The Chicago Bulls returned home victorious Thursday, sharing the credit for their NBA championship with their city and their fans.
“We did it for the fans of Chicago and for the city of Chicago and for ourselves,” series most valuable player Michael Jordan told hundreds of people at O’Hare International Airport.
“I just want to thank the people of Chicago for their support,” center Bill Cartwright said, summing up the mood of the players and the fans who waited 25 years for the franchise to win a championship. “Let’s get out of here and go have a party.”
Hundreds of people cheered and waved banners as the Bulls stepped off the plane.
Elsewhere the wild and sometimes violent postgame partying that followed the team’s victory over the Lakers Wednesday night gave way to quiet good cheer Thursday.
“They’re good; the Lakers can’t touch the Bulls,” said 9-year-old Anthony Kimble, who stayed up past his bedtime to watch his team.
Chicago planned a large rally today in Grant Park, pushing back the start of its annual blues festival in order to pay proper homage to the team that brought it its first professional sports championship since the Bears’ Super Bowl victory in 1986.
Police spokeswoman Tina Vicini said that during and after Wednesday’s celebrations, more than 100 people had been arrested on charges ranging from mob action to firing a gun in public.
Three stores at a mall were looted, including an athletic wear store that was stripped. Seventeen people were arrested at the scene, police said.
The manager of a fried chicken restaurant estimated the restaurant lost $4,000 to vandals--not counting the cost of nine plate-glass windows that were smashed.