Guided by head coach, Phil Jackson, the Bulls also had a dynamic supporting centered around notables like Dennis Rodman, Horace Grant, Steve Kerr and more.
Million Dollar Question: What was it actually like to step on the court with the Bulls?
Retired NBA vet, Kendall Gill did it a ton during his career. I covered Gill during his days as a member of the New Jersey Nets in the late 90s. Gill, a Chicagoland icon is now an analyst at NBC Sports Chicago.
On Friday, Gill appeared on the Scoop B Radio Podcast and revealed the talent level of the Bulls in the late 90s.
Check out a snippet from our Q&A below:
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: You led the Nets to the ’98 Playoffs. That was the year that you led the team in assists and I remember that team for those who are listening – John Calipari was the head coach. Sam Cassell, Kerry Kittles, Keith Van Horn, Jayson Williams, Sherman Douglas, Chris Gatling all those guys on the team… you played the Chicago Bulls in the First Round. Was it a surreal experience when you being from the Chicago area and to go toe-to-toe with Michael Jordan?
Kendall Gill: No, no. It wasn’t surreal for me. See the thing was I didn’t suffer from the “Mike Tyson Effect”. You remember how Mike Tyson used to have his opponents beat before they got to the stadium? Michael and Scottie and them, they had a lot of those guys beat before they even walked in the United Center, ok? I WASN’T one of those guys. So, I relished playing against them and you know, it was a good playoff experience. You could tell the difference between them in the regular season and playoffs because they were a whole lot more intense than they were in the regular season. Especially in Game 2 because – I believe we went into overtime in Game 1in that series and they did not want to give us any hope at all so they came out really tough in Game 2. However, we still played well in Game 2, unfortunately we swept 0-3 in that series but, it was a good experience, I liked playing against the World Champions but it wasn’t surreal for me. No.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: The Chicago Bulls documentary airs on ESPN pretty soon and it was the ’98 season that they chronicled. In your mind, guarding guys like Scottie, Scott Burrell, Michael in ’98…what was the difference in that championship team in ’98 versus the 72-10 season Bulls back then? Were there differences between those two teams from your vantage point?
Kendall Gill: I didn’t think that there were too many differences. I think that they were the same team. The thing was though; they knew that this was the last time that they were going to be together. So I think that there was a bit more seriousness; because the writing was on the wall. Phil Jackson was not going to come back unless he was running things, Jerry Krause I believe wanted to start over and go into another direction – what reason I still don’t know why you would want to break up a dynasty, but I think the seriousness of the moment was different because they knew that this was the LAST time that they were going to do this. It was an end of an era and they were right!