Former Arkansas player Joe Kleine was on the Ruscin & Zach Show with Derek Ruscin and Zach Arns on ESPN Arkansas covering a wide range of topics from Eddie Sutton being selected for the Hall of Fame and playing with the Chicago Bulls.
ESPN is debuting a 10-part series on the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls and their dysfunctional trip to an NBA title with Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman among others.
“I was a very miniscule part of a great dynasty,” Kleine said. “That was the Golden Age of basketball when (Larry) Bird and Magic (Johnson) came in and then thru (Michael Jordan) was when NBA basketball was at it’s finest.”
Kleine was with the Bulls for the 1997-98 season was there when the run of six titles in eight seasons ended.
“Coming from the outside I had no idea (of the dysfunction),” Kleine said. “It was us against them. Not me, but Jordan, (Scottie) Pippen and Phil (Jackson). A lot of it was centered around the Bulls would not re-negotiate contracts.
“That was the main ingredient.”
Into the middle of the hysteria that surrounded Jordan’s rock-star status and the overall high profile nature of the Bulls, they brought in Dennis Rodman.
“That was like having a blazing fire then throwing gasoline on it,” Kleine said. “He was harmless … he was wild.”
But Rodman did work at basketball outside of the zany antics.
“He was there every day for practice,” Kleine said. “He was accountable.