Jan 12, 2024 - News

Chicago Bulls to honor '96 greats at "Ring of Honor" ceremony

basketball players

The Chicago Bulls hoist the NBA Championship trophy at the 1996 NBA finals at the United Center. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Daniel/ALLSPORT

The Chicago Bulls will honor the 1995/96 team that won 72 games and a championship in a "first-of-its-kind celebration" tonight.

Why it matters: The team is arguably the greatest in Chicago sports history, but divisions between its star players make reunions difficult to pull off.

What's happening: The Bulls are starting a "Ring of Honor" to celebrate individual players and collective teams that have made significant contributions to the franchise.

  • Last night, the franchise held a private gala celebrating the '96 team as its first inductees. Tonight's halftime ceremony tonight will honor them in front of fans.
  • A gallery of memorabilia and photos is also being displayed in the United Center atrium.
Photo of sports memorabilia in a lobby exhibit
Part of the "Ring of Honor" exhibit in the atrium of the United Center. Photo: Moyo Adeolu/Axios

The intrigue: The '96 Bulls included several superstars, including the most famous basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan. But Jordan hasn't shown much love to the Bulls franchise since he left in 1999.

Catch up fast: Since the 2020 Netflix mega-hit "The Last Dance" was released, several of the team's stars have come forward to question MJ's narrative, including Scottie Pippen.

  • Pippen went as far as to lambaste Jordan in the press, adding more friction to their already sticky relationship.
  • Of note: Pippen says he was fired as an ambassador to the team in 2019, and in 2021, he alleged his former coach Phil Jackson was racist.

What they're saying: When asked for who would be at the halftime ceremony tonight, the Bulls declined to comment. But owner Jerry Reindsorf told reporters last night that both Jordan and Pippen will not be attending.

  • Several players did attend last night's private gala, including Tony Kukoc, Luc Longley and Steve Kerr. Kerr is here because he's coaching the opposing Warriors tonight.

The bottom line: Regardless of who attends, fans will get a chance to relive one of the most memorable teams in not just Chicago history, but American sports history.

Photo of a team photo for a basketball team.
The 1995-96 Chicago Bulls team photo. Photo: NBA Photo Library/ NBAE/ Getty Images
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