Although this current rendition of the Chicago Bulls isn’t likely to make history this year, fans were still treated to a dose of good news last night with the announcement of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame’s class of 2023. Among the names included are NBA legends and former Bulls, Pau Gasol and Dwyane Wade.
Considering how successful these two were in not only their NBA careers but also in international play, it should come as no surprise to see this pair be inducted so soon. Still, it’s interesting to see the company they’re keeping in this year’s class is just as talented. They’ll be joined by Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker, Becky Hammon, and arguably the greatest head coach of all time in Gregg Popovich to round out a particularly stacked crop of inductees this year.
Gasol and Wade enjoyed particularly illustrious careers, with 5 championship rings, a Finals MVP, 12 All-NBA selections, a scoring title, a Rookie of the Year Award, and an incredible 19 All-Star appearances between the two of them. These two helped define the NBA for an entire generation of young fans, so it’s great to see them receive their dues.
With this pair joining the ranks of former Bulls in the Hall of Fame, Chicago’s rank of enshrined players grows to 13. They join some of the best talents the NBA has ever seen in Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Artis Gilmore, Chet Walker, and many more.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN was the first to break the news of their impending induction last night.
Dwyane Wade and Pau Gasol will represent the Chicago Bulls as worthy inductees in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2023.
In two seasons with the Bulls, Gasol experienced a bit of a career revival by averaging 17.6 points and 11.4 rebounds while racking up a pair of All-Star appearances and even an All-NBA Second Team nomination in 2015. Wade, on the other hand, had a less fruitful stay in Chicago and was released after just one season in 2016-17 after scoring 18.3 points per game on the lowest field goal percentage of his career up to that point.
Gasol achieved an 84-66 record in the games he played in Chicago and played a vital role in helping the team secure their most recent playoff series victory in six games against the Milwaukee Bucks back in 2015. Conversely, Wade posted a 29-31 record with the Bulls and played a big role in the team’s impending implosion that saw Jimmy Butler traded away to Minnesota — it should come as no surprise that Gasol is remembered a bit more fondly in the Windy City.
Although they’re gone now, Wade and Gasol will never be forgotten (for better or worse) as crucial pieces of Chicago Bulls’ history. They helped set the precedent of what to expect from this franchise for an entire generation of young Bulls fans.
Who knows, maybe a current member of this Bulls roster will join Gasol and Wade in the future? DeMar DeRozan holds a 42.4% chance according to Basketball Reference’s Hall of Fame Probability metric. Or maybe it’ll be another important player from Bulls history, like perhaps the youngest MVP in league history Derrick. Or maybe, just maybe, we haven’t met that player yet.
One thing’s for sure, this franchise has hosted some of the greatest to ever play the game, and will continue to do so in the future. Cheers to Gasol, Wade, our Chicago Bulls legends, and whoever may come next.