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Chicago Bulls Fans Gloat Not At Losing LA Lakers, But at Earlier Rivals

June 14, 1991

CHICAGO (AP) _ Fans were expected to gloat after the Chicago Bulls won the NBA championship, but their target was surprising.

The losing Los Angeles Lakers barely merited a mention when the Bulls came home. People were too busy chastising the Detroit Pistons.

″We’re proud to be able to come back after winning three in a row in Los Angeles,″ said Bulls coach Phil Jackson when the Bulls arrived Thursday at O’Hare International Airport. The team clinched victory Wednesday with a 108-101 win in the fifth game of the best-of-seven series.

″We want to thank the Detroit team and their fans for encouraging us to do this,″ Jackson said.

About 500 fans came to glimpse their heroes. Many greeted Jackson’s remark with chants assailing the Pistons.

″It’s got nothing to do with them beating us three years in a row,″ said one fan, Angelo Panoutsos.

The Bulls beat Detroit in the Eastern Conference semifinals this year. Afterward, few Detroit players shook hands with Bulls players, much less offering congratulations or wishing them luck.

The animosity persists.

Detroit Mayor Coleman A. Young said Thursday through a spokesman he thinks media coverage of Pistons’ championship celebrations last year was more negative than coverage of the Bulls’ celebrations.

″He finds it awfully ironic (that) when stores are looted in Chicago, it gets treated as people getting a little rowdy. And when similar things happen here, it’s called a riot,″ spokesman Robert Berg said.

Mayhem in Detroit followed the Pistons’ 1990 championship win.

The deaths of at least seven people, including four killed when a man plowed his car into pedestrians, were blamed on postgame celebrations. Hundreds of people were hurt by gunfire, stabbings and fighting. Looters ran through the city.

After the Bulls won, two people in Chicago were hurt by stray gunfire and more than 100 people were arrested on charges ranging from mob action to firing a gun in public, police spokeswoman Tina Vicini said.

Three stores at a strip mall were looted. Vandals did an estimated $4,000 damage to a fast-food restaurant, not including the loss of nine plate-glass windows that were smashed.

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