Since it’s Christmas and we here at ChiCitySports.com are in the holiday spirit, we figured we would throw together a list of the best Chicago Sports moments that occurred on Christmas Day.
Now before we start, let’s discuss this list a little bit. The list is defiantly Chicago Bulls heavy. Why? Because other Chicago teams rarely play on Christmas. The Bears have played twice (both against the Packers), and one of those games wasn’t too fun to watch.
Meanwhile, the Cubs and White Sox are in the off-season, so that cancels them out. The Blackhawks? Well they lost 6-0 on their only Christmas Day appearance. So that leaves the Bulls, who have almost made it a tradition to play on Christmas Day in the 90’s. In the 2000’s? Not so much. Don’t worry though, Derrick Rose has made it possible for the Bulls to play on Christmas Day in recent years. Although Rose won’t be in the lineup when the Bulls host the Rockets.
So whether you like the list or not, I hope you enjoy your Christmas.
5. Rodman steals the show as the Bulls down the Pistons. (December 25, 1997)
Christmas Day 1997 saw the leagues best player Michael Jordan duke it out against up and coming star Grant Hill as the Pistons visited Chicago for a Christmas showdown. The Bulls entered the game with a 24-3 record which was good for best in the NBA at the time. Meanwhile the Pistons were right behind them at 20-5. NBA fans were certainly in for a treat.
Hill stole the show early on and outscored Jordan 27-23, but it was the Bulls who ended up improving their league best record with a 95-83 win. The Bulls were lead by Scottie Pippens 27 points, including 5 three-pointers to put the Pistons away. Dennis Rodman had a great game as he finished with 22 rebounds to go with his 11 points and 7 assists.
4. Pippen dominates the Knicks. (December 25, 1994)
The Bulls were entering the 1994-1995 season without Michael Jordan for the second consecutive season. They were also in their first year playing at the United Center. On Christmas Day the Bulls & Knicks added a new chapter to their storied 1990’s rivalry that shook the NBA.
Scottie Pippen entered the game averaging close to 22 points per game, but at the nights end Pippen would finish with 36 points in the Bulls 107-104 overtime win over the Knicks.
The Knicks mounted a comeback in the fourth quarter, and Hubert Davis three pointer with less than a second left would send the game into overtime. From there it was all Pippen as the Bulls ended up pulling it out and winning their second consecutive home game. Toni Kukoc added 25 points in the Bulls win.
3. Rose hits game winner in LA (December 25,2011)
The NBA lockout was officially over and the Bulls opened up the 2011-2012 season on the road in LA to take on Kobe Bryant and the Lakers on Christmas Day. While the Derrick Rose era in Chicago had already begun, the young superstar added another classic moment in his young Bulls career.
The Bulls had high hopes entering the season as they were fresh off a loss to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference the previous season. The game was tight throughout, until the Lakers led by 11 with about 3 minutes left.
Then the Bulls mounted a comeback. Trailing by 1 with :20 seconds left, the Bulls stole the inbound pass and Derrick Rose took over. Rose would hit a floater over Pau Gasol with 4.8 seconds left, and following a defensive stop on Kobe Byrant, the Bulls pulled out the one point win to start the season. Rose would finish with 22 points in one of his more impressive games of the 2011-2012 season.
2. Bears claim first NFC North title in Green Bay (December 25, 2005).
The 2005 season was a special one for the Chicago Bears. Not only did they surprise everyone with their first NFC North division title, they also swept their hated rivals to the north, the Green Bay Packers. Led by defensive dominance all season, the Bears found themselves in the position to clinch the NFC North in Green Bay on Christmas Day.
Oh how sweet it was for Bears fans in their first ever Christmas Day match up against the Green Bay Packers. Rex Grossman was making his first start for the Bears that season coming off a knee injury and gave some hope to a lack luster Bears offense at the time. However, it was the defenses time to shine again.
The Bears defense picked off Brett Favre four times including a Lance Briggs interception return for a touchdown in the third quarter to all but seal the game for the Bears. It was the Packers first losing season in the Brett Favre era, and the first time the Bears had swept the Packers in a season since 1991.
(Not the best highlight video, but one of the only ones I could find)
1. Jordan lights the Knicks up for 42 (December 25, 1992)
The Bulls were defending NBA Champions, and the Knicks were looking to dethrone them. What better setting than Christmas Day for another chapter in the Bulls-Knicks rivalry. Instead of the Knicks coming out of Chicago with a much needed win, it was another memorable performance for Michael Jordan.
The Knicks led early and often in the first half taking a 10 point lead into the locker room. But after that, Michael Jordan was no match for the Knicks in the second half. The Knicks finished with just 28 second half points in the 89-77 victory for the Bulls. Jordan finished the game with 42 points and gave Bulls fans an extra Christmas present that night. Scottie Pippen was the only other Bull in double figures as he chipped in 16.