This is the first post for “The Legacies” series. These pro athletes are players who not only were among the best of the best, but they left a lasting effect that changed the game which they play.

Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman

From 1995 to 1997, the Chicago Bulls had one of the best teams ever in the National Basketball Association. The “Magic Trio,” more commonly known as Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman were three of the best players at the time in the NBA. With Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, the Bulls had a three-peat in 1991-1993. When Dennis Rodman joined the team, they had another three-peat in 1996-1998. Each player has his own distinct talents, which put together combines them into an unstoppable team.

First there was Michael Jordan. A former UNC player, Jordan was a shooting guard for the Bulls. He was the third pick in the first round of the 1984 NBA draft (after Sam Bowie and Hakeem Olajuwon). He played for the Bulls until his second retirement in 1999 (his first retirement was from 1993-1995). In 2001 he returned to the NBA and played with the Washington Wizards until his final retirement in 2003. Michael Jordan is a well-rounded player who can do pretty much anything. He was also very good in clutch situations. In 1991, he was the first player to win both the Championship and scoring title in the same season. Arguably, Jordan is the best player ever to play in the NBA.

Notable Achievements:

  • ACC Freshman of the Year: 1981-1982
  • NCAA Champion in 1982
  • 2x Consensus NCAA All-American First Team: 1983-1984
  • ACC Player of the Year in 1984
  • Oscar Robertson Trophy in 1984
  • Naismith College Player of the Year in 1984
  • John R. Wooden Award in 1984
  • Adolph Rupp Trophy in 1984
  • USBWA College Player of the Year: 1983-1984
  • 2x Olympic Gold Medalist: 1984, 1992
  • Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year in 1991
  • Six NBA Championships: in 1991-1993, and 1996-1998.
  • 5x Most Valuable Player: 1988, 1991-1991, 1996, 1998.
  • 14x NBA All-Star: 1985-1993, 1996-1998, 2002-2003
  • 6x NBA Finals MVP: 1991-1993, 1996-1998
  • 10x NBA Scoring Champion: 1987-1993, 1996-1998
  • NBA Defensive Player of the Year: 1988
  • 9x First-Team All-Defense: 1987-1993, 1996-1998
  • 10x All NBA First Team: 1987-1993, 1996-1998
  • All NBA Second Team in 1985
  • NBA Rookie of the Year in 1985
  • NBA All-Rookie First Team in 1985
  • 3x NBA All-Star Game MVP: 1988, 1996, 1998
  • 2x NBA Slam Dunk Contest Champion: 1987-1998
  • NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • Jersey #23 Retired by Chicago Bulls
  • Elected to North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame

Next comes Scottie Pippen, nicknamed “No Tippin’ Pippen.” Pippen played for Central Arkansas before going to the NBA draft in 1987. He was drafted by the Seattle Supersonics as a fifth pick in round 1 (after Reggie Williams, Dennis Hopson, Armon Gilliam, and David Robinson). That year he was traded to the Bulls for Olden Polynice, the 8th pick in the same draft. Pippen played for the Bulls until 1998. In 1999 he was traded to the Houston Rockets, who in 2000 traded him to the Portland Trail Blazers. He played for the Trail Blazers until 2003, when he signed with the Bulls. In 2004, he retired. Scottie Pippen mostly played small forward. He was also more of a defensive player, and only became a better shooter later in his career. Pippen has the third most amount of post-season games played after Robert Horry and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Notable Achievements:

    • 6x NBA Champion: 1991-1993, 1996-1998
    • 7x NBA All-Star: 1990, 1992-1997
    • NBA All-Star Game MVP in 1994
    • 3x All-NBA First-Team: 1994-1996
    • 2x All-NBA Second Team: 1992, 1997
    • 2x All-NBA Third Team: 1993, 1998
    • 8x First-Team All-Defense: 1992-1999.
    • 2x Second-Team All-Defense: 1991-2000
    • NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team
    • Jersey #33 Retired By Chicago Bulls
    • Elected to Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010
    • Member of the Olympic gold medal winning USA Men’s National Basketball Teams in 1992 and 1996
    •  1992 Olympic Basketball “Dream Team”, of which he was a member, was also elected to the Hall of Fame in 2010.

Dennis Rodman

    This brings me to Dennis Rodman. Dennis Rodman played for Cooke Country college, then Southeastern Oklahoma State, until he was drafted by the Detroit Pistons as an overall 27th pick of the second round of the 1986 NBA draft. In 1993 Rodman was traded to the San Antonio Spurs, which traded him to the Bulls in 1995. In 1999, he signed with the Los Angeles Lakers. In 2000, he signed with the Dallas Mavericks, and got to play for his home town. He was waived by the Mavericks that year after just 12 games, and officially retired from the NBA. Rodman played the positions of small forward and power forward. He is arguably the best defensive player ever in the NBA.

Notable Achievements:

  • First-Team All-Defense: 1989-1993, 1995-1996.
  • Second-Team All-Defense in 1994.
  • 2x Defensive Player of the Year: 1990-1991
  • NBA rebounding champion: 1992-1998.
  • 2x All-NBA Third Team: 1992, 1995
  • NBA All-Star: 1990, 1992.
  • Five NBA championships: 1989-1990, 1996-1998.
  • Jersey #10 Retired by Detroit Pistons

It is not hard to see why these three superstars became what was the greatest trio ever. Tar Heel Michael Jordan, crazy-haired Dennis Rodman, and Scottie Pippen (could not think of a unique adjective) all make up the infamous “Magic Trio” of the 1996-1998 Chicago Bulls. This trio will always stand as one of the best trios ever that changed the game of basketball and created a lasting legacy.