Profile | BJ Armstrong walked on the moon

BJ (pronounced “Bi-Djè”) as the name of a rapper. BJ as a handsome young man. BJ as Bulls Jr. The captain weighing 1 meter 88 and 79 kilograms has the face and smile of a child. “For my son Jeffrey, 6 years old, BJ is the best player in the world. Naturally, he thinks BJ is only four years older than him!”Michael Jordan laughs the day after his first “three times”.

Benjamin Roy “BJ” Armstrong is also and above all the captain of the best team on the planet in the ’90s, the Chicago Bulls. The most enviable role in world basketball. Who wouldn’t want to be the second element in the back pair? To be related to Her Majesty and Lieutenant Scottie Pippen? This is what BJ’s life was like from 1989 to 1993, two years before he left for Golden State. As always, it wasn’t easy. BJ was born on September 9, 1967 in Detroit. At the time, Michigan’s largest city, known for its ruggedness, was still living its golden years as the capital of black cars and music. But the ghettos are the toughest in the country. Just like the basketball we play there, perhaps the beginnings of the “bad boys” duo at the end of the ’80s. Raised in a tight-knit and very religious middle-class family, BJ is escaping poverty but not the big orange ball. Non-stop basketball but also a great education. “I have always been known for being a very promising basketball player and a serious student.”

Doesn’t it look like a little crack from the sideboard? However, it is the stark truth. At the time, BJ already had a baby face. “It comes from my father. Even today, he has to show his ID to enter the bar…”cried out in a great explosion of laughter.

His appearance as a young teenager does not prevent him from being respected on the court as he does with his high school team. Its two models, of course, evolve into Motown. “I loved Isiah Thomas and Bill Laimbeer. The first’s silky and flawless game, the mental strength of the second.”

Once he gets to the NBA, he thinks about retraining

In 1985, Armstrong chose the University of Iowa for a degree in communications and a record-breaking “basketball program.” Four years later, BJ is still poorly paced but has become the best passer in college history, his fourth-best scorer and third-best interceptor (18.6 points, 5.4 points and 1.84 points in his final season with the Hawkeyes). All this, of course, topped off with a nice testimony. Ah, that body… Featherweight gave saliva for gossip. He even advised to go “to be seen” in Europe. “Impossible. My goal was written in three capital letters: NBA”

In September 1989, Bowles, who drafted him to 18th, offered him a contract worth $2.4 million for five years. Cheap driven but huge competition. Michael I is clearly untouchable. BJ will be No. 3, behind Craig Hodges and John Paxson, to form the back pair. At that time, he made sure to enroll in a course to pursue postgraduate studies in Law and History. When we love her… “I am continuing my studies to make sure I do exciting things after the NBA.”Announces.

He arrived in Chicago with two goals: gain weight and learn. Two means: bodybuilding and … John Paxson. “John helped me like no one else. Thanks to him, I always got answers to my questions. I owe him a lot.”admits.

Your first year in the NBA is already a challenge in itself. What’s more with The Bulls… BJ doesn’t play much but is on his way with 5.6 points and 3 assists per game. His learning continues, and his playing time increases. In the next two seasons, Armstrong won the world champion ring. What to attack the 1992-93 season inflated to withhold. The opportunity is very good. With John Paxson injured in the knee and Craig Hodges gone (cut by the Illinois franchise), his coveted starting place is presented. “BJ doesn’t have an aggressive temperament but he has learned to be. This has allowed him to broaden his game,” says Phil Jackson.

Only a small problem: its irregularity. He is also sometimes criticized for thinking more about creating his own shot than staging the game itself. It’s somewhat embarrassing for a captain. Moreover, Paxson works and is effective at 3 points again…

But during the 1993 playoffs, Armstrong would have everyone agree. The little-faced man devours all the opposing leaders. in its own way. stifling defense Perfect mastery of the highly complex game of Bulls. To crown the game, the shameless title was packed with a few killer 3-point baskets. A real leader. No wonder someone with ambition ‘to play a political role on a global scale’. beautiful smile. planted. Passionate about literature and rap. Hardworking, good, good. And a three-time World Champion in Basketball… Here’s a fun and creative biography to post on election bulletin boards. BJ repeats it over and over again: “I’m proud to be a black man” (I’m a proud black). Michael Jordan himself praises him: “BJ has proven to be a great leader. After going through tough times, he has imposed himself with intelligence and pride.”

Ask Mocky Blaylock (Atlanta), Mark Price (Cleveland), Doc Rivers (New York) or Kevin Johnson (Phoenix), his opponents during the final, if Armstrong would naturally have the worst starting point and then push out of the NBA. The answer is unanimous. “No. He will be raised and paid like a star.” “planned for”says an escort of Jerry Krause, Chicago general manager.

Number 1 3-pointer in the NBA in the year of “Threepeat”

For BJ, this third title is worth gold. Firstly because he participated as a holder (and in what way). Then because the Bulls found themselves up against the wall during the regular season and during the Finals. Also, “Gueule d’ange”, the most skilled player with three points in the league in 1993 (45.3%), can taste: “You can’t imagine how happy I am. It’s an experience that will bring me so much. We won’t stop therepridect. This title is the most important of the three because it took a lot of work. We had challenges to face all year long, on and off the field. For me, I had to improve my playing and prove that I got my place among the five. I think it was. We are the best in the world! »

With Michael Jordan gone, Armstrong takes over his responsibilities. He is third in the Bulls’ top scorer list behind Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant (14.8 points on average) and is second in the league with a success rate of 3 points (44.4%).

Second place in the Middle League with 55 wins and 27 losses, Chicago lost to New York in the conference semi-finals (4-3). BJ earned at least the final grade: he was selected as a rookie in the All-Star Game in Minneapolis (11 points, 4 points at 22 million) where he was accompanied by Pepin and Grant. During the following season, BJ remained the team’s third-best scorer (14 points), behind Pippen and Kukoc, until the return of Michael Jordan. Another failure awaits Bulls in the semi-finals (4-2 against Orlando). End of the boom period for BJ who would, for the record, be the last Chicagoan to wear the No. 10 (later pulled in memory of Bob Love).

On June 24, 1995, the Detroit native was Toronto’s first pick in the expansion draft. No Exile in Canada: The following September 18, he was sent to the Golden State opposite Carlos Rogers and Victor Alexander in particular. The competition with Tim Hardaway only lasts for a short time.

GM’s assistant to Bulls, then scout, then agent Derek Rose and Javal McGee

During the year, the former member of “Run TMC” goes to Miami. Armstrong appears at 12.3 points average in a team now entrusted with tandem Latrell Sprewell-Joe Smith (first draft pick 1995). The best is behind him, even if he would establish the third-largest streak of games played in a row, 577. In November 1997, the three-time NBA champion took over Charlotte, being replaced by Muggsy Bogues and Tony Delk. In March 1999, a new move was made, this time in Los Angeles (transported with Glenn Rice and J.R. Reed against Eddie Jones and Elden Campbell). Left free by the Lakers, Armstrong would pass through Orlando before ending his career in Chicago, his forever team, in 1999-2000.

Contrary to what we thought, “Gueule d’ange” would not go into politics. He helped GM, Jerry Krause, until the latter’s resignation in 2003. In a small blink of fate, BJ was fired from the position of head of basketball operations in favor of John Paxson, who had replaced him as the starting point guard a decade earlier. Armstrong played scouts for Chicago until 2005 before becoming a consultant and then a players’ agent.

He still defends the interests of Derek Rose, in particular, but also those of Gaval McGee or Josh Jackson. In total, her clients will raise nearly $30 million this season!

Career stats

13 years

747 matches (341 starts)

9.8 points, 1.8 pounds, 3.3 points, 0.71 international points

47.7% on shots, 42.5% on 3 points, 85.6% on free throws

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