The Chicago Bulls of the ’90s were absolute rockstars, boasting the biggest superstars — like Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman — and winning six titles through the decade. That kind of excellence helped lead to the current ESPN documentary, The Last Dance, which explores the trials and tribulations of MJ and his teammates through those glory years.
While the Bulls are best known for their dynasty during that decade, they were also known for being the most popular show on earth, with security always at arm’s length because of their celebrity status. You had Jordan forced to secretly shop when grocery stores were closed. You had Rodman running off to Vegas with Carmen Electra. You had Pippen allegedly being told by Madonna that he was one well-endowed MFer. This wasn’t supposed to be normal stuff for pro athletes — but the Chicago Bulls weren’t your normal pro sports team.
Given their popularity, it makes sense that most of the players on the Bulls had to find ways of disguising themselves — and, no, I’m not talking Johnny Manziel-style where they wore a fake mustache. Instead, many Chicago Bulls players used aliases on the road to try and hide from fans, media and anyone else who might try to track them down and interrupt them.
Rusty LaRue, a backup guard on the Bulls’ ’97-98 championship team, gave a little insight as to what aliases some of the players were using back then. Recently taking to Twitter, LaRue shared a photo of room assignments for players during that final championship season. But here’s the real funny thing about the image: It only has a few recognizable names from the roster that season, meaning these were the fake names many of the guys on the Chicago Bulls were using back then.
Upon looking at it, the only players who didn’t use an alias were LaRue, Toni Kukoc, Bill Wennington and backup center Joe Kleine. But everyone else? Well, they didn’t want their identities to be known.
However, thanks to the Internet — and a little help from the site Basketball Reference — when you go down the Chicago Bulls’ roster that final season, it’s easy to identify each player: Because the list tweeted by LaRue is actually in alphabetical order. Had LaRue, Kleine, Kukoc and Wennington not used their real names, we may have never known which fake name was who. But, in all its glory, here were the aliases of Bulls players that final season.
- John Thompson – Keith Booth
- Fred Sanford – Randy Brown
- Greg Noll – Jud Buechler
- Tyson Bedford – Scott Burrell
- Peter Parker – Ron Harper
- Oscar Miles – Michael Jordan
- Austin Powers – Steve Kerr
- Joe Kleine – Joe Kleine
- Toni Kukoc – Toni Kukoc
- Rusty LaRue – Rusty LaRue
- Stagger Lee – Luc Longley
- Johnnie Walker – Scottie Pippen
- Brook Mason – Dennis Rodman
- Bumpy Johnson – David Vaughn/Dickey Simpkins (depending on if the game was before or after March 2)
- Bill Wennington – Bill Wennington
The fact that Steve Kerr used the alias Austin Powers — which was a blockbuster hit in the summer of ’97 — is pretty hilarious. Wonder if the current Golden State Warriors head coach still uses that one today while traveling with his team? It’d be interesting to ask.
Funny thing about all this is the fact that the alias info comes from Rusty LaRue, who, if you told me was a real name, I would’ve called bullshit on. Honestly, does that not sound like an adult film star?
As mentioned earlier, the Chicago Bulls of the ’90s were in a class all by themselves; both on the court and off of it. And, because they were the most popular thing going during that decade, they had to get creative to help hide themselves a little bit from the public as much as possible.