The Greatest Moment in Chicago Bulls Playoff History (Has Nothing to Do with Michael Jordan)

Reflections on Chicago basketball, sports fandom, and the seventh championship that never was.

Mickey Desruisseaux
21 min readApr 22, 2022

Look… I know.

Just let me explain.

It’s April 16th, 2011, and the first game of the NBA playoffs is about to get underway at Chicago’s ever-raucous United Center.

The visiting Indiana Pacers are in town to take on the hometown Bulls, who come into the game with the best record in the league, a nine-game winning streak, and the talents of the soon-to-be-minted league MVP, local hero Derrick Rose. The expectation throughout the city is that these playoffs will end in the team’s first championship since the days of Michael Jordan, even with the specter of the Miami Heat’s three-headed hydra looming on the horizon. And as for our neighbors to the southwest, well… the poor Pacers are destined to be a mere steppingstone on the path to glory, nothing more. For Christ’s sake, they didn’t even finish with a winning record this season! This first game — this whole series, really — is little more than a formality, and once the ball is tipped, there won’t be a Bulls fan alive who doesn’t think the game will end with the home team on top.

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Mickey Desruisseaux

Scribbling at the intersection of race, law, politics, and pop culture. A monster of many words trying to be a man of all of them.