Jordan, who mentioned the late Johnny Red Kerr when he addressed the United Center crowd on the floor where he once dominated as a player. This the United Center is a beautiful place here, but what was more beautiful was the Chicago Stadium and the home-court advantage we had back in the day. We can sit here and reminisce all day long.
"To me, its unbelievable and Im glad I had the opportunity to spend time here and make my career here. The fans are very enduring, in terms of the hard work and effort we put on the floor. I played for them. As much as I played for myself, I played for the fans of Chicago.
I love the city. I still live here, contrary to what everybody believes. My home is still here, I still pay taxes here, so Im still living here. I want the city to do well. Theyve been very instrumental in my whole career me living here and raising my kids and everything and every chance I can get to come back and thank them, its truly gratitude for me, he added.
Im very happy with the warm reception that I get every time I come here, even though Ive left and gone and done other things.
Jordans best line, however, came as he was walking away from the media throng in the bowels of the United Center.
When asked about his thoughts on Roses long-term future, the business-minded hoops icon looked over his shoulder and quipped, Any time you want to give him, well take him.
Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.com's Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.