Blog, Sports History

The Start of a Dynasty

By: Heidi Samuelson
Jun 12 2021

Thirty years ago today, the Chicago Bulls won their first NBA championship with a 108–101 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. With a starting lineup of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, Bill Cartwright, and John Paxson, and led by head coach Phil Jackson, the Bulls won the final series in five games. This victory marked the start of the Bulls’ dominance in the 1990s, and they would go on to win five more championships in ’92, ’93, ’96, ’97, and ’98. The Chicago Sun-Times captured these images from Game 2 at Chicago Stadium on June 5, 1991.

Michael Jordan attempts to steal the ball from Vlade Divac
Michael Jordan (Bulls #23) thinks about going for the steal against Lakers center Vlade Divac (#12), Chicago, June 5, 1991. ST-50004141-0006, Chicago Sun-Times collection, CHM

Magic Johnson holds the basketball while Scottie Pippen defends
Scottie Pippen (Bulls #33) guards Magic Johnson (Lakers #32), in what would be the last championship series of Johnson’s Hall of Fame career. Though the series was billed as a matchup of Jordan vs. Johnson, Pippen defended Johnson throughout the Finals, Chicago, June 5, 1991, ST-50004141-0046, Chicago Sun-Times collection, CHM

A young Bulls fan in the crowd holds a sign that reads “Magic is just an illusion"
A young Bulls fan holds a sign that reads “Magic is just an illusion,” Chicago, June 5, 1991. ST-50004141-0017, Chicago Sun-Times collection, CHM

Sam Perkins and Michael Jordan stand next to each other during the game
Sam Perkins (Lakers #14) and Michael Jordan (Bulls #23) were former teammates at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1981 to 1984. ST-50004141-0008, Chicago Sun-Times collection, CHM

In the middle of a game Bill Cartwright is guarded with the ball looking to pass
Bulls center Bill Cartwright (#24) looks for an open man while being guarded by Mychal Thompson (Lakers #43), Chicago, June 5, 1991. ST-50004141-0024, Chicago Sun-Times collection, CHM

Scott Williams on ground being helped up by teammates
John Paxson (#5), Cliff Levingston (#53), and Horace Grant (#54) help up teammate Scott Williams (#42) after a hard fall, Chicago, June 5, 1991. ST-50004141-0003, Chicago Sun-Times collection, CHM

Bulls mascot waves a Bulls flag on the court during a timeout
Benny the Bull (played by Dan LeMonnier) keeps the cheers going during a timeout, Chicago, June 5, 1991. ST-50004141-0085, Chicago Sun-Times collection, CHM

Referee signaling a jump ball with three players on the court
The referee calls a jump ball as Horace Grant (Bulls #54, wearing goggles) and Vlade Divac of the Lakers struggle for possession, Chicago, June 5, 1991. ST-50004141-0011, Chicago Sun-Times collection, CHM

Michael Jordan with the ball being defended by James Worthy
Michael Jordan with the ball goes up against Lakers great James Worthy (#42), who was playing limited minutes due to an ankle injury he sustained during game 5 of the Western Conference finals against the Portland Trailblazers, Chicago, June 5, 1991. ST-50004141-0020, Chicago Sun-Times collection, CHM

Blues Brother in a Bulls uniform entertains the crowd during a timeout
Blues Brother “Joliet” Jake Elwood (played by Fred Bevier) entertains the crowd, Chicago, June 5, 1991. ST-50004141-0081, Chicago Sun-Times collection, CHM

Will Perdue going for a shot block at the Lakers basket
Will Perdue (Bulls #32) goes for the block as Terry Teagle (Lakers #20) and Craig Hodges (Bulls #14) fight for position under the basket, Chicago, June 5, 1991. ST-50004141-0078, Chicago Sun-Times collection, CHM

Scottie Pippen going for a layup with three Lakers defenders around him
Scottie Pippen (#33) gets past Laker defenders Sam Perkins (#14), A. C. Green (#45), and Vlade Divac (#12), Chicago, June 5, 1991. ST-50004141-0035, Chicago Sun-Times collection, CHM

Coach Phil Jackson stands on the sidelines
Bulls Coach Phil Jackson on the sidelines during the game. The 1991 championship would mark the first of eleven won by Jackson as an NBA head coach. He would go on to win five as head coach of the Lakers. Chicago, June 5, 1991. ST-50004141-0088, Chicago Sun-Times collection, CHM

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