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You Tube Gold: Norm Van Lier

Van Lier and Jerry Sloan injected toughness into the Bulls’ DNA

Chicago Bulls v Washington Bullets
Norm Van Lier on the drive

The Chicago Bulls had an identity before Michael Jordan came along and it was primarily forged by the backcourt of Jerry Sloan and Norm Van Lier.

Both guys were renowned for their toughness. Van Lier was smallish at 6-1 but he more than made up for it.

He and Sloan may have been the toughest backcourt anyone has had. These are guys that Larry Bird, also legendarily tough, would have loved.

Van Lier came out of East Liverpool in Northeast Ohio and was not seen as a big prospect. He went to St. Francis and then had a 10-year career in the NBA.

When you see this clip, you’ll see a guy who was sort of between eras. He was obviously really quick but at times seemed to belong to the older NBA. Then you see him spin in traffic or dart to the basket and realize he was something special. He would have been fun in today’s NBA and he would still be one of the tougher guys in the league.