Winning Matters

I liked what Denzel Valentine, the Bulls’ newest addition had to say at his introductory press conference yesterday – “Winning matters.” It was also said of Valentine that he’ll “play dead.”

Contrast this attitude to that of DRose, who many Bulls fans are happy to see as the Knicks’ newest problem. DRose was beloved in Chicago, even through injury #1, and rehab. But when he refused to get on the court when he was cleared to play and most of his team was half dead, well, that’s when the DRose love turned into hate.

I’m a bit indifferent about DRose’s departure, but will say that I couldn’t have chosen a better team for his next chapter, and mine. Because I grew up watching the Knicks, and that’s how my basketball subject matter expertise began to develop at an early age (note: that’s a joke).

And if my all-time favorite Bulls player (other than Michael Jordan), Joakim Noah lands with the Knicks too, Bulls Banter could be re-purposed as “Bulls Banter and Knicks Notes.” We shall see.

In my final blog of the 2015-2016 season, I predicted “Gonna Be Some Changes Made.” It’s started, and it’s not done yet.

When it comes to Derrick, I contend that if only he didn’t live like the boy in the bubble, insulated from reality, and the everyday people like me — he wouldn’t have been shipped off to the Big Apple. If he had the ability (and heart) to convey the kinds of sentiments verbally, during press conferences and interviews – that he (or his writer) conveyed in his Good-Bye to Chicago, included in its entirety below, he would still be in Chicago.

The last straw was probably when DRose, unprompted started talking about his 2017 contract year, and how important it was for him to feel healthy enough to sit in business meetings down the road (versus getting on the court to play that day, that week, that year- to help his teammates win). And this is while fans can’t afford tickets to the game. And other people can’t even buy a cup of coffee or a roll. But those topics will have to be addressed in another blog.

The writing was likely already on the wall for this new chapter, for DRose, the Bulls and Bulls Banter (+Knicks Notes?). But starting to write the next chapter is easier said than done for all of us, I would guess.

See Red!

Go Bulls!

Summer League starts on July 8.

I’m Ready for New York – Chicago made me who I am. But it’s time for a new chapter

(From The Cycle, by Derrick Rose, Point Guard, New York Knicks)

My phone was ringing and ringing, but I had no idea. It was on silent. I was in the middle of an interview, cameras on me. I couldn’t make this up: I was talking about Chicago. The city, the basketball scene I came up in. How that city raised me, made me the man I am today.

A few minutes later I peeked at it and saw the notifications — missed calls, text messages, voicemails, all from my agent BJ. I called back and he told me: I was about to be traded to the New York Knicks.

“It might happen,” he said. That means it’s going to happen. He wanted me to be mentally prepared.

I had a feeling for a few weeks that a trade could be in the works. But I didn’t know for sure. There were rumors going around that I could be moved soon, and of course you hear that stuff and try to ignore it. That’s impossible. But I never let it really sink in.

The first thing I thought about was my son PJ. It’s hard enough to find time to see him during the season even when I’m in Chicago. Now I’ll be in New York, hours away. It’s a lot of miles. I know this is part of being an NBA player, though. We’ll find a way to make it work. I owe him that.

I’m so excited to move to New York City. I’ve never spent much time there—the most time I’ve been there is two or three days, and never really during the summer. Now it’ll be a solid seven months. Chicago’s a big city, but it’s kinda chill, not fast-paced like New York. Joakim Noah, who’s like a brother to me, is from Manhattan, and he’s told me a lot about it. I’m going to soak up as much knowledge about the city as I possibly can.

Chicago made me who I am. It’s tatted on my wrist. I was raised in my grandmother’s house on South Paulina Street in Englewood. Being drafted by the Bulls, becoming an All-Star and an MVP on the Bulls, helping the team make the playoffs — all of that was a dream come true. I’ll never forget it. I’ve carried Chicago with me everywhere I’ve gone, from around the country to all over the world. I always will.

I understand that this is a business and the Bulls have their plans, their own ideas with what direction they want to go with the team, but I’m gonna use this as motivation. I was with them for eight years and they let me go. There’s no hard feelings, no grudges. They’re trying to do what’s best for the team. I totally understand that. But I don’t think I would be wrong for using this as motivation.

After I hung up the phone with BJ, all sorts of emotions flowed through me. I was shocked. Anxious. I knew there was so much to handle right away, and it was all hitting me at once. Things I need to take care of — business, endorsements, where I’m going to live, who’s coming with me. I want to focus on nothing but basketball. I just want to let my game speak for itself. My voice will always be loudest on the court.

I’m 27 years old — there’s still so much ahead for me. I really believe this trade is a blessing. After all of the emotions passed through me, I started to realize how pumped I am for what comes next. I’m going to be playing alongside Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis. This is an amazing opportunity. I can’t wait.

I’m ready for New York.

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