Star Wars is the 90’s Bulls of Pop Culture

I watched the final score on the Bulls/Cavs Game 6 playoff game last Thursday night come across my phone and sighed. It was official, the Bulls were knocked out of the playoffs again. As I saw this I noticed three guys dressed as storm troopers walk through the lobby of the hotel. I was at an anime con at the time of the game. I’m not sure how the thought first came into my head. Maybe it was the fact that I didn’t want to think about how LeBron James had again knocked Chicago out of a run for the title or the fact that the three storm troopers were trying to pose for a jumping high five ala an 80’s TV show credit role and weren’t quit sticking the landing. But it was in there and it spent most of the weekend in the back of my mind being milled over.
Star Wars is the 90’s Bulls of pop culture.
For those who are not familiar with the Chicago Bulls of the 1990’s they were one of the most dominant teams the history of the NBA. Six championships in 10 years. Lead by Micheal Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and the zen master Phil Jackson as their coach.
In the early 70’s the studio system in Hollywood was getting stagnant and profits were down. The studio execs were desperate and started to hire untested young directors for all types of  new kinds of films. George Lucas and Star Wars were one of these.  When Star Wars hit the theaters in 1977 it broke the mold of what a movie could do. A strong set of characters, a larger than life world never seen before, and it left audiences with a new expectation of what they wanted to see when going to the theater. The Bulls started something similar staring in 1991.
The late 80’s were a great time for basketball but there lacked a finesse that made it hard for new fans to want to jump in and watch. The Celtic and Lakers dynasties were starting to age and the Detroit ‘Bad Boys’ Pistons were not the family friendly type of team you took your kids to see. Then in ’91 the Bulls beat the Lakers in the NBA Championships and everything started to change. They won two more championships in 1992 and 1993. Their first of two three-petes and an new generation of basketball fans were born.
Star Wars changes movies forever and the Bulls lead the NBA into a new era.
When The Empire Strikes Back came out the whole world was excited with anticipation. How could any film follow A New Hope though? How do you meet those expectations? Most sequels don’t. They are usually shells of the original film that are made just to squeeze some extra cash out of a franchise.  Luckily for all of us Empire delivered in a big way. Considered by many to be the best of all the films.  It not only met expectations, but destroyed them.
In 1993 Micheal Jordan shocked the sports world and announced his retirement from basketball. The Bulls struggled without him being there. Another championship looked out of the question. Then just as surprising as Jordan leaving he came back in the middle of the ’95 season. This lead them to the greatest regular season record in NBA history (72 wins, 10 loses) and another championship in 1996.
Return of the Jedi was a great closer to the original trilogy though most people will lean towards the first two being the better of the films. Great battles on the ground, in space, and with their greatest enemies leading to a climactic end of giant explosions and dancing around bonfires. New characters were met and some old ones said their farewells.
The Bulls clinched their second three-pete by winning two more championships in 1997 and 1998. The team added more all-star players like Europe’s top player Toni Kukoc and the always controversial rebounding machine Dennis Rodman. The team was firing on all cylinders but this was the beginning of the end. After the 98 season Phil Jackson left Chicago, Jordan retired for a second and final time, and many of the other players were about to become free-agents and sign with other teams.
The end of end era, cut to credits with a John Williams score or The Outfield playing “Winning it All”.

Player vs Character Comparison

Micheal Jordan is considered one of, if not the, greatest player to ever play basketball. I feel he encompasses the group of Luke, Leia, and Han. The key trio that lead the rebels to over come the empire were MJ finally getting past the rough & tumble play of the Pistons and passing the then king of the NBA Magic Johnson to win his first title.
Scottie Pippen was one of the best wing men to have for Jordan. He’s Chewbaca and Lando all wrapped up in one guy who knew when to pass the rock and always ready to pull the ears of a Gundark at any given moment. A life debt and a bond to never be broken.
Phil Jackson will always be my Yoda. The zen master invented the triangle offense and taught his players through focus and determination.
“In basketball — as in life — true joy comes from being fully present in each and every moment, not just when things are going your way.”
– Phil Jackson
“You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship.”
– Yoda
Toni Kukoc came off the bench as the best ’sixth man’ on the team and was the R2-D2 of the Bulls. When you needed someone to step up and score when Jordan or Pippen were being double teamed he was your man. When you needed someone to shut down all the trash compactors on the detention level R2 was your droid.
Dennis Rodman made just as many headlines off the court as he did on it. Boba Fett was his spirt guide. Fett showed up, said two lines, and walked off cooler than the other side of the pillow. Rodman didn’t need to step up and be bigger than Micheal Jordan, he just needed to make rebounds …and wear feathered boas while riding a motorcycle …with green hair …in a wedding dress.

Sadly the Bulls haven’t won a championship since 1998. The early 2000’s saw some really bad teams. Sounds familiar right? The Star Wars prequel trilogy left many of us in tears and were quite happen when Disney came and took the franchise from Uncle George’s green-screen-Jar-Jar-special-editon-dance-game-angry-birds hands.
I have hope for what JJ Abrams is doing with The Force Awakens. The trailers look great and from what we’re seeing this next chapter of the Star Wars universe could be quite enjoyable.  Just like the present day Bulls lead by the amazing, yet a bit more injured than I would like, Derrick Rose. This season there were high hopes for a championship, and next season looks good too I will say.
I hope a new dynasty starts soon, for Star Wars and the Chicago Bulls. I believe this because I want to stop looking back at both of these franchise’s golden age as being a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.