10.01.2013

Cousy -- '97 Bulls Ain't No Thang

June 2, 1997

Michael Jordan is the greatest. But these Chicago Bulls aren't.

"This is certainly a terrific team," says Bob Cousy, who has played on a few great ones himself, "but I don't rank them up there with the all-time best. People are going a little too fast when they put this team in that category."

Cousy has seen all the great ones. He came into the league in the 1950s when the Minneapolis Lakers were the first NBA dynasty, and has watched others grow and fade ever since.

"You look at George Mikan's Lakers, or our Celtic teams, or some of Wilt Chamberlain's teams in Philly, or Magic Johnson and the Lakers - all of the teams that had a long run - and they had two things: the great center and a standout point guard," says Cousy. "The Bulls have neither. They have Michael, in my opinion the greatest player ever, and Scottie Pippen, a very good small forward. The rest of the team is just average, but players who become very good with the presence of Jordan.

"Take him out of that lineup, and the rest of them" - Pippen excluded - "are just average. The team would be the same way. What a luxury it must be to play with Michael. He can control a game. He can make all the shots. At the end of the game, he wants to take every big shot. I don't care who you are - when it comes down to taking the last shot in a big game, everyone gets a little tight. I felt bad for poor Karl Malone in the first game, missing those two foul shots at the end. We've all been there. It happens.

"I think it will hurt the Jazz in the long run. I think if they won that first game, they would get the idea they could beat the Bulls. In the second game, they came out very tentative. Guys like John Stockton and Jeff Hornacek were passing up shots they would normally take, and you can't beat Chicago that way." Aside from getting a solid grasp of the new terminology used by Pete Carrolls's staff, Drew Bledsoe is focusing on two areas in which to keep improving.

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