Most basketball enthusiasts consider the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls to be the best team in NBA history. It is hard to argue. They had the best regular season record of all-time (72-10), the best player of all-time, the best coach of all-time, and the championship to go along with all of those things. The team was a truly great blend of stars and role players, young and old.
The Golden State Warriors have a great shot at tying or breaking the 72-win record, needing to go 9-3 over their final twelve games to tie it, 10-2 to break it. Before Steph Curry and the Warriors came along you had to wonder if any franchise would ever field a team of that caliber. Hell, I’m not even sure I can field a fictional Hollywood Dream Team of that caliber, but damn it, I’m going to try. Let’s see how my picks match up.
Phil Jackson vs. Ken Reeves (The White Shadow)
When you have a team as talented as the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls or the fictional Dream Team that I am about to present, you don’t want a coach that’s a loose cannon like Tupac’s Birdie (Above The Rim) or Nick Nolte’s Pete Bell (Blue Chips). Gene Hackman’s Norman Dale (Hoosiers) is a strong candidate, but Hickory High wasn’t what you would call diverse, consisting entirely of clean-cut farm boys. A special set of skills is required to coach the cast of characters below.
At Carver High, The White Shadow’s Ken Reeves mentored Thorpe through his STD. He prevented Gomez from joining the Los Aztecas street gang. He warded off pro agents from signing Coolidge. Worst of all, he had to put up with Salami’s goofball antics. Ken Reeves is equipped for this job, and coincidentally, Reeves’ back-story notes that he was a former NBA player for the Chicago Bulls, much like Phil Jackson. That said, the Zen Master successfully coached Dennis Rodman.
BULLS 1 – DREAM TEAM 0
Michael Jordan vs. Scott Howard (Teen Wolf)
This one is easy, right? Take Michael Jordan from the movie Space Jam, and you’ve got a mirror match. Not so fast. Michael Jordan plays himself in Space Jam, disqualifying him from this fictional list.
With that option off of the table, the clear choice is Scott Howard aka Teen Wolf. As The Wolf, he put on a one-man show, victimizing Beacon Hills opponents with high-flying moves straight out of NBA Jam. If he were to dunk on Jordan, there is no doubt everyone in the crowd would have their dick out like this Teen Wolf extra.
Everybody knows that no human is going to match MJ’s killer instinct, so it’s no surprise we have to turn to a werewolf here. Of course, there is always the risk that The Wolf morphs back into Michael J. Fox and starts bricking jumping free throws with the shooting form of Shawn Marion, but that is a risk that has to be taken.
Still, the advantage goes to His Airness.
BULLS 2 – DREAM TEAM 0
Scottie Pippen vs. Jimmy Chitwood (Hoosiers)
Scottie Pippen was completely comfortable being the number two, until he was number two to Toni Kukoc. When Phil Jackson called for Kukoc to take the final shot in a 1994 playoff game, Pippen wasn’t having it. He watched Kukoc sink the game winner from the bench after refusing to go back into the game.
Jimmy Chitwood is a selfless man who put the whole town of Hickory on his back. He is as clutch as they come, but he would have no problem playing the sidekick role if the final shot isn’t called for him. Pippen is a well-deserved hall of famer, but I’m taking Jimmy freakin’ Chitwood.
BULLS 2 – DREAM TEAM 1
Dennis Rodman vs. Jesus Shuttlesworth (He Got Game)
This is as evenly matched as it gets. Rodman is the best rebounder of all-time but is a notorious malcontent.
Jesus Shuttlesworth, played by Ray Allen, has enough skills to make a governor release a convicted felon from prison in the hope of convincing Shuttlesworth to attend Big State, the governor’s alma mater. Despite his rough upbringing, Jesus seems to have his head screwed on straight.
If I’m appointing an ambassador to North Korea, it hands down would be Jesus Shuttlesworth, but if I’m fielding a championship team, I give Rodman the edge.
BULLS 3 – DREAM TEAM 1
THE CENTER OF ATTENTION
Luc Longley vs. Neon Boudeaux (Blue Chips)
This is Neon Boudeaux played by Shaq in his prime with the aid of Hollywood cinematography vs. Luc Longley.
BULLS 3 – DREAM TEAM 2
THE CRAFTY VETERAN
Ron Harper vs. Billy Hoyle (White Men Can’t Jump)
Ron Harper and Billy Hoyle aren’t about flash. Both want to “win first and look good second.” Billy Hoyle may not be able to “hear Jimi,” but he is crafty enough to make a living as a basketball hustler on the mean streets of Los Angeles and survive, even if it requires posing for photos of his own death to satisfy bookies. That gives him the upper hand in my book.
That brings us to a tie, but to quote Billy’s girlfriend Gloria, “sometimes when you tie, you actually win or lose.”
BULLS 3 – DREAM TEAM 3
THE SPARK OFF THE BENCH
Toni Kukoc vs. Matthew Lockhart (Heaven Is A Playground)
Toni Kukoc was a force off the bench during the Bulls’ historic season, a year in which the Croation sensation earned the NBA’s Sixth Man Award. Matthew Lockart is the quiet unsung hero of a cliché filled movie that is so bad it’s good.
The role of Lockhart is played by Bo Kimble, one of my favorite all-time college basketball players. Bo Kimble’s true story is more fascinating than any movie. At Loyola Marymount, Kimble’s best friend and teammate Hank Gathers collapsed and died on the court. In the subsequent NCAA Tournament run, Kimble put up over 35 points per game while leading the #11 seed Lions to the Elite 8. The right-handed Kimble shot the first free throw of every game left-handed in honor his fallen teammate, making them all.
While entertaining, Kimble’s character in Heaven Is A Playground doesn’t quite have the same spark. Kukoc wins this matchup.
BULLS 4 – DREAM TEAM 3
THE TALL TREE
Bill Wennington vs. Saleh (The Air Up There)
First of all, pause for a minute to take in this Hollywood Hogan and Bill Wennington photo. Moving on. Every NBA championship contender needs a seven-foot body to come off the bench and eat minutes, and Bill Wennington did just that.
The tribesman known simply as Saleh has the potential to do more than that. Scout Jimmy Dolan, played by Kevin Bacon, was willing to travel halfway around the world and endure initiation into the Winabe tribe just to recruit the African phenom.
While we are on the subject of Kevin Bacon, let me take this moment to express how disappointing it was to agree to write for Bacon Sports, only to find out that this website has absolutely nothing to do with Kevin Bacon.
With that out of the way, Saleh has the clear-cut advantage here, having learned the Jimmy Dolan Shake and Bake.
BULLS 4 – DREAM TEAM 4
Steve Kerr vs. Setshot Buford (The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh)
Why am I even doing this? The Pittsburgh Pisces already fielded the optimal fictional team, bringing together the misfit squad of Moses Guthrie (Julius Erving), Jamal Truth, Rev. Grady Jackson, Driftwood, Winston Running Hawk, and many more. The secret: The team consisted of only players with the astrological sign of Pisces, combining to produce the ultimate team chemistry.
Being from Pittsburgh, number one on my jersey wish list is a sequenced Pittsburgh Pisces Jamal Truth jersey. I’ve yet to find one. Another member of the Pisces was sharpshooter Setshot Buford, who was money when shooting from a completely still position. Otherwise, he is completely useless. Steve Kerr was just as clutch but has more versatility.
The nod goes to Kerr.
BULLS 5 – DREAM TEAM 4
THE OVER-THE-HILL JOURNEYMAN
John Salley vs. Thomas Shepherd (Above The Rim)
John Salley may have been a positive influence on the locker room, but he was a mere passenger riding the coattails of the players above to collect a championship ring. Thomas Shepherd could have been a contender, but he can’t bear the thought of playing ball again after witnessing his best friend Nutso fall to his death in one of the most terribly awesome scenes in sports movie history.
I considered adding Nutso to the squad on potential alone in the spirit of Sebastion Telfair, but thought better of it. The hang time he got on that leap to his death was enough for any NBA Combine scout to take notice. After finally putting Nutso’s death behind him, Shep proves he still has something left in the tank at the end of the movie.
Regulators, mount up! I’m going with Shep.
BULLS 5 – DREAM TEAM 5