Twenty-five years ago, the Chicago Bulls, led by Michael Jordan, officially took the Eastern Conference torch from their rivals, the Detroit Pistons.

From 1986-1990 the Bulls had taken steps toward becoming championship contenders as first they learned playoff lessons during first-round match-ups with the champion Celtics before then facing the Bad Boy Pistons three straight times.

The cast of Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, Bill Cartwright, John Paxson, BJ Armstrong & Co. coached by Phil Jackson won 61 regular-season games.

After sweeping the Knicks and eliminating Charles Barkley and the 76ers in five games, the Bulls clearly had that championship look as they sought revenge against a team that had been pushing them around for way too long.

The Bulls’ brilliance was apparent, but it was their grace and class that also remains impressive 25 years removed.

The Pistons would fade into the ’90s as their dynasty officially came to an end. For Chicago, this was the big leap that would catalyze a Bulls dynasty.

This is Part 3 of The Ode to ’91…

Previously:
Part 1: Larry Bird’s Last Great Playoff Performance
Part 2: The Height of the ‘Run TMC’ Warriors

Video produced by Eric Newman.