Chicago Bulls All-Time Roster & Why

Chicago Bulls All-Time Roster and Why

Every team in the NBA can put together an all-time roster of some of the greatest to ever play, but the Chicago Bulls all-time roster might be one of the best. They dominated the NBA in the late-1980s and most of the 1990s, but continue to house some amazing talent to this day.

The Chicago Bulls are one of the most storied franchises in NBA history. They’ve created some of the most memorable and historical moments over the past 50+ years and have developed some of the greatest players of all-time. They’re a franchise that will forever be remembered. 

Founded in 1966, the Bulls have six NBA Championships (in an eight-year span) and have had 26 winning seasons since joining the league. They’ve made the playoffs 35 times and have had a player named MVP six times, rookie of the year three times, and sixth man of the year twice.

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Which Players Make the Chicago Bulls All-Time Roster?

Chicago Bulls All-Time Roster & Why
Ulora / Shutterstock

The Chicago Bulls’ history can be wrapped into three eras — the pre-Jordan era, the Jordan era, and the post-Jordan era. The team was on the come-up in the pre-Jordan era, peaked during the Jordan era, and have been trying to find that spark again in the post-Jordan era.

Along the way, many talented players have sported the red, black and white. Some of them had better careers than others, but they collectively embody what it means to be a Chicago Bull. If it weren’t for them, the Chicago Bulls wouldn’t be as respected in the league as they are today. 

With so many talented players to choose from, putting together a Chicago Bulls all-time roster isn’t that easy. There are a variety of ways you can go about it and several players to consider at each position. Without further ado, let’s take a look at our Chicago Bulls’ all-time roster. 

Point Guard – Derrick Rose

Years w/ Chicago: 2008-2016 (7 seasons)

Stats w/ Chicago: 406 games, 35.0 minutes, 19.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.4 blocks per game

Championships w/ Chicago: none

Honorable Mentions: Norm Van Lier (1971-78), John Paxson (1985-94), B.J. Armstrong (1989-95), Kirk Hinrich (2003-10, 2012-16)

The Chicago Bulls drafted Derrick Rose with the first overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. He was coming off an impressive freshman year at the University of Memphis, where he tallied 14.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 1.2 steals per game in 40 games (39 games started).

Despite losing to the University of Kansas in the National Championship game, Rose entered the NBA as one of the most hyped prospects in 2008 — which is saying a lot for a draft that included Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, Brook Lopez, Michael Beasley, and Serge Ibaka.

Rose’s rookie year went as well as the Bulls’ hoped for. He secured the Rookie of the Year award with 16.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and 0.8 blocks in 81 games. By his third year in the league, he was averaging 25.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, 7.7 assists, and 1.0 steals per game. 

After being named the Most Valuable Player in 2010-11, becoming the second player in Bulls’ history to be named MVP and ROY, injuries would soon take over his entire career. He only played in 39 games in 2011-12, eventually tearing his ACL in the playoffs that same year. 

Rose would go on to miss the entire 2012-13 season and made his return to the Bulls in 2013-14. He struggled in his return and only played 10 games before tearing his meniscus and missing the rest of the season. He played 51 games in 2014-15 and 66 games in 2015-16. 

Although injuries derailed his Bulls’ career, there’s no reason why Derrick Rose wouldn’t make the Chicago Bulls’ all-time roster at point guard. We can only imagine just how good his career would’ve been if it weren’t for the injuries. Either way, he’s clearly their best point guard all-time.

Shooting Guard – Michael Jordan

Years w/ Chicago: 1984-1998 (13 seasons)

Stats w/ Chicago: 930 games, 38.6 minutes, 31.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 2.5 steals, and 0.5 blocks per game

Championships w/ Chicago: 6 (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998)

Honorable Mentions: Zach LaVine (2017-present), Jerry Sloan (1966-76), Ben Gordon (2004-09), Steve Kerr (1993-1998), Reggie Theus (1978-84)

Michael Jordan isn’t just one of the greatest Chicago Bulls’ players of all-time, he’s widely regarded as the single greatest player ever, period. The Bulls drafted him with the third overall pick in the 1984 NBA Draft — behind Sam Bowie (No. 2) and Hakeem Olajuwon (No. 1). 

Jordan was coming off an impressive three-year career at the University of North Carolina. He averaged 30.8 minutes, 17.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.7 steals, and 0.7 blocks per game in 101 total games for the Tar Heels — including a National Championship in 1982. 

He made an instant impact in his rookie year with Chicago, starting all 82 games and winning Rookie of the Year after helping his team to the playoffs for the first time in four years. After suffering a broken foot the following year and missing most of the season, he went off. 

Over the next seven years, Michael Jordan averaged more than 30.1 points per game each year and he was named Most Valuable Player three times. His team won more than 50 games five times, more than 60 games twice, and won the NBA Championship three years straight. 

After pursuing a career in baseball and missing the 1993-94 season, Jordan returned to the Bulls and made an immediate impact once again. Despite a Conference Finals loss to the Magic in 1995, he led the Bulls to another three-straight NBA Championships in 1996, 1997, and 1998. 

Jordan ended his career with six titles, five MVPs, six Finals MVPs, one Rookie of the Year, one Defensive Player of the Year, 14 All-Star appearances, 10-time scoring champion, three-time steal champion, and three-time All-Star MVPs. He’s the GOAT and always will be the GOAT. 

Small Forward – Scottie Pippen

Years w/ Chicago: 1987-1998 (12 seasons)

Stats w/ Chicago: 856 games, 35.4 minutes, 17.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 2.1 steals, and 0.9 blocks per game

Championships w/ Chicago: 6 (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998)

Honorable Mentions: Jimmy Butler (2011-17), Luol Deng (2004-2014), Bob Love (19668-76), Toni Kukoč (1993-2000)

Scottie Pippen was originally drafted by the Seattle Supersonics with the fifth overall pick in 1987, but the Chicago Bulls ushered a draft day trade that eventually brought the young forward to Chi-Town. It will go down as one of the best and most meaningful trades in Bulls’ history. 

Pippen had a unique journey to the NBA. He played college ball at Central Arkansas, making the team as a walk-on. Despite only standing 6’1’’ coming out of high school, he grew to be 6’8’’ while at Central Arkansas and started drawing attention from NBA scouts by his senior year. 

During his rookie season with the Bulls, Pippen played in 79 games and was averaging just 7.9 points per game as backup to Brad Sellers. By his third season, Pippen was a regular starter and was averaging 16.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 2.6 steals, and 1.2 blocks per game.

During the Bulls’ three-peat from 1991-1993, Pippen was an instrumental piece to the offense and defense. He was Michael Jordan’s right hand man and was one of the best forwards in the league. He averaged a then-career-best 21.0 points per game during the 1991-92 season. 

When Jordan left to play baseball, Pippen averaged a career-high 22.0 points, 8.7 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 2.9 steals, and 0.8 blocks per game. He then averaged more than 19.1 points per game over the next four seasons, helping Jordan and the Bulls win three more championships. 

All in all, Pippen ended his career with seven All-Star appearances, six NBA titles, and an induction into the Hall of Fame. He was named a seven-time All-NBA player, a 10-time All-Defensive player, a one-time All-Star MVP, and a one-time stealing champion in 1995. 

Power Forward – Dennis Rodman

Years w/ Chicago: 1995-1998 (3 seasons)

Stats w/ Chicago: 199 games, 29.8 minutes, 5.2 points, 15.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 0.6 steals, and 0.3 blocks per game

Championships w/ Chicago: 3 (1996, 1997, 1998)

Honorable Mentions: Horace Grant (1987-94), Charles Oakley (1985-88; 2001-02), Carlos Boozer (2010-14), Taj Gibson (2009-17)

You would have to make quite the impression to play just three years with the Chicago Bulls and be named to the team’s all-time roster — but that’s what Dennis Rodman did. He was just as iconic as Michael Jordan, though for entirely different reasons both on and off the court. 

Rodman started his career with the Detroit Pistons as a second round draft choice in 1986 — two years after Jordan entered the league. In fact, he was a big part of the reason why the Pistons defeated the Bulls in the playoffs in three straight seasons from 1988-1990. 

From 1993-1995, Dennis Rodman played two seasons for the San Antonio Spurs, helping David Robinson and company to the conference finals in his final season with the team. At that time, the Bulls were looking for a replacement for long-time great power forward Horace Grant.

The Bulls traded for Rodman ahead of the 1995-96 season and it was a match made in heaven. Rodman had led the league in rebounding four years prior to that move and he achieved it each of the three years he spent with the Bulls. He’s one of the greatest rebounders of all-time. 

Of course, those three years he spent with Chicago were the same three years he helped Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen secure another three-peat. After that third title, Rodman was released as the Bulls entered a massive rebuilding phase, which spurred the post-Jordan era. 

By the end of his career, Dennis Rodman had won five NBA championships, was the Defensive Player of the Year twice, was a two-time All-NBA player, an eight-time All-Defensive player, and a seven-time rebounding champion. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011. 

Center – Artis Gilmore

Years w/ Chicago: 1976-1982 (7 seasons)

Stats w/ Chicago: 482 games, 34.8 minutes, 19.3 points, 11.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.6 steals, and 2.1 blocks per game

Championships w/ Chicago: none

Honorable Mentions: Joakim Noah (2007-16), Tom Boerwinkle (1968-78), Bill Cartwright (1988-94), Dave Corzine (1982-89)

Artis Gilmore was drafted by the Chicago Bulls with the first overall pick in the 1976 dispersal draft, which occurred after the NBA-ABA merger. He had played his previous five seasons with the Kentucky Colonels of the ABA, but the Bulls had future rights secured from a previous draft.

Gilmore had already established himself as one of the best players in ABA, earning Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player during the 1971-72 season. He led the league in rebounding four times, blocks twice, and was named an All-Star five times in his five-year ABA career. 

In his first year with the Chicago Bulls, Gilmore averaged 18.6 points, 13.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 2.5 blocks per game. He helped the Bulls earn a playoff spot that same year, despite missing the playoffs the previous season — Dick Motta’s last season as head coach.

Gilmore would average more than 22.9 points and 12.7 rebounds per game over the next two seasons. Though the team missed the playoffs each of those seasons, Gilmore’s play was both dominant and consistent on offense and defense. He established himself as a true NBA threat.

In his final three years with the Bulls, Gilmore averaged 17.8 points (1979-80), 17.9 points (19780-81), and 18.5 points (1981-82) per game. He led the league in field goal percentage twice and helped the team to the Conference Finals before getting swept by the New York Knicks. 

Gilmore never won a championship with the Chicago Bulls, but his dominance certainly earns him a spot on the Chicago Bulls’ all-time roster. He was the greatest 7-footer to ever play in Chicago and was inducted into the The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011. 

Sixth Man – Jerry Sloan

Years w/ Chicago: 1966-1976 (10 seasons)

Stats w/ Chicago: 696 games, 35.6 minutes, 14.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game

Championships w/ Chicago: none

Honorable Mentions: Jimmy Butler (2011-17), Horace Grant (1987-94), Zach LaVine (2017-present), Luol Deng (2004-14)

Jerry Sloan is often regarded as the ‘Original Bull’ or ‘Mr. Bull’ after being drafted by the Chicago Bulls in the 1966 expansion draft. It was the team’s inaugural season in the NBA and they wanted to make a statement. With Jerry Sloan’s help, that’s exactly what they did in 1966-67.

Along with Guy Rodgers and Bob Boozer, Jerry Sloan helped lead the Bulls to the playoffs in their inaugural year before losing to the Atlanta Hawks in the Division Semifinals. Sloan and company would help lead the Bulls to eight playoff appearances in the team’s first nine years. 

During his 10-year career with the Bulls, Jerry Sloan averaged double-digit points every single year and was regularly the team’s leading rebounder — despite being a 6’5’’ shooting guard. He also played stout defense, regularly averaging more than two steals per game with the Bulls. 

The Chicago Bulls would eventually retire Jerry Sloan’s jersey as he embodied everything the franchise stands for and was built on. His tenacious defending, quality rebounding, and consistent scoring was the reason why the Bulls were a playoff contender right out the gate.

All in all, Sloan was a two-time All-Star, four-time All-Defensive player, and helped the Bulls to back-to-back conference finals appearances. He will forever be remembered as one of the greatest players in Bulls’ history and deserves a spot on the Chicago Bulls all-time roster. 

After his playing days, Sloan went on to enjoy a 30-year coaching career in the NBA. He was named the Bulls’ head coach from 1979-1981 — just a few years after retiring as a player — and joined the Utah Jazz’s coaching staff for the next 25+ years — including 23 as head coach. 

The Chicago Bulls All-Time Roster is Stacked!

The Chicago Bulls all-time roster features some of the greatest players to ever step foot on the court. They’ve helped define what the Chicago Bulls’ franchise is all about and are the reason why they’re one of the most-liked franchises in the entire NBA — and have been for a while. 

Today, the Bulls are led by Zach LaVine, along with Nikola Vucevic, DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball, and Alex Caruso. Although the team hasn’t made the playoffs since 2017 and hasn’t won a playoff game since 2015, they seem destined to make their way back in 2021-22. 

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We might not know exactly what the future has in store for the Chicago Bulls, but we do know what the franchise has done in the past. As we reminisce about the Chicago Bulls’ all-time roster, we look back at some of the best players to ever sport the Bulls’ jersey with pride.

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