Sure, some sports are back. But "sports" as we know them are largely still on pause due to the coronavirus pandemic. Today is Day 69 Without Sports 🏀.
In the closing scenes of "The Last Dance," Chicago Bulls players tell the story of how coach Phil Jackson, nicknamed the "Zen Master," held a ritual in which players wrote what the team meant to them and then tossed that note into a coffee can to be burned at the conclusion of the 1997-98 season. Michael Jordan even wrote a poem.
In Jackson's book "Eleven Rings," he wrote: "I took comfort in the knowledge that letting go is a necessary, if sometimes heart-wrenching, gateway to genuine transformation."
Considered one of the best basketball teams of all-time after a second three-peat during Chicago's dynasty, the 1997-98 Bulls largely broke up after the title. Where did they all go after general manager Jerry Krause started his "rebuild" in Chicago?
THE LEGEND: In protecting Michael Jordan's GOAT status, we really are protecting ourselves
WINNERS, LOSERS: Michael Jordan, Jerry Krause, Isiah Thomas and memes lead way in 'The Last Dance'
USA TODAY Sports takes you through a Sandlot-esquewhere they went outline.
- Michael Jordan: Retired a second time after the 1998 championship, returned to play for the Washington Wizards in 2001 for two seasons, and then retired a third time. He became majority owner of the Hornets franchise in 2010. Jordan's statue is iconic outside the United Center, and his Air Jordan brand has become transcendent. He went into the Hall of Fame in 2009.
- Scottie Pippen: He finally got his paydays with other teams, garnering max contracts with the Houston Rockets (1998-99) and Portland Trailblazers (1999-2003). He came back for a victory lap with the Bulls in 2003–04, and attempted a brief comeback overseas in 2008. Pippen also got a statue outside the United Center and briefly served as a public relations ambassador for the Bulls. He went into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.
- Dennis Rodman: A 2011 Hall of Fame inductee, Rodman played for the Los Angeles Lakers in 1998-99, the Dallas Mavericks in 1999-2000, before retiring to focus on a film and wrestling career. He made a brief comeback in 2004-06 in the G-League, ABA, and overseas.
- Toni Kukoc: Kukoc played for two more seasons with the Bulls in 1998-99 and 1999-2000 before playng for the Philadelphia 76ers, Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks from 2000-06.
- Luc Longley: The 7-2 Aussie big man played for the Phoenix Suns from 1998-2000, and the New York Knicks in 2000-01. He's been an assistant for Australia's national team since 2013.
- Steve Kerr: Played for the San Antonio Spurs from 1998-2001, winning another title, then the Portland Trailblazers from 2001-03, before returning to San Antonio for another championship ring in 2003. He's won three NBA titles coaching the Warriors.
- Ron Harper: Played one more season with the Bulls. He then went on to win two more championships with Phil Jackson and the Lakers in 2000 and 2001. He was an assistant coach for the Detroit Pistons from 2005-07.
- Jud Buechler: Played for the Detroit Pistons, Phoenix Suns and Orlando Magic from 1999-2002 in reserve-type role. He spent two years as a Lakers assistant coach before joining the New York Knicks in 2018.
- Randy Brown: Went on to play for the Bulls for two more seasons in 1998-99 and 1999-00. He played briefly for the Boston Celtics and the Phoenix Suns before retiring in 2003.
- Scott Burrell: Played three more seasons after the Bulls disbanded — with the New Jersey Nets and Charlotte Hornets — before taking his career overseas to China, the Philippines, Spain and Japan.
- Bill Wennington: Played for the Bulls for one more season in 1998-99, then the Sacramento Kings before retiring in 2000. After his playing career ended, he became a color commentator for the Bulls.
*Coach Phil Jackson: Became the head coach of the Lakers in 1999, winning five championships in 11 seasons. He went on to be an executive for the Knicks from 2014-17.
*Assistant coach Tex Winter: The architect of the triangle offense, Winter stayed with Chicago for one more season. He then joined Jackson with the Lakers, where he was an assistant and then a consultant. He died in 2018.
Sports video of the day
To celebrate the '97-98 team, here's a highlight of how bad the Bulls fared in '98-99 when coach Tim Floyd took over. This game they scored a mere 49 points.
Tweet of the day
Our next docu-series?
Pick one for the next NBA documentary:
🤔 Lakers’ Dynasty (1996-2004)
🤔 Warriors’ Dynasty (2015-Present) pic.twitter.com/bMlLH8dkZF
Best bets to watch on Tuesday
Korean Baseball League (live): NC Dinos vs. Doosan Bears, 2 p.m., ESPN2
MLB (classic): 2011 World Series Texas Rangers vs St. Louis Cardinals, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN.
Tennis (classic): 2008 Wimbledon men's final Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal, 9 p.m. ET.
NBA (classic): 2008 NBA Finals Lakers vs. Celtics Game 6, 9 p.m. ET, NBA TV.
Follow reporter Scott Gleeson on Twitter @ScottMGleeson.
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