PARIS – Not since the days of Michael Jordan have the Bulls found themselves playing basketball in the “City of Light,” but that opportunity is upon the current group this week.
For the first time in over 25 years, the organization is playing a game in Paris, France as they’ll face the Pistons at Accor Arena at 2 p.m. central time on Thursday. The Bulls arrived in the city on Monday after their win over the Warriors on Sunday at the United Center as they prepare for a very unique regular season game.
This will be the Bulls’ third contest played in Paris and their first since October 1997, when the team played a pair of exhibition games as part of the McDonald’s Championship.
On October 17, the Bulls beat PSG Racing 89-82 to advance to the title game, where they beat Olympiacos 104-78 the next day. That team was led by current Bulls executive VP Arturas Karnisovas.
It would be the start of Jordan’s final season with the Bulls and the last of their 1990s dynasty. They would finish the regular season with a 62-20 record before besting the Nets, Hornets, Pacers, and Jazz in the playoffs to win their sixth NBA championship.
Thursday will be the Bulls’ second regular season game outside of the United States and Canada in team history.
The previous contest was played in Mexico City on December 13, 2018 as the Bulls faced the Magic at Mexico City Arena, losing to Orlando 97-91.
Outside of the two games played in 1997, the Bulls had two other exhibition games they played overseas. On October 12, 2013, they traveled to Brazil for a preseason game against the Wizards, beating them 116-81 at HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro.
Four years earlier, on October 6, 2009, the Bulls beat the Jazz 102-101 in an exhibition contest in London at The 02 Arena.
As for the current team, the expectation is that guard DeMar DeRozan will return to the Bulls’ lineup against the Pistons on Thursday. He’s missed the last three contests with a right quad strain suffered in a defeat to the Celtics in Boston on January 9.
DeRozan is leading the team with 26.1 points per game with five rebounds and 4.9 assists per contest.