Reggie Miller tried to spot Michael Jordan on the set of “Space Jam”, to no avail

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“The Last Dance” sent everyone on the Bulls Dynasty gravitational pull on simultaneous memory walks.

This includes Rusty LaRue, a 1997-1998 reserve goalie. LaRue has only played a total of 140 minutes this season (none in the playoffs) and has not been mentioned in docuseries, but has spent the past few weeks sharing relics of the time on social media:

One article in particular, however, piqued our curiosity. On May 2, LaRue tweeted a page from an old, undisclosed road trip itinerary package for the Bulls’ 1997-98 season. Funny because, although some bulls (including LaRue) have no objection to having their real names printed next to their hotel room assignment, most team members have opted for pseudonyms on the written record of their location – a marker of the extent of the team’s fame. at the time.

Immediate follow-up: who was who? It’s actually more crackable code than you might think – and thanks to LaRue, Toni Kukoc, Joe Kleine and Bill Wennington for that.

Take a look at the 1997-1998 Bulls list and the LaRue call sheet side by side. See if you notice anything:

Via Rusty LaRue and basketball reference

It’s in alphabetical order! Now these two tables do not line up perfectly. There are 15 players on the Bulls’ hotel room allocation sheet and 17 on the basketball reference list, which creates some critical inconsistencies. For example, Kleine is the eighth player listed on the red page, but the ninth on the official list. And there are four players between LaRue and Wennington on the left while there are five on the right.

For explanation, look no further than this season’s Bulls transaction log. During the 1997-1998 season, the Bulls made three major changes to the lineup:

  1. February 19, 1998: Traded Jason Caffey to the Golden State Warriors for David Vaughn and two second round picks

  2. March 2, 1998: renunciation of Vaughn

  3. March 2, 1998: signed Dickey Simpkins

Caffey, Vaughn and Simpkins are all on the 1997-1998 Basketball Reference Bulls list because all three of them spent time with the team at some point in the season, but neither was employed by the Bulls at the same time. If we assume that the game in question occurred at some point after Caffey’s trade, the two lists line up as such:

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 whether the match took place before or after March 2)

Bill wennington – Bill Wennington

And if you’re still not convinced, I submit these nuggets as further evidence:

  • John thompson was a male basketball head coach in Georgetown for 27 years from 1972 to 1999, and became the first African American head coach to win a major Division I championship in 1984. Keith Booth grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, in the late 70s / early. 80 and attended the University of Maryland for college. He would have known success and the pioneer of Thompson.

  • Born and raised in San Diego, Jud Buechler’s love for surfing is widely known. In fact, Luc Longley suffered a fairly serious shoulder injury to the shoulder with Buechler in November 1996. Greg Noll was a pioneer in the game of big wave surfing.

  • Ron Harper’s son Ron Harper Jr., who currently attends and plays basketball at Rutgers, enrolled Spiderman (Peter parker) as his favorite superhero for his athlete biography page. As for the hard evidence, I have to admit that it’s pretty fragile. But it’s something!

  • Who else but Michael Jordan would appoint an Illinois Golf Hall of Fame inductee (Oscar Miles) as an alias?

  • Joe Kleine is Joe Kleine.

  • Toni Kukoc is Toni Kukoc (and how perfect that Kukoc – certainly not do not notorious at the time – just couldn’t be bothered by a road trip alias. What did he have to fear?).

  • Rusty LaRue is Rusty LaRue.

  • “I would like to log in under the pseudonyms of Bruce Doull, Norman Gunston, Stagger Lee, that you could get by there, “said Luc Longley. No, I cannot confirm this quote independently, but if there is one thing I have learned from working in the sports media, it is to believe everything you read on the Internet. and all at the same time.

  • John Walker was a prominent Arkansas civil rights lawyer in the second half of the 20th century. His professional achievements include degrees from NYU (master’s) and Yale (law), in partnership with Arkansas’ first integrated law firm in 1965 and being elected representative of a state chamber in 2010 before died in 2011. Scottie Pippen was born in Hamburg, Ark. in 1965. Johnnie Walker is also a famous brand of whiskey, and “scotch” is quite close to “Scott”.

  • Bill Wennington is Bill Wennington.

The icing on the cake: The LaRue room allocation sheet tweeted that Jordan’s security staff were rooms 1804 and 1810, with details of Pippen in 1704. Oscar Miles was in room 1809. Johnnie Walker in 1709 . Added.

All of the above does not represent foolproof reasoning for each alias, of course, but it is certainly sufficient to validate the initial hypothesis. As for the rest, Fred Sanford and Austin Powers are both, of course, iconic figures of pop culture; Tyson Bedford (Could Burrell have meant Beckford? Or maybe it’s an allusion to Mike Tyson’s Brooklyn roots?) Doesn’t exist; Bumpy Johnson is an infamous boss of the New York mafia, but has no apparent connection with Simpkins or Vaughn; and, I’m going to be frank, I don’t know what to do with Rodman’s choice of Brook mason, which turns out to be little or nothing on a quick Google search.

It’s been just over two months since the NBA suspended its season. It’s been just over three days since the last episodes of “The Last Dance” were broadcast. It has been just over 20 years since the Bulls crowned the most iconic dynasty in basketball.

But this team will not stop providing us with mysteries to unveil. And we are eternally grateful.

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