Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The 45 Most Important Players to the Chicago Bulls Dynasty - #32 Joe Kleine

Joe Kleine
Do you remember Joe Kleine? Like, I'm an extreme sports fan so I had a little bit of recollection of him, knew he was a big white guy, never thought too much of him beyond that. But Joe Kleine played 15 seasons in the NBA. FIFTEEN. He was the sixth pick in the 1985 NBA Draft. He even started at least one game in every year but his final season. That is one hell of an NBA career, and that is before we touch on the fact that the dude won a Gold Medal in the 1984 Olympics.

Kleine joined the Bulls near the end of his career, for the 1997-98 season. He provided exactly what the Bulls thought he could provide which was extra size on the bench and insurance in case one of their more prominent centers got injured during the year. In that position, it's basically impossible to take the world by storm, but Kleine provided solid, professional work, just like he did for his other 14 seasons in the league.

But I can't go any further about Joe Kleine without mentioning his most important contribution to the Bulls final title run: Tacos. But not just any tacos, free tacos. I'm not sure if there is a greater regular season moment in Chicago Bulls history than this.

Look how happy this man is. I can feel his joy through the video. He soaks in every moment. He embraces his role as the Taco King, and he giveth the people what they desire. If you don't love this video, you are incapable of love.

In the playoffs, the bench shrunk and Kleine did not contribute on the court for the Bulls final championship season. He was the best kind of insurance, the kind that you luckily don't have to use.

Kleine may have not lived up to expectations when he was the sixth overall pick in the draft, but I can't imagine calling anyone who spent 15 years in the NBA a disappointment. Joe Kleine filled a role, and he's got a Gold Medal, an NBA Championship ring, and most importantly, FREE TACOS, to prove it.

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