It’s difficult to call a circle a ring when its two largest parts are missing.
Still, the Bulls’ inaugural Ring of Honor festivities continued Thursday night without Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.
Dennis Rodman was also surprisingly absent from the evening, but expect the Hall of Fame rebounder to be able to join in on the halftime festivities when the Bulls host the Warriors on Friday.
Bulls president Jerry Reinsdorf is hoping for a better turnout, which includes two of the dynasty’s key building blocks.
When Reinsdorf was asked about the efforts to bring in Jordan and Pippen, he said: “I actually don’t know how much effort went into it. Obviously it would be better if everyone was here, but We know not everyone can be here. I believe Michael recorded something.”
Jordan’s video message was played during the dinner. He said multiple times that he was “frustrated” that he couldn’t be there.
Jordan thanked the Reinsdorfs for the honor and congratulated all of his former teammates, but there’s no doubt that his absence left a huge void on the night.
Do those two.
While legendary coach Phil Jackson (who certainly succeeded) did his best to continue repairing the relationship between Jordan and the team, Pippen’s situation still presented a much tougher solution.
The six-time champion was relieved of his ambassador/advisor duties in 2020, and while the organization did try to heal the discontent and bring Pippen on board, it was ultimately unsuccessful.
“I’m excited for everyone to be able to come, but we announced this six weeks ago,” said Michael Reinsdorf, president and CEO. “People have scheduling issues, so this is just our way of saying thank you to the players and staff, so that’s what we’re looking forward to.”
Jerry Reinsdorf has always taken a “show must go on” approach, and that’s exactly what happened. The evening began with a red carpet area and dinner before Michael Reinsdorf gave a welcome speech explaining the idea behind the Ring of Honor and what it means to the organization.
“That’s something we’re really proud of,” he said. “Having all the guys back and seeing guys like Ron Harper, Luke Longley and Toni (Kukoc) here.
“This is a big part of our history. “We won six championships in eight years and these players, the staff here, Phil Jackson coming back, it means a lot to the Chicago Bulls and it means a lot to our fans. Significant. “
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr stole the show. He joined broadcaster Adam Amin on stage to introduce Kukoc, Rodman, Jordan and Pippen.
Kerr tells each man’s story and talks about their importance in basketball history.
Jerry Reinsdorf shared his fondest memories with the media beforehand.
“Everyone here plays a big role in this team and it’s great to see people we haven’t seen in a while,” Reinsdorf said. “I just wish Jerry Krause was still alive and that he could be here.
“My best memory is (Jordan’s) Craig Aello shot (against the Cavaliers in 1989) because that’s where it all started.
“I remember being in the stadium that’s named (Ritchfield Coliseum) with Jerry Krause and Karen Stack, and Michael made that shot. The three of us started Hugging each other, jumping up and down.
“Then all of a sudden, I remembered where we were. I said, ‘Jerry, we gotta get out of here.’ Cleveland fans aren’t usually the most hospitable.”