NBA: The player who only wanted tickets to a game and ended up winning a ring with Jordan

Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Tony Kukoc, Steve Kerr, Ron Harper... Names of the Bull's of the second half of the 90s to which the

NBA: The player who only wanted tickets to a game and ended up winning a ring with Jordan

, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Tony Kukoc, Steve Kerr, Ron Harper… Names of the Bull’s of the second half of the 90s to which the one of Matthew Todd Steigenga, who, unlike his peers, has fallen into oblivion. And it’s normal. Matt won the title with that Chicago team in 1997, but hardly anyone remembers his participation. There were two games in which I played 12 minutes. I had never played in the NBA before and never would again. But I did win a ring. History is full of myths that did not succeed.

Chance sided with Steigenga one day April 1997. The season in the CBA, a competition in which he participated, had already ended. He was resting at his house milwaukee when it occurred to him to call Jerry Krause, general manager of the Bullsfor ask him for two tickets to a playoff game, which were just around the corner. The two had a good relationship since the 2.01 meter forward and born in 1970 outside drafted by Chicago late in the 2nd round of 1992. He would not make his debut with the team, but he did leave a good impression.

Partner of Pablo Laso in Baskonia

There were four regular season games left and the Bulls were plagued by casualtiesso Krause, instead of giving him the tickets, suggested that he play. The team must travel to detroit and the plane left in four hours. Milwaukee is two from Chicago. gave him time to arrive while his contract for 10 days and 3,000 dollars per game was being prepared. Steigenga’s NBA career began in such a surreal way. Before, without having found a gap after the draft jug 10 games for Baskonia in the 92-93 season with Pablo Laso, Joe Arlauckas, Marcelo Nicola, Chicho Sibilio, Ramn Rivas…in Japan and in the CBA.

The forward debut in that game in Detroit. He played 3:52 minutes and scored a point. The following night he had his moments of glory. In a win over the Raptors at the United Center, played 7:52 minutes, scored two points thanks to a dunk after alley-opp with Steve Kerr, grabbed two rebounds, dished out two assists, recovered a ball and put up a block. Impossible to do more in less time in front of some fans who demanded their presence on the track. Phil Jackson had to heed the popular clamor and take out the unknown, who stole focus from his famous companions before the media.

“We’ll Win You a Ring”

Steigenga will no longer play in the NBA. Neither in the last two games of the regular season, he processed for a Bulls that ended with a balance of 69-13. However, he was still part of the team. “Stay with us. We’ll win you a ring,” Jordan said. And he did not break his promise. The almost anonymous player saw it all from the front lineincluding the final against the Jazz (4-2) and the hysterical performance of ‘Air’ in the fifth game, the famous ‘flu game’in which, with the series tied at two, he scored 38 points despite being in a feverish state.

At the Bulls celebration party, the players were presented in order from least to most important. Steigenga appeared first. Little did he care. He had won the NBA playing two games and accumulating a total of 12 minutes and three points. A champion’s ring awaited him. That of great players who didn’t make it: John Stockton, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Pat Ewing, Elgin Baylor, Steve Nash, Reggie Miller… Sometimes it’s all about being at the right time and place.