Two of the greatest NBA players ever played for the Chicago Bulls, and there are numerous others who made an impact on the franchise’s illustrious history.
The Chicago Bulls ruled the basketball world in the 1990s by winning six NBA championships in eight years. Those six titles are tied for third with the Warriors in NBA history, behind only the Celtics and Lakers.
All-time greats Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen led the way during the Bulls’ dynastic run, but they had plenty of help. Horace Grant, Dennis Rodman and Toni Kukoc are just a few of the other Bulls to make a monumental impact on championship teams.
While the Bulls haven’t won any other titles, they’ve had a laundry list of outstanding players who made an impact without winning a ring. Most notably, hometown product Derrick Rose became the youngest MVP in league history while leading the Bulls to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2011.
So, let’s take a look at the top 30 players in Bulls history. This ranking was compiled using multiple factors, including statistics, winning, notable plays, time spent with the organization and overall impact on the franchise.
There were some tough cuts to make for this list, including Carlos Boozer, Ron Harper, Luc Longley and Dave Corzine, to name a few. But the final spot goes to Charles Oakley, a rugged enforcer who became close with Michael Jordan during their few years together in Chicago.
The Bulls acquired Oakley, the No. 9 pick, from the Cleveland Cavaliers on draft night in 1985. The burly 6-foot-8 big man immediately became a key member of the rotation, averaging 9.6 points and 8.6 rebounds in 23.0 minutes per game as a rookie, earning him a place on the All-Rookie first team.
Oakley became a full-time starter the next two seasons, and he put up stellar numbers while playing all 82 games in both years. His most prolific year in Chicago came in 1986-87 when he put up 14.5 points, 13.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game. He recorded 20.0 points and 15.3 rebounds per game in the playoffs that year, but the Bulls were swept away in three games by the Boston Celtics.
The Bulls’ selection of Horace Grant in the first round of the 1987 NBA Draft proved to be the writing on the wall for Oakley’s time in Chicago. The Bulls traded Oakley to the New York Knicks for Bill Cartwright in 1988, a move that incensed Jordan at the time.
While Oakley only spent three years with the Bulls, he was a key member of the up-and-coming squad and valuable for Jordan’s development. His trade also brought in a key member of the team’s first three-peat, so Oak deserves a spot on this list.