Rozner: Where are nets from '98 Chicago Bulls title? Right here

 
 
Updated 6/4/2018 7:57 PM
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  • Dan Roan proudly displays a section of the net used when the Chicago Bulls won their sixth NBA title against the Utah Jazz in 1998. The Bulls didn't bother with a traditional net-cutting ceremony so Roan and members of his WGN-TV crew ended up with the prized mementos.

    Dan Roan proudly displays a section of the net used when the Chicago Bulls won their sixth NBA title against the Utah Jazz in 1998. The Bulls didn't bother with a traditional net-cutting ceremony so Roan and members of his WGN-TV crew ended up with the prized mementos. Photo courtesy of Dan Roan

In more than 30 years with WGN-TV, Dan Roan has lost track of how many thousands of live shots he has done.

Now if you ask him about a 5-iron he hit to kick-in distance at a course in Michigan in 2008, he'll give you chapter and verse on the wind, pin placement and yardage he had from a hook lie on the left side of the fairway.

Live shots? No chance.

But there's one that stands above the rest because it was late on a Sunday night on June 14, 1998, after Game 6 at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City following the Bulls' sixth title celebration.

"We were just standing there getting ready to do a live shot from the court," Roan said. "The (arena) bowl was empty. It had completely died down. Only four or five of us were there, all of our guys from WGN."

That's when Roan's eyes grew wide.

"I looked up and said, 'The nets are still on the rims.' I couldn't believe it," Roan says now, 20 years later. "That's one of those where you look to your left, look to your right. There was no one around.

"We saw a huge ladder standing between a section of the bleachers and the wall. So we walked over and grabbed the ladder. We had a little knife -- and you know what we did."

Will the witness please be specific?

"We cut the nets down," Roan said with a big laugh. "I took one and (producer) Nick Mitrovich took the other one.

"I took the first one, where Michael (Jordan) hit the last shot."

But now, what to do with it.

Michael Jordan didn't cut down the nets, but he left the arena with the MVP trophy after the Bulls won Game 6 against the Utah Jazz in the NBA Finals to claim their sixth NBA championship on June 14, 1998.
Michael Jordan didn't cut down the nets, but he left the arena with the MVP trophy after the Bulls won Game 6 against the Utah Jazz in the NBA Finals to claim their sixth NBA championship on June 14, 1998. - Daily Herald File Photo, 1998

There was a well-oiled press party at the media hotel in a dry city, courtesy of the NBA, and it goes without saying that the media took full advantage.

Upon discovery of the caper, there was much interest in the ballroom.

"I actually split mine up," Roan said. "Les Grobstein was there and he begged for some, so I cut him off a little piece about the size of your little finger. I cut the whole net in half and gave that half to my producer, Krista Ruch.

"When we got home, I had it mounted on a plaque."

But the story doesn't end there.

"Funny thing is, two weeks after the game was over, Dennis Rodman's agent, Dwight Manley, went and bought everything he could find in the Delta Center from that night," Roan said. "He got everything that wasn't nailed down.

"He got benches, chairs, rims, backboards, but he didn't get the nets.

"I remember watching the Channel 2 news and Tim Weigel was telling the story of Manley, and Tim says, 'This guy thinks he got everything, but I know he didn't get the nets because I know where they are!'

"Sometime in the last two years, I saw a story about someone collecting all that stuff from Game 6. They said they got everything, too.

"I said, 'Well, maybe not.'

"We videotaped ourselves cutting them down. It's legit."

Michael Jordan is surrounded by the media after the Bulls won Game 6 of the NBA Finals in 1998 for their sixth NBA championship.
Michael Jordan is surrounded by the media after the Bulls won Game 6 of the NBA Finals in 1998 for their sixth NBA championship. - Daily Herald File Photo, 1998

And, no, Roan never worried about someone asking them to return the merchandise.

"You better check the statute of limitations on this before you write and publish," Roan said laughing. "I have a nice piece hanging on my wall in the basement.

"We also snatched up some NBA Finals banners from the concourse. The late Randy Salerno (of WGN news) climbed up on a vending machine and grabbed that.

"No one was around. We kept looking around. We were absolutely worried while we were on the ladders, but it's not like we had to post a guard on the corner of the floor.

"Less than 90 minutes after game ended, there wasn't a soul in the bowl, which was shocking enough, and when we realized those nets were there, it was like, 'We gotta do this, don't we? Of course we do.'

"And how lucky were we that there was a ladder right there for us?

"It was just surprising that the Bulls didn't cut them down. It was still a custom in those days that they cut down the nets and everyone took a piece.

"Maybe they had done it five times and just didn't care. They were more interested in getting the trophy and getting out of Utah."

Roan hasn't once thought about selling his prized possession, though he admits the subject has come up from time to time.

"I never even went to the trouble of seeing what it was worth," he said. "I was at a function a couple years ago and asked a collector what he thought.

"He said, 'If it's legit, it might be worth a lot.' I said, 'What's a lot?' But he wasn't committing, and I never pursued it.

"It's more like a family heirloom now. When I'm gone, someone in my family will get it."

In the meantime, it's a heck of a story. Statute of limitations, be darned.

Michael Jordan pours champagne over the head of Dennis Rodman in the locker room after beat the Utah Jazz in the NBA Finals for their sixth NBA championship. Rodman's manager later purchased a lot of mementos from the arena, but he didn't get the nets.
Michael Jordan pours champagne over the head of Dennis Rodman in the locker room after beat the Utah Jazz in the NBA Finals for their sixth NBA championship. Rodman's manager later purchased a lot of mementos from the arena, but he didn't get the nets. - Daily Herald File Photo, 1998

brozner@dailyherald.com

• Listen to Barry Rozner from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on the Score's "Hit and Run" show at WSCR 670-AM and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.

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