As I get deeper into the world-wide phenomenon that is Bulls Nation, I am starting to realize the deep-rooted passion that the fans have for their team. Now let’s be clear, there are two types of Chicago Bulls fans out there. One type is the REAL fans that will be there no matter what. Those are the fans that comment with authority when I write about the team. Guys like Pippen Peoples, Swiftslick7 or Leroy Boyd. You guys I respect and admire because fans like you are lifelong fans. Fans like you keep me inspired to write articles and responding to your comments. The other type of fans are the “Jordan” fans (there are a ton). Those are the fans that say “I liked the Bulls when Jordan played for them”. I liken fans like these to people who just bought a fresh pair of “Air Jordan” shoes, but their car got repossessed while at the mall. To the real Bulls fans, this is for you.
Okay, raise your hand if you really thought the Bulls were going to beat the Spurs on the Road? To those raising your hand, stop lying. This game was a shock to everyone in the NBA circles, myself included. This game proves that Thibodeau and company will show up every night and earn their paychecks. That’s why the real fans love and respect this team. You guys relate to the blue-collar attitude of this team. It would be easy to break down how the team with all of the sports clichés like the “Team against the world” or ” They’re taking it one game at a time.” Nah, that’s not me. I’m going to ask… How long can this team keep up this pace with the resources that they have? Are there better players coming? Will the players that are contributing to the team’s success be around next year?
Listen Pippen Peoples, let me tell you something. We haven’t hit the All-Star break and guys like Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah have expended so much energy up to this point. It’s hard to believe that they can keep up this pace. To all of you real basketball players out there…you know as well as I do defense is harder to play than offense. You can take plays off on offense but on defense, it is much more taxing on you physically and mentally. (Unless you are Carlos Boozer.) This Chicago Bulls team is the most mentally disciplined team in the NBA. Period. Bulls management knows this. As long as this team plays hard, they will bank on the fact that you the fan will believe that things will get better and the team will get stronger. Here’s the problem. You have to PAY great players and pay for a supporting cast. The Bulls have shown the last few years that they aren’t going to. But everyone has their breaking point. The question is…How close are the Bulls?
Let me tell you a small secret everyone. The Bulls are nowhere near being contenders for the NBA title, with or without Derrick Rose. Here’s why…the front office. Jerry Reinsdorf is a business person, not a fan. He is obviously a great business person, the Bulls are one of only three teams (L.A. Lakers and N.Y. Knicks being the others) that is worth one billion dollars or more according to Forbes magazine. That’s the issue. Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks is a fan of the game. He will do anything to help his team win. How about the late Dr. Jerry Buss? He understood the dynamics of making money AND getting a good product that is an entertaining basketball team on the floor. Don’t get this twisted, Dr. Buss was the “architect” of “Showtime”. He just got players that people would pay top dollar to watch. He had no issues bringing in Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy and Byron Scotts of the world to run “Showtime” every night. Here’s the big thing, HE KEPT THEM! There was no trade rumors for these players every day. He realized the big picture that is the entertainment value is a big part of the bottom line. He had no issues paying out the checks as long as the team was winning. Dr. Buss had great “basketball” people who had his same vision. These people wanted championships as bad as he did. These people were the Pat Rileys, the Jerry Wests and Phil Jacksons. Did he get along with them all the time? No! But they all shared the common goal…championships. If you are winning, people want to be a part of what you are doing. Money comes with that. That picture has been a beautiful sight even to this day even though his son Jim has done his best to deface the picture dragging it on the ground the last few years. The Bulls have thrown out names and rumors in the media (a marketing tool) to put on an illusion that things are being put in place to build a championship contender. What direction do you see to make this team a championship contender. Without paying?
The Bulls have been riding off the Bulls dynasty for years. Michael Jordan will always be linked to the NBA globally. His successes will always be linked to guess who? The Bulls. Your franchise does not get to be worth one billion dollars offering goods and services (the team playing around the league) to people like me. I am a basketball purist. You make money off of the casual NBA fan. Every Michael Jordan jersey, every Jordan shoe (pick one, Team Jordan or Nike Air Jordan) indirectly puts money in Reinsdorf’s pocket. It is linked to when the Bulls were winning those titles every year.
Oh well, there went my chance to be General Manager of the Bulls.