Hopson remembers unforgettable championship season with Jordan, Bulls

SYLVANIA (WTVG) - Michael Jordan's last NBA Championship came more than 20 years ago, but Jordan and his Chicago Bulls are still a big ticket draw.

The ESPN documentary "The Last Dance," on the 1990s Bulls, who won six NBA titles in eight seasons, averaged 6.1 millions viewers Sunday night, the network announced in a statement, making it the most-viewed ESPN documentary ever.

And Toledo has a connection to at least one of those championships -- former Bowsher and Ohio State star Dennis Hopson was a member of the 1991 Bulls, Jordan's first title team.

"It was a team that had energy, passion, and they knew what direction they were going in," Hopson said. "They worked at it in the weight room and court. You knew the potential was going to be there to win multiple championships."

Hopson averaged 4.3 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 1.1 assists in 61 games as a reserve. The Bulls went 61-21 that season, finishing first in the Central Division before going 15-2 in the playoffs, beating the L.A. Lakers 4-1 in the Finals.

Hopson, who remains Ohio State's all-time leading scorer more than 30 years later, played five NBA seasons, but that '91 season was unquestionably his most memorable.

"When our bus pulled up, everybody was there. Michael was a rock star. He was Michael Jackson back in the day," Hopson said.

"The way people see him play in games is the way he practiced. He would push you, and (head coach) Phil (Jackson) would want him to take days off, but he didn't because he thought other players would want to take off, too."

Hopson finished coaching his first season at Lourdes University in Sylvania, where the Gray Wolves went 20-11 overall; they were third (13-7) in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference before the season was canceled due to COVID-19.

At this stage in his career, Hopson is hoping to create memories for his players, knowing many won't get to experience what he did in '91.

"I think it tops a lot of things, if not everything because you have mega-stars in the league and they don't have rings," he said. "To have that opportunity to play for the Bulls and win a championship, that was the ultimate goal, and it's something I can take to my grave with me."

Hopson, who stays in contact with former Bulls teammates Cliff Livingston, Stacy King, and B.J. Armstrong, celebrated his 55th birthday Wednesday. But he's not going to consider himself old until he can't dunk anymore.

And he can still throw it down.