Where Are the 1996 Chicago Bulls Now?
The phrase "70 wins don’t mean a thing without the ring" became popular when the 73-9 Golden State Warriors failed to win it all, but the phrase originated back in 1996. That was the year the Chicago Bulls blitzed the NBA and set a league record by posting a 72-10 record. But most importantly, they capped the season off by winning their fourth title in six years and kicked off the second three-peat in franchise history.
The '96 Bulls were one of the first "Rock Star" teams in the NBA as fans lined up in airports and hotels. Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman were John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. But the team goes beyond those three big names and Phil Jackson. We will explore all of the components that made those Bulls arguably the greatest team in NBA history.
Where are the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls now? Here is what the team has been doing since hoisting the Larry O'Brien Trophy 25 years ago.
Michael Jordan, Shooting Guard
NBA experience: 15 years (1984-93, 1995-98, 2001-03)
Years with Bulls: 13 (1984-93, 1994-98)
Career stats: 30.1 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 5.3 APG
1995-96 stats: 30.4 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 4.3 APG
1995-96 postseason stats: 30.7 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 4.1 APG
Now: Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan’s first full season following his baseball stint went about as well as one could imagine. League MVP, scoring champion, All-Star Game MVP, NBA Finals MVP and his fourth ring in six years. Oh, and along the way, he led the Bulls to the best regular-season record in NBA history with a 72-10 record.
The success that Jordan experienced as a player with the Bulls has eluded him as an owner with Charlotte although he’s still made history in that respect. He is the first former NBA player to become the majority owner of an NBA team and is also the only African-American owner in the NBA. In 2019, Charlotte successfully hosted NBA All-Star Weekend, and Jordan deserves credit for rebranding the Charlotte Bobcats into the Charlotte Hornets.
Despite the lack of team success for the Hornets, who ironically rank 23rd out of 30 NBA teams in wins since Jordan took over in 2010, the franchise’s valuation has increased from $175 million to $1.5 billion.
Scottie Pippen, Small Forward
NBA experience: 17 years (1987-04)
Years with Bulls: 12 years (1987-98, 2003-04)
Career stats: 16.1 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 5.2 APG
1995-96 stats: 19.4 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 5.9 APG
1995-96 postseason stats: 16.9 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 5.9 APG
Now: Scottie Pippen
The 1996 season was Scottie Pippen’s third straight in which he made both first-team All-NBA and first-team all-defense. He was the perfect point forward for the Bulls’ triangle offense and led the team in assists while ranking second in scoring.
Pippen served as a special adviser to Bulls president and COO Michael Reinsdorf for a few years before being fired in 2020. "It probably is a good thing [I was fired], right?" Pippen said. "I like to associate myself with winning."
Pippen is a contributor for the ESPN NBA show "The Jump," and his son, Scottie Jr., is following in his father’s footsteps and plays at Vanderbilt University on a scholarship.
Dennis Rodman, Power Forward
NBA experience: 14 years (1986-2000)
Years with Bulls: 3 years (1995-98)
Career stats: 7.3 PPG, 13.1 RPG, 1.8 APG
1995-96 stats: 5.5 PPG, 14.9 RPG, 2.5 APG
1995-96 postseason stats: 7.5 PPG, 13.7 RPG, 2.1 APG
Now: Dennis Rodman
"The Worm" was the Bulls’ biggest offseason addition before the 1995-96 season, and all it cost Chicago was backup center Will Perdue. After battling Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen for years with the "Bad Boys" Pistons, Rodman was now teaming with his former rivals, and that trio became perhaps the best defensive threesome in NBA history.
Of all of the post-NBA career paths, the role of diplomat was the least likely for Rodman, but that’s what he has become in recent years. He developed a friendship with Kim Jong Un of North Korea and has attempted to smooth relations between that nation and the United States.
Rodman has also felt the backlash from his visits with Kim Jong Un and says he has faced hostility from his own country for meeting with Kim.
Ron Harper, Point Guard
NBA experience: 15 years (1986-01)
Years with Bulls: 5 years (1994-99)
Career stats: 13.8 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 3.9 APG
1995-96 stats: 7.4 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 2.6 APG
1995-96 postseason stats: 8.8 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 2.5 APG
Now: Ron Harper
The nominal point guard on the 1996 Bulls, Ron Harper was another shooting guard on the floor and averaged just 2.6 assists per game. He also was another long-armed defender along the perimeter that helped the Bulls post the best defensive rating in the NBA, and he was known for hitting big shots in clutch situations.
These days, "Hollywood" Harper has settled in his home state of Ohio, where he is a part-time golfer and full-time father. His son, Ron Jr., plays basketball at Rutgers, and Harper has kin on the professional level.
Harper is the godfather of R.J. Hunter, who had a game-winning three-pointer in the 2015 NCAA tournament. Harper and R.J.’s father, Ron, were teammates at the University of Miami (Ohio).
Luc Longley, Center
NBA experience: 10 years (1991-01)
Years with Bulls: 5 years (1993-98)
Career stats: 7.2 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 1.5 APG
1995-96 stats: 9.1 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 1.9 APG
1995-96 postseason stats: 8.3 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 1.6 APG
Now: Luc Longley
The first Australian-born player in NBA history, Luc Longley was courted by the Bulls because of his ability to operate as a passer in the low post. The Bulls traded for him in 1994, and he was promoted to the starting lineup for the 1995-96 season. The offense didn’t run through Longley, but he was a big presence on the defensive end of the court and led the Bulls in blocks.
Longley resides in his native Australia, where he is heavily involved with the country’s national basketball team. He serves as an assistant coach on the team and is the unofficial liaison for Australia’s NBA players such as Ben Simmons.
Toni Kukoc, Reserve Small Forward and Power Forward
NBA experience: 13 years (1993-06)
Years with Bulls: 1993-2000
Career stats: 11.6 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 3.7 APG
1995-96 stats: 13.1 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 3.5 APG
1995-96 postseason stats: 10.8 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 3.9 APG
Now: Toni Kukoc
With the addition of Dennis Rodman to the starting lineup, Toni Kukoc was bumped to the bench, where he became the Sixth Man of the Year. At 13 points per game, he was the only player besides Jordan and Pippen to average in double figures, and he remains the last player to win the Sixth Man of the Year award and an NBA championship in the same season.
Along with former Bull Horace Grant, Kukoc is also a special adviser to team president Michael Reinsdorf. Kukoc still resides in the Chicago area but has traded in his high-top sneakers for a pair of golf shoes and frequents the links quite often.
That is when he’s not watching golf instead, as Kukoc admitted that the Golf Channel is "pretty much the only channel that is on 24 hours a day in my house."
Steve Kerr, Reserve Point Guard and Shooting Guard
NBA experience: 15 years (1988-2003)
Years with Bulls: 5 years (1993-98)
Career stats: 6.0 PPG, 1.2 RPG, 1.8 APG
1995-96 stats: 8.4 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 2.3 APG
1995-96 postseason stats: 6.8 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 1.7 APG
Now: Steve Kerr
With Michael Jordan getting double-teamed pretty much every time he touched the ball, he needed a spot-up shooter, and no one was better at doing that than Steve Kerr. He finished second in the NBA in three-point percentage in the 95-96 season while also knocking down 93 percent of his free-throw attempts.
Kerr may be the only person on this list who is currently having more success than he did as a player. He is the one link between the two teams with the best records in NBA history since Kerr coached the Golden State Warriors to a 73-9 record in 2015-16.
After getting five rings as a player, Kerr has racked up three more as Warriors coach.
Bill Wennington, Reserve Center
NBA experience: 13 years (1985-91, 1993-00)
Years with Bulls: 6 years (1993-99)
Career stats: 4.6 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 0.6 APG
1995-96 stats: 5.3 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 0.6 APG
1995-96 postseason stats: 3.0 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 0.5 APG
Now: Bill Wennington
Even though he didn’t have three-point range, Bill Wennington was a bit ahead of his time as a jump-shooting big man who lived on the perimeter.
The Bulls’ second unit routinely ran plays for Wennington to get him his patented baseline jumper after penetration from the ballhandlers. He didn’t have much lift on his shot, but as a seven-footer, he didn’t need much and shot nearly 50 percent on the season.
Wennington is among many of the '96 Bulls still connected to the organization. He is a color commentator for the Bulls’ radio broadcast, a position he’s held since 2003. As a career backup, Wennington may not get a call from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, but the Montreal native was honored by being inducted into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame.
Randy Brown, Reserve Point Guard
NBA experience: 12 years (1991-03)
Years with Bulls: 1995-2000
Career stats: 4.8 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 2.2 APG
1995-96 stats: 2.7 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 1.1 APG
1995-96 postseason stats: 2.8 PPG, 0.6 RPG, 0.4 APG
Now: Randy Brown
A defensive specialist, Randy Brown was one of those guards who would always check into the last possession of each quarter in order to hound the opposing team’s ballhandler. For someone who was born and raised in Chicago, even a role that minimal still had to be a dream come true.
Like many of his former teammates, Brown also worked for the Bulls after his playing days were over. He was an assistant coach for three years in Chicago, and while he was a fan of management, the same can’t be said about how the players felt about him.
Bulls players reportedly saw Brown as a "mole" who would tell management things about players that he heard in the locker room.
Jud Buechler, Reserve Small Forward
NBA experience: 12 years (1990-02)
Years with Bulls: 4 years (1994-98)
Career stats: 3.3 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 0.8 APG
1995-96 stats: 3.8 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 0.8 APG
1995-96 postseason stats: 2.7 PPG, 0.6 RPG, 0.4 APG
Now: Jud Buechler
Jud Buechler was a valuable wing off the bench for the Bulls and provided some much-needed three-point shooting with Steve Kerr. Buechle was also known as a tenacious defender and what he lacked in the measurables such as size and length, he made up for with a dogged attitude that endeared him to fans.
It pays to have friends in high places, and Buechler’s friendship with Luke Walton enabled him to land a coaching position with the Lakers despite no prior coaching experience. Both Buechler and Walton are natives of San Diego who went to the University of Arizona, and after two seasons with the Lakers, Buechler joined the Knicks' coaching staff in 2018.
John Salley, Reserve Power Forward and Center
NBA experience: 11 years (1986-96, 1999-00)
Years with Bulls: 1 year (1995-96)
Career stats: 7.0 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.2 APG
1995-96 stats: 4.4 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 1.3 APG
1995-96 postseason stats: 0.9 PPG, 0.7 RPG, 0.4 APG
Now: John Salley
Another of the former "Bad Boy" Pistons who went to war against the Bulls, John Salley joined the team after a pair of two 10-day contracts late in the season. He played just one more game in the regular season (17) with Chicago than he played in the postseason (16). Salley was the team’s best shot blocker and saw minutes off the bench depending on the matchup.
With the exception of maybe Steve Kerr, Salley is the only player from the '96 Bulls who had more success in retirement than while playing. He became an actor and TV host, most notably as a host on VH1’s "Basketball Wives."
Salley also is an advocate of the use of cannabis and has launched his own brand, Deuces22.
James Edwards, Reserve Center
NBA experience: 19 years (1977-96)
Years with Bulls: 1 year (1995-96)
Career stats: 12.7 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 1.3 APG
1995-96 stats: 3.5 PPG, 1.4 RPG, 0.4 APG
1995-96 postseason stats: 1.8 PPG, 0.7 RPG, 0 APG
Now: James Edwards
Along with Dennis Rodman and John Salley, James "Buddha" Edwards was the last of the former "Bad Boy" Pistons to join the other side. Edwards was 40 years old in the 1995-96 season and was essentially the team’s third-string center.
Even though he won his third ring with the Bulls, Edwards always made his affection for the Pistons clear and moved back to the Detroit area in retirement.
He’s kept a low profile over the years, but he did work with fellow big man Todd MacCulloch prior to the latter being drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers.
John Paxson, Assistant Coach
Years with Bulls as coach/executive: 18 (1995-96, 2003-2020)
Now: John Paxson
A former player who won three titles with the Bulls during their first three-peat, John Paxson took one year off after retiring before rejoining the team as an assistant in 1995. At 35 years old, it seemed as though the Bulls were one sprained ankle away from calling on Paxson to suit up again, but Michael Jordan, Ron Harper and Steve Kerr played in 244 of a possible 246 games.
Paxson’s assistant coaching stint lasted for just one year, and he then turned to broadcasting before making his way into the front office. He was the general manager and vice president of basketball operations for the Bulls from 2003 to 2020, although things didn't go as swimmingly as his stints as a player or coach.
Over the 17 years Paxson was in charge, the Bulls had more head coaches (6) than playoff series victories (5).
Phil Jackson, Head Coach
NBA experience: 20 years (1989-98, 1999-04, 2005-11)
Years with Bulls: 9 years (1987-98)
Career record: 1,155 wins, 485 losses, .704 winning percentage
1995-96 record: 72-10
1995-96 postseason record: 15-3
Now: Phil Jackson
The Zen Master had his NBA career come full circle after his coaching career came to an end.
Drafted by the Knicks in 1967, Jackson parted ways with the Knicks 50 years later in 2017 following a disastrous stint as president of basketball operations. He’s kept a low-profile since then, and it seems as though his basketball career has come to a close.
Jackson currently resides in Montana but has also been spotted in Idaho, South Dakota and Wyoming, or about as far away from the hectic lifestyle of the NBA as possible.
Related:All-Time Chicago Bulls Team