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6 Bulls who made return trips

July 10, 2012|By Jack M Silverstein | For RedEye

The Bulls' history of second stints has run the gamut. For every unquestionable success like Michael Jordan's return, there's one as forgettable as B.J. Armstrong's. Kirk Hinrich hopes to leave a another lasting impression with the Bulls, as he's expected to sign with the team Wednesday.

Here's how other players have fared in their second go-round with the Bulls.

MICHAEL JORDAN

First stint: 1985-93

Second stint: 1995-98

When word ripped round the league that Jordan was retiring from baseball, excitement was through the United Center roof. But neither fans nor the media knew how good he'd be after a year and a half away from the hardwood. However, a game-winner in his fourth game and a 55-point masterpiece in his fifth put the league on notice. Before long, we knew "I'm back" was an understatement.

WILL PERDUE and B.J. ARMSTRONG

First stints: 1988-95 and 1989-95, respectively

Second stint: 1999-00

Much of Bulls history from 1999-2004 is filled with forgettable moments that only die-hards even experienced them, let alone remember. Attempts to relay these tales to current Bulls fans often go like this: "Wait, wait, B.J. Armstrong came back to the Bulls in 1999-2000? And he wore No. 11? What? Will Perdue came back too? Come on. I definitely would have heard about that."

CHARLES OAKLEY

First stint: 1985-88

Second stint: 2001-02

So the thinking here was that after a terrific career in New York and a few good seasons in Toronto, Oakley (then 38) would come to the "Baby Bulls" and mentor rookies Tyson Chandler and Eddy Curry as well as troubled forward Ron Artest while providing stability for a team coached by Tim Floyd. Instead, Oakley struggled on the worst team of his career, failed to guide Chandler or Curry or save Artest or Floyd and helped provoke Shaquille O'Neal's near-beheading punch of Brad Miller.

SCOTTIE PIPPEN

First stint: 1987-98

Second stint: 2003-04

The Bulls entered 2002-03 so downtrodden that the team made its season slogan "Through Thick and Thin." Incredibly, the Jalen Rose-led Bulls won 30 games, leading to the re-signing of Scottie Pippen (then 38) who was asked to be the team's steadying influence in their their rise to the playoffs. Sike! Pippen lasted 23 underwhelming games, the team churned through three coaches and 18 starters (18!), and Scottie rolled into retirement with his lone nonplayoff season.

BRAD MILLER

First stint: 2000-02

Second stint: 2009-10

After seven successful seasons with Indiana and Sacramento, Miller returned to the Bulls for the final 27 games of 2009-10 and was terrific, averaging about 10 points and eight boards through the end of the playoff run against Boston. Though this time around he was best remembered for missing two free throws to end Game 5 while in a daze from Rajon Rondo's intentional/unintentional face scrape.

Jack M Silverstein is a RedEye special contributor.


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