CHICAGO —It comes with the territory. That’s the classic cliche and the Chicago Bulls and their loyal fans are finding out first hand what it means.
Now that the Bulls are on the cusp of locking down the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and guaranteed a deep run in the playoffs, everyone and their grandma is a Bulls fans.
“Oh Derrick Rose is probably the best player in the NBA,” said a Bulls fan. “I hope they win it all, GO BULLS!”
He is no doubt right, except he was wearing a Derrick Rose jersey, which still had the tag on it, combined with an LA Lakers cap.
Now, there is nothing wrong with rooting for a team or acknowledging another player other than your favorite is the best in the league that year. Heck, I hate LeBron James, but I happily admitted he was the MVP the year he won it.
I didn’t, however, run out and buy a LeBron James jersey.
It always seems to happen and it always will and it’s really annoying.
Once a team has a safety net under it and is finally hip to root for, everyone jumps on. No sports are immune to the loathed bandwagoner. Skip Bayless is the newest member of the bandwagon squad, which will put all his mindless drone followers on the bandwagon too.
The Patriots have them. The Yankees have always had them.
Sidney Crosby is in a category all by himself in terms of bandwagon fans.
The question is then raised. Is there a cure for this disgusting plague?
As Reverend Lovejoy of The Simpsons fame has said, “short answer is no with a but, longer answer, yes with an if.”
In short, no, bandwagon fans are not going anywhere. Just look at the Heat. Miami became the hottest sports city in the world for about five seconds before a new club opened and everyone remembered they didn’t even know whatbasketball was. They just got excited that they saw themselves on ESPN.
But—there is a cure. The cure is no, bandwagon fans aren’t going anywhere, but the real fans don’t really care. At least, they shouldn’t.
The Bulls are a prime example of this. The fans have been waiting for a winner for a long time and have stuck with Chicago through thick and thin. The players know who these people are.
They’re the people who sell out the United Center and don’t care whether their Derrick Rose jersey is stitched or authentic. They’re just proud to wear his name and represent the Bulls, even if it means making a shirt of their own.
The true fans are the ones who voted Derrick Rose into the All-Star game just before all the MVP talk hit its peak. They’re the ones who wear the Bench Mob shirts because they love every player who wears a Bulls uniform, not just the one they see on magazine covers or sports highlights. They can recite Derrick Rose’s stats since his first year of high school, not just what he did last night.
These are the fans the Bulls are fighting for a championship for. Not the fans who still have the price sticker on their Bulls jerseys.