CHICAGO – One of the lasting images of the leader of the greatest stretch in the history of the Chicago Bulls is his last as their head coach.
On June 14, 1998, with Michael Jordan by his side holding up the NBA Finals MVP trophy, Phil Jackson hoisted the Larry O’Brien Trophy after the Bulls’ Game 6 win over the Jazz gave the team their sixth championship in the 1990s.
Everyone around then knew what happened after that, and those that didn’t found out through “The Last Dance” documentary that was released in the spring of 2020.
But some people might forget that there was one more chance for Jackson to return to be honored for his achievements as head coach of the Bulls from 1989-1998. It might be considered “The Last Dance” of “The Last Dance,” and it happened 23 years ago on Thursday.
On May 5, 1999, the Bulls rose a banner to the rafters of the United Center for Jackson in front of a sellout crowd that was watching the current team finish up their first regular season without a playoff appearance since the 1983-1984 season. Remember, the 1999 season was delayed until late January due to the NBA lockout so the regular season ended in early May.
Jackson’s banner was unveiled at halftime of the game with a number of people from his career at the ceremony, including John Paxson, Tex Winter, and Bill Bradley to name a few. Michael Jordan had a taped message for his former coach that was played on the videoboard.
The Basketball Hall of Fame coach would watch the banner be unveiled with family and then spoke to the crowd for a few minutes. He thanked owner Jerry Reinsdorf for the ceremony and then general manager Jerry Krause for hiring back in 1999, which were each followed by loud boos.
After that, Jackson urged fans in the stands to continue to be fans of the team and how much the dynasty had helped to bring the city together.
You can watch part of that speech and more on the moment on this #WGNTBT from Larry Hawley of WGN News Now in the video above.