The Chicago Bulls was founded in 1966, and unlike several NBA franchises have never relocated. They have no connection to the modern day Atlanta Hawks which was once the Tri-Cities Blackhawks from 1946-1951 and located in Moline, Illinois.
The Bulls trail only the storied Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics for total NBA championships won, thanks exclusively to their dynastic run in the 1990s. In fact, several players from the Chicago Bulls dynasty have made this list.
Here is a look at the ten best players to ever lace up for the Chicago Bulls.
Toni Kukoc – Kukoc got a harsh initiation into what NBA life could be like at the Olympics when Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan – slighted that their General Manager was fawning over the foreign prospect – set out to shut him down, and largely succeeded. Kukoc would eventually become their teammate on the Bulls and prove a valuable asset coming off the bench.
Kirk Hinrich – A undersized combo guard that was drafted to replace the injured Jay Williams, Hinrich provided immediate shooting for the Bulls. He even successfully collected one All-Defensive Team selection. Hinrich had two separate stints with the franchise
10. Ben Gordon
Career stats with Bulls: 18.5 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 3.0 APG, 0.8 SPG (2004-2009)
Another undersized combo guard, Gordon largely played back-up to Kirk Hinrich, though sometimes they played together. Gordon was an effective spark plug for the team, providing immediate offense off the bench and winning Sixth Man of the Year Award as a rookie.
9. Joakim Noah
Career stats with Bulls: 9.3 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 3.0 APG, 0.8 SPG (2007-2016)
Noah is a defensive minded big man that was drafted by the Chicago Bulls with the 9th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft. A ferocious rebounder and dedicated rim protector, Noah has accumulated two NBA All-Star selections, two All-Defensive Team selections and even won Defensive Player of the Year in 2014.
8. Luol Deng
Career stats with Bulls: 21.3 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 1.3 APG, 0.5 SPG (2004-2013)
A versatile wing, Luol Deng spent a decade with the franchise. Though he was never quite the dynamic scorer that Bulls’ fans hoped he would be, he did amass two All-Star selections and one All-Defensive Second Team selection during his time in Chicago.
7. Horace Grant
Career stats with Bulls: 12.6 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 1.1 APG, 1.1 SPG (1987-1994)
Horace Grant was an excellent defensive center in his prime and his best years as a player were undeniably spent with the Chicago Bulls. From 1993 to 1996, Grant garnered four consecutive All-Defensive Second Team selections and was an important piece in the Bulls’ first three-peat.
6. Jimmy Butler
Career stats with Bulls: 15.6 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 3.1 APG, 1.5 SPG (2011-2017)
Jimmy Butler was selected with the final pick in the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft and did not enter the league with much fanfare. In his fourth season however, capitalizing on injuries that Derrick Rose suffered, Butler was able to significantly ramp up his production and even won Most Improved Player of the Year.
5. Derrick Rose
Career stats with Bulls: 19.7 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 6.2 APG, 0.8 SPG (2008-2016)
Considered one of the biggest “what-ifs” in NBA history, Derrick Rose was the youngest NBA MVP in league history and an explosive point guard that could score in bunches. After missing the entire 2012-13 season after tearing his ACL, Rose was never quite the same. Injury notwithstanding however, Rose certainly left an indelible mark on the franchise.
Career stats with Bulls: 19.3 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 2.5 APG, 0.6 SPG (1976 -1982; 1987)
Gilmore was a dominant and towering, big man that got his start in the ABA. Though his best years were statistically as a member of the Kentucky Colonels in the ABA, Artis was an effective scorer, rebounder, and rim protector for the Bulls for several years.
3. Chet Walker
Career stats with Bulls: 20.6 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 2.3 APG, N/A SPG (1969-1975)
Chet Walker was an outstanding shooter and dynamic wing for the Chicago Bulls. He would go on to accrue multiple All-Star selections and was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
2. Scottie Pippen
Career stats with Bulls: 17.7 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 5.3 APG, 2.1 SPG (1987-1998; 2003-04)
Sometimes affectionately referred to as the best sidekick in NBA history, Scottie Pippen was precisely the type of player you would want on your team and despise playing against. A capable scorer in his own right, he was also a gifted with excellent court vision and elite defensive chops.
1. Michael Jordan
Career stats with Bulls: 31.5 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 5.4 APG, 2.5 SPG (1984-1993; 1994-1998)
Almost nothing needs to be said here. With few exceptions, Jordan is widely considered to be the best player in NBA history regardless of position. His accolades are as impressive as they are extensive. Unlike many on this list MJ was elite both as a scorer and as a defender. His status as a cultural icon is merely coincidental to his on-court greatness.
Clint is an avid fan of the Los Angeles Lakers, and contributed to various sports publications prior to his work with Upside Hoops.