Filler Bulls Shot

Here's A Reason To Hate Chicago.
By Tom Danehy

CONSIDER THE CHICAGO Bulls. They have: • The greatest player in the history of basketball (Michael Jordan), an athletic wonder with incredible skills, and even more importantly, the drive and will to make himself the best he can possibly be and the best of all time.

Danehy • The best coach in the NBA (Phil Jackson), a wise man who has managed to mesh incredibly diverse egos, a task which would have made Gandhi punch somebody. Jackson has even managed to keep Dennis Rodman from going on a postal worker-like shooting spree. Heck, all Rodman did was head-butt a ref.

• The best regular-season record in the history of the NBA. Their 72-10 mark shattered the old record of 69-13 and may stand forever.

• The oldest team in the league. Seeing as how I'm about 10 years past the point where I stopped dreaming that pro teams were going to call me at home and offer me a tryout, that means something to me.

• A defense that is nothing short of magnificent.

• A work ethic and professionalism that is sorely lacking in sports these days.

• Two former UA Wildcats (Steve Kerr and Jud Buechler) who are seeing a good amount of playing time, helping their team win tight games with their solid--if unflashy--play, and are serving as role models to millions of kids who can see that a little bit of talent and a lot of hard work can take you places.

The Chicago Bulls have all this and more. If they win the title, they'll probably be considered the greatest NBA team of all time.

Which leaves me with one question: Why don't I like them?

I've done some semi-serious soul searching on this and I can't really explain it. By all accounts of my own standards, I should be a Bulls fan, but I'm not.

I can appreciate some of their accomplishments on a technical level, I respect their overall intensity and hard work on defense and I applaud their team concept. But I just can't bring myself to root for them.

I've tried to look inside myself for the answers to this, but I just can't pin it down.

First of all there is Jordan. He is the best ever, but he's far from my favorite. He's rather cold and distant, plus, if we were having a pickup game where you have to win to stay on the court, I'd pick Magic or Larry Bird over Jordan. Or maybe it's the fact that I read that he has a trainer tie his shoes for him. What, Mike, Mom wasn't up this morning?

He also wears a new pair of shoes for each game, after which he donates them to charity auctions. But if he plays a bad first half, he'll put on a brand new pair at halftime. Hey, do those auction bidders know that they're getting a bad-first-half pair?

Then there's their regular-season record. It may well stand for all time, or it might be broken the next time there's an expansion year. Some of the stiffs they played against this year made it look like they crashed a British cotillion.

As for Rodman, I love the way he plays when his head is outside his butt. I hate him all the rest of the time. I don't like having to check on an athlete to see which of his personalities he will be displaying on any particular occasion.

Steve Kerr and Jud Buechler? More power to them. They deserve all the good things they get. But as much as I like those guys, it's not enough to make me want to root for the Bulls.

All that is left for me to do is to root for the Seattle Supersonics, and I hate Gary Payton.

I tried to pinpoint the cause of my dislike of the Bulls. It's not because I don't like the favorites; I always liked the Lakers during the '80s. It's not an L.A. thing; I like the 49ers in the NFL. It's not even a regional thing; I follow Notre Dame and Penn State football. It's not even their colors; I wore red uniforms at Cochise.

After mulling it over for what seemed like minutes, I finally realized what the deal was. It's all Skippy's fault.

For those who don't know the name, Skippy is my friend who was born and raised in Chicago. His given name is Jonathan Smith; I named him Skippy. We were at a pizza place one time and he mentioned how he had been the only African-American at an exclusive prep school outside of Chicago.

I said, "Damn, they must've called you 'Skippy.' Gave you a little propeller beanie to wear and voted you Homecoming King to show how liberal they were."

He replied rather sheepishly, "Well...I was Homecoming King."

But liberalism has its limits; they wouldn't let him dance with the queen.

Bulls fans are generally like Dallas Cowboys fans in training, but Skippy has taken it to a new level. To say that he gets obnoxious is to praise him with faint damnation.

It's always "Bulls this" and "Bulls that," ad infinitum. He calls at all hours of the day and night to sing about his Bulls and ridicule every other team.

For those of you out there who don't have a friend like can have mine.

So that's the cause of it all. It's Skippy's fault. If the Bulls win it all, he'll be insufferable. Of course, if they lose it all, he'll be insufferable. That's just his way.

So, since he's not going to change, the least the Bulls can do is lose. That would be some small consolation for me. TW

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