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Espn Page 2: Riding and dying with the Bulls

Funny article by Scoop Jackson. Snipets:

Ride or die? That is the question. And the Chicago Bulls are forcing me to answer it.

* * * * *

The ride began with a column I wrote back in November. Their record at the time was 2-11. It was their sixth straight year of starting off the season with at least six losses. They began this one 0-9. "Fed up" is an understatement. PO-ed is a more accurate description of the feeling I had. And I'm not a Bulls fan like that. I just live in a city that forced me to love them.

The column dogged them. Not as a team – as an organization. It painted the owner and former GM as devils, and not the kind from Duke; used Tyson Chandler as a pawn, and not the kind in chess; called the organization 7:30, and that doesn't mean the time. Wrote: " ... the last three letters at the end of the team's name were missing."

Bulls. Hit. Get it?

The night of the day I turned the story, they won the first in a five-game winning streak. When the story hit the streets, they were in the middle of their second five-game winning streak. I called Tim Hallam, director of PR for the Bulls, and told him they "owe me for reverse-jinxing the team." He never called back. Over the next months, I'd hear through the vine that it'd be smart for me not to show up at the United Center.

That was until last week, when – in the middle of a nine-game winning streak, which put them in position to have HCA (home-court advantage) in Round 1 of the real season – I received a call from someone inside the organization. They wanted me to come to a game. They asked me to present the game ball.

* * * * *

So are the Bulls that special, overachieving team that beat Cleveland by 12 last week in OT? Or are they the lack-of-defensive-awareness team that got that fanny spanked by 20 last night in Miami?

Both. But this year, they've overachieved 41 times, which is 20 more times than they had this time last year. Even after getting thumped by a Shaq-less Heat squad, there is belief once again on the streets of Chi that the Bulls are the one team no team in the East (except maybe Miami) wants to face in the playoffs. A belief we haven't had for seven years.

So with that, I ride.
 

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Ugh. I thought the late Ralph Wiley was an overrated columnist but I couldn't deny that he had a competent style. Scoop reminds me a lot of Ralph Wiley...but about three million times less competent.

Seriously, does someone want to pay me to write this stuff? Long, meandering, "impressionistic" passages about the Bulls that commits to nothing other than being a fan? No argument is ever made, no observations are ever offered, and he has the annoying habit of affirming and then denying everything he says.

"Maybe Nocioni is the blue-collared, hard working ballhawk Chicagoans have longed for, someone whose long road to the NBA speaks as a testament to hard work and sucking it up. Or maybe he's not. Maybe he's the floppy-haired savior riding in on a thunderbolt throwing bigger men out of the way with reckless abandon like some kind of hellhound banshee on a juice bender. Or maybe he's not. Or maybe, just maybe, he's a man like the rest of us with a heart and four limbs and a love that just won't quit. Or maybe he's not. Maybe he's something different."

That's the kind of bs paragraph Scoop writes all the time. It says nothing, it's full of nonsense, it's illogical and the references are inconsistent and often baffling. I dislike Scoop's writing with a burning passion and I'm somewhat offended by the 'credibility' his vernacular seems to have almost by default...

edit: I should add, in fairness, that I DO love something Scoop wrote once and that it DOES do the "say nothing/affirm/negate" thing I just harped about. He wrote in his "I Believe" article:

"I believe Allen Iverson is the best player in the game.
I believe Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are better than him."


I like that because I feel the same way about AI...but I still am not a Scoop fan... ;)
 

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So are the Bulls that special, overachieving team that beat Cleveland by 12 last week in OT? Or are they the lack-of-defensive-awareness team that got that fanny spanked by 20 last night in Miami?

Both. But this year, they've overachieved 41 times, which is 20 more times than they had this time last year. Even after getting thumped by a Shaq-less Heat squad, there is belief once again on the streets of Chi that the Bulls are the one team no team in the East (except maybe Miami) wants to face in the playoffs. A belief we haven't had for seven years.
well the fact the Bulls played a Shaq-less Miami was stated but Scoop failed to mention the Bulls missing Curry and Othella. The lack of defensive awareness crack also seems a little misinformed, that has been the one reason the Bulls have improved.
 

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Riding and dying with the Bulls

Riding and dying with the Bulls

(various excerpts)

Ride or die? That is the question. And the Chicago Bulls are forcing me to answer it.




This was supposed to be the game. The indication of what might be come May. Might be a second-round matchup. Might be the next ECR: East Coast Rivalry. Flash vs. Capt. Kirk; Shaq vs. the "next" him, Eddy Curry; Udonis Haslem vs. Andres Nocioni. But Shaq had a stomach virus and EC missed his third straight game due to an irregular heartbeat.





But still ... this was supposed to be the gauge game, a statement game, the game when the Bulls get gauged as to whether they are pretenders or predestined, when they make the statement that they ain't the Bucks of last year. This was supposed to be the one that was going to win Scott Skiles the COY award; the one that was going to get Ben Gordon the ROY award, plus the Sixth Man prize; the one that was going to scare the Pacers, the Wizards and the Celtics. This was that game.

<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR><TD width=5 rowSpan=2><SPACER height="1" width="5" type="block"></TD><TD width=195>
</TD></TR><TR><TD style="PADDING-BOTTOM: 3px; LINE-HEIGHT: 13px" width=195>Ben's coronation was put on hold by the Heat.</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>This was the game that was supposed to prove the Bulls' nine-game un-losing streak was real as government cheese. They asked me to watch this game, use it against a hypothesis, use it to come to a conclusion. Gauge. Make statements.






So 48 minutes and 39 career-high Dwyane Wade points later, I came to this conclusion: The Bulls eventually are going to break my heart like the Illini did.



...





The night of the day I turned the story, they won the first in a five-game winning streak. When the story hit the streets, they were in the middle of their second five-game winning streak. I called Tim Hallam, director of PR for the Bulls, and told him they "owe me for reverse-jinxing the team." He never called back. Over the next months, I'd hear through the vine that it'd be smart for me not to show up at the United Center.



I heard most of the players were cool, but the front office "wasn't feeling me right about now." So I stayed away. Watched the Return on television, listened to it on radio.



That was until last week, when – in the middle of a nine-game winning streak, which put them in position to have HCA (home-court advantage) in Round 1 of the real season – I received a call from someone inside the organization. They wanted me to come to a game. They asked me to present the game ball.





LeBron James was in the building that night, last Thursday. It was the first game the team had to play without Curry, out with his heart situation. My first game of the season. Against the Cavs, one of the teams the Bulls might have to go against in the playoffs. Playoff-like situation, playoff-like atmosphere, playoff-like game. King James drops a 3 at the sound to send it into OT. Five minutes later, the Bulls exit the stage with a 12-point victory. The Davins on the bandwagon are spinnin'.





"They're going to make some noise in the playoffs," former Bulls player Stacey King said.





I agreed. Ten games over .500. The thickest rotation in the league. Twelve role players who know their roles like the cast of "Ocean's 11." Clippers youth with Spurs mentality. My home team was bizack. I could hear Scarface and Jay-Z in the background all day, everyday, during timeouts. Plus – despite a minor Chris Duhon "pushing" incident – I felt like family with the Bulls again. Talking to Jannero Pargo on the cellie about his brother, screaming Deng's full name with my radio co-host Leon Rogers during the game, watching Ben Gordon validate his new tag, "4Q" as in Fourth Quarter, while he dropped 22 of his 35 points in the 4Q in the game before the one I'm at.





<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR><TD width=5 rowSpan=2><SPACER height="1" width="5" type="block"></TD><TD width=195>
</TD></TR><TR><TD style="PADDING-BOTTOM: 3px; LINE-HEIGHT: 13px" width=195>Dwyane Wade is here to remind any Eastern Conference hopefuls that there's new power in town.</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>Then last night came. And the bubble went pop like Eminem.





Ride or die?





SI posed a question during the Jordan Era that I'll never forget: "Are the Bulls so good they're bad for the NBA?" Now, in the middle of the birth of the Gordon Era, there is a different question that I'm asking myself: "Are the Bulls so good they're good for the NBA?"





Couldn't answer then, can't answer now. The more things change, the more they remain serendipitous.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=jackson/050406
 
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