Archive for the ‘Bulls’ tag
Personally, I’d be happy to run into Pau Gasol at the Lyric Opera of Chicago or similar location, he seems pretty cool, probably an interesting conversationalist. Not all athletes are dumb jocks, especially not those who have made it to the professional level. Those mouth-breathers we all knew in high school might have been muscle-bound knuckleheads, puffed up on testosterone and vainglorious, but they didn’t have the intelligence and drive to make it to a professional sport career, or at least none of the idiot jocks I knew in high school.
Anyway, despite this not being one of the Chicago Bulls better seasons, so far, I do hope that Pau Gasol re-signs with the team this summer.
NBA players have too much time and too little to do. When they’re not in a basketball arena, the rest of their days are spent watching television, refreshing Twitter and fine-tuning their ability to fall asleep faster than almost anyone on earth.
Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic would rather go to the opera. Or the symphony.
This season, for the first time, Gasol and Mirotic both have been starters for the Chicago Bulls. But around town, they’ve become known as something else: the city’s biggest patrons of the arts. Gasol and Mirotic are regulars at the opera house. They have been backstage guests of the symphony orchestra. Officials from the city’s highbrow cultural institutions say they can’t remember professional athletes coming to any of their performances—let alone as many as these Bulls.
No one in the NBA is as openly obsessed as Gasol. The 7-foot all-star keeps Mozart and Chopin recordings on his phone, and he needs to think carefully before naming some of his favorite operas: “Carmen,” “La Traviata” and “Tosca,” which he has seen three times. He may be the only professional basketball player ever who says he enjoys watching operas evolve.
The abundance of culture in Chicago is actually one of the reasons Gasol plays for the Bulls. Gasol grew up around music in Barcelona, but it was only when he was with the Los Angeles Lakers that he went to the opera for the first time. It turned out to be something of a day spa—a place where he could escape from the world. “Especially during the season,” he said. “It takes my mind off basketball.”
Gasol, who is friends with the legendary tenor Placido Domingo, has made the arts such an essential part of his life that they played into his decision to sign with the Bulls as a free agent last year, he said. Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf introduced Gasol to the right people at the Lyric, and it wasn’t long before he was a familiar face at operas, concerts and musicals across the city. “I’m a big supporter of arts and culture,” Gasol said. “I think they’re traditions that we need to continue to pass on to younger generations.”
(click here to continue reading The NBA Team That’s Bullish on the Opera – WSJ.)
Sam Smith, the Chicago Bulls beat writer 1 answers a question I’ve long wondered about: namely, who comes up the wacky trade rumors, most of which have no basis in reality? Who benefits?
I always wondered how trade “rumors” begin. Are 99% of what we hear really started at the water cooler or some bored journalist? Do pro-ball teams have a representative that reports to the media every time they are considering a deal? How can all these “reports” out there even get out in the first place? For example, “Lakers are said to offer Lamar Odom to the Timberwolves for the No. 2 pick.” – How would this info get out? Do GM’s have a private line or access to every other GM in the league or a yellow pages of sort where just they have access, call them up and talk shop? Are their phones tapped? Someone under the desk listening with a notepad? Are any offers emailed through today to other GM’s? I’ve been caught up in draft day, free agency periods the last 30 years and I am finally just too damn curious how this entire process works. If anyone can explain this the right way to us all, it’s got to be you.
Sam: You have come to the right place. I even had an owner ask me this a few days ago when one of his players was mentioned in a deal and he said no one on his staff discussed it with anyone. There are some that start badly as you say, with a couple of guys talking and “what if” becomes “I hear.” That’s tremendously irresponsible, but there are some major web sites these days which basically have a policy never to admit a mistake and just publish denials, as if that covers them. Plus, it has become a bit of a game to report something with the idea that this is just entertainment reporting and for discussion so what’s the harm? There are two ways most rumors begin and one problem is the pressure many media people are under for these internet scoops with the constant refresh button issue. Often a team will call another and propose something, like Odom for Love and No. 2. The other team laughs and says how about Kobe and Pau for Darko. And that’s that. But then some scout who heard it in their office tells someone “can you believe the Lakers asked for this?” And technically it is true that is was “discussed.”
For some media people to get “hits” in this era that’s enough as it is true that it was “talked about.”
The evil underside is agents. That’s where much of the ugly stuff comes from. What some of these guys do is leak stuff to reporters in an attempt to embarrass a competitor. So then they pursue their client and tell him that if he changes agents things will be better. Though, after all, it is just discussion. And by now, really, most players and fans have come to understand often it just good talk and talk radio type discussion. The truth also is teams routinely ask other teams about basically everyone on their roster to try to determine the worth of their own players. I have no doubt, for example, the Bulls have mentioned to other teams everyone but Rose to get an idea what the player’s value might be. That goes on all year, and what the reporting really shows is how few of these talks ever really get out as opposed to you thinking so many do.
(click here to continue reading Ask Sam | Sam Smith opens his mailbag | 06.24.11 | Bulls.)
- and former Chicago Tribune star [↩]
Steve Aschburner reports on why Luol Deng is in all probability the most interesting NBA player still playing in this years playoffs. Joakim Noah has an interesting backstory too, but not as deep a tale as Luol Deng’s:
A member of the Dinka tribe, Deng was born in the Republic of Sudan as one of nine children. He remains devoted to his homeland through his Luol Deng Foundation, which focuses on charitable work in Chicago, in London and back home. He is especially active in the Lost Boys of Sudan efforts to help.
• His father, Aldo, served in the Sudanese parliament and was the country’s Minister of Transportation before sending his family to Cairo, Egypt, to avoid Sudan’s civil war.
• While in Egypt, Deng received basketball instruction from former NBA center Manute Bol, another Dinka tribesman.
• When Deng was 8 years old, his father was granted political asylum in England. That explains his participation in international competition with the Great Britain national team, with an eye on the London Games in 2012.
• He came to New Jersey at age 14, sent with his older sister Arek. They enrolled at Blair Academy, a prep school in Blairstown, which promptly became a serious basketball threat. Arek went on to play at Delaware, their brother Ajou played at Fairfield and Connecticut and Deng spent the 2003-04 season at Duke.
He averaged 15.1 points and 6.1 rebounds for the Blue Devils and became the seventh pick in the 2004 NBA Draft. (Phoenix traded his rights to Chicago for Jackson Vroman and a 2005 first-round pick that became Nate Robinson.)
In January, Deng was cheered by fellow relocated Sudanese at a makeshift polling station on the city’s North Side when he voted on a historic independence referendum for that country. At one point, he draped the Southern Sudan flag around him. The effort was successful and in July, the southern state will officially secede and Deng’s proud father Aldo will be there.
“It’s OK for people to take basketball seriously,” Deng told a New Jersey reporter after practice Monday. “It’s not something to resent or lecture them about, ‘Oh, you take all this for granted.’ … But I know how good I have it. Sometimes people struggle, even here in Chicago, and it’s no more than bad luck.” •
Oh yeah, we almost forgot: Deng is President Obama’s favorite NBA player.
(click here to continue reading Chicago’s Deng in position to add to already-lengthy resume | NBA.com.)
Sam Smith, perhaps the sports writer closest to Phil Jackson, the soon-to-be-retiring Zen Master for the Los Angeles Lakers, dubbs Thibs, the first year Chicago Bulls coach, as the new Zen Master. Intriguing, and even plausible.
There always has been a Zen Master in the NBA. Red Auerbach was perhaps the first, which may be why he and Phil Jackson were so at odds, because they really were so alike. Red was a teacher, as all the great coaches truly are, and one whose mantra of sacrifice and teamwork transcended the individual. Phil Jackson most popularized this Zen appellation, but it perhaps is best represented now by Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, who Sunday accepted the award for the 2010-11 NBA Coach of the Year, the Red Auerbach trophy.
Tom Thibodeau really is the NBA’s Zen Master.
I was awakened to this notion in discussions with a friend of mine, Erv Ruhl, a retired psychology professor from Fresno State. Erv had been struck by a comment Kyle Korver made after the Bulls clinched the Pacers series. Someone asked about the Bulls looking ahead and Korver interrupted with a quip about whether the questioner knew the Bulls coach, a guy named Tom Thibodeau, whom we know chants the “one game at a time” mantra. But more than that, as Erv pointed out, Thibodeau has raised basketball teaching to an existential level. Bulls players now universally see the season and the playoffs only as far as the next practice, the next play, the next game.
It’s all they talk about, less rhetoric than lifestyle.
It’s something of the ultimate for a coach and teacher. Players routinely offer doltish clichés about one at a time. The Bulls believe it and live it like few teams I’ve ever been around because of Thibodeau.
Thibodeau doesn’t say it that way. But Bulls players have embraced the journey. They know now instinctively a journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step, that the jug fills only drop by drop.
Yes, classic Eastern philosophy.
And then there’s Thibs’:
“When you get a team that truly commits and everyone puts everything they have into it every day you don’t have to worry about anything else,” Thibodeau said at his press conference at the Berto Center Sunday. “You’ve done all that you can do. And that’s how I measure success. We know if we are doing the right thing every day, good will come.”
It’s one thing to promulgate those views, but then another to issue the imperative that resonates with the group. It’s the ultimate hope of the teacher. It is the Thibodeau liturgy repeated. Not championships or awards or matchups but doing your job hour by hour, day by day and being satisfied knowing you are prepared and taught the correct way that you will achieve what you are due to achieve.
The teacher opens the door, but you enter by yourself.
(click here to continue reading Thibs is Coach of Year and Zen Master | Blogs.Bulls.com.)
I will say that this year’s Bulls have been the most fun Bulls team to watch in a long, long time. Besides the rapid, explosive growth of Derrick Rose into super-stardom, there isn’t anyone else on the team who is a stellar, transcendent talent, and yet they won the most games of anyone in the league this year. Will they win a championship? I’d like to say yes, because I want them to succeed, but I’d be surprised if they did. But that’s looking too far ahead. Better just to watch each game and then go from there. You know, Thibs-like.
The Tribune Bulls beat writer, K.C. Johnson, adds about the Coach of the Year award:
The ritual became a game among the Bulls, no matter the player, no matter the hour.
Enter the Berto Center for a workout and glance up at the office window on the far north side of the building to see if Tom Thibodeau’s light was on.
“I don’t know if he gets here at 5 or 6 a.m.,” Luol Deng said. “But he’s here early. And he’s the last to leave.”
Joakim Noah put it more colorfully earlier this season.
“It’s kind of annoying,” he said playfully. “He lives at the gym. You can’t get away from him.”
Thibodeau’s tireless work ethic has led to success.
Capping his history-making rookie season, Thibodeau ran away with NBA Coach of the Year honors on Sunday, earning 76 first-place votes and landing on 113 of 119 ballots to post 475 points, far surpassing former Bulls and current 76ers coach Doug Collins. The Spurs’ Gregg Popovich and Nuggets’ George Karl rounded out the top four.
Thibodeau, who tied Paul Westphal’s NBA record for most victories by a first-year coach at 62-20, joins Phil Jackson, Dick Motta and Johnny “Red” Kerr as franchise winners of Coach of the Year. He’s also the seventh first-year coach in NBA history to win the award, joining a list that includes Kerr and Thibodeau’s former boss in Boston, Doc Rivers, who texted him congratulations.
(click here to continue reading Chicago Bulls: Tom Thibodeau NBA’s Coach of the Year – chicagotribune.com.)
I agree with Matt McHale’s assessment of the 2011 Chicago Bulls. I’ve watched more Bulls games this year for whatever reason, not every single game, but some or all of 60 or more out of the 82 regular season games, and there weren’t many victories that the Bulls destroyed their opponents. They out-worked, out-hustled, out-coached, and then let Derrick Rose win the game for them. The 2011 Bulls are an enjoyable team to root for because they aren’t the most star-studded roster – not the most talented, but willing to expend effort to compensate for their lack of South Beach-esque talent and hype.
No, what they did was not “storming” so much as it was grinding out win after gritty win. As the season wore on and other teams struggled with injuries, boredom, or a general pulling back of the throttle to reserve energy (both mental and physical) for the playoffs, the Bulls came out with the same level of focus and desire to win every game every night.
The Bulls were the league’s best regular season team not because they are the most talented group of players but because they wanted it more. Because their focus and intensity was more consistent than any other team in the Association.
And so now there’s been a major shift in perception. Remember: The Bulls were not expected to lead the East in regular season wins. Many people figured they would finish behind the Celtics, Heat and Magic at a bare minimum. Maybe the Hawks, too. And, as I’ve mentioned, there were people who genuinely believed that the Milwaukee Bucks might win the Central Division.
With great power comes great responsibility, right? Well, with 62 wins comes increased expectations. When the Bulls were grinding out win after regular season win, they were exceeding the expectations that had been set for them prior to the season. But now, because they were the league’s best team for 82 games, there are new expectations. Namely, that they should be steamrolling their opponents, especially lesser teams like the Pacers.
Look, I’m not trying to demean the players on this team, because they’re great guys. That said, the Bulls’ success this season has caused many people to overrate the team’s talent. I think this has happened for two reasons. First, because the Bulls have been so successful, people need to reframe the situation to better understand it. “Oh,” they decide, “these guys must be a lot better than I gave them credit for.”
Second, in the rush to argue against Rose’s MVP candidacy, it became a popular notion to suggest that his teammates were actually better (or even much better) than previously assumed. “Hey,” they pointed out, “check out those plus-minus numbers. The Bulls aren’t just Rose. They have a lot of really good players.”
I’m not sure that’s actually the case, though. If the Bulls truly had a lot of really good players, they wouldn’t have to start Bogans. No, what Chicago has are a lot of solid NBA contributors who bought into a concept (defense and teamwork) and played their butts off for six months.
I mean, let’s face facts. Carlos Boozer was a major free agent last summer, but he was definitely on the second tier of the most sought-after acquisitions. Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer might have been on the fourth tier. As far as I could tell, there were no bidding wars or trade battles for the services of C.J. Watson. Kurt Thomas is ancient. And everyone realizes that Omer Asik is a rookie with almost no offensive game to speak of and even less upper body strength, right?
Oh, for the record, I’m not saying any of this to boost Rose’s MVP resume. I just think that it’s worth reevaluating the updated perception of the Bulls. The 62-20 record looks overpowering, but this was not an overpowering team. The Bulls might be number one in terms of wins and losses, but in terms of pure talent, they might not be in the top five. They are very well coached, they play exceptionally hard and they believe in each other. Oh, and they have Rose to clean up any messes.
(click here to continue reading Game 2 Recap: Bulls 96, Pacers 90 » By The Horns.)
Chicago Bulls icon, Scottie Pippen, not pictured above, was feted by Mayor Daley and the City Council today
Bulls legend Scottie Pippen received formal recognition from the Chicago Mayor’s Office during Wednesday’s city council meeting at City Hall.
The council honored Pippen for his 17-year NBA career, and more recently, for being inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and rejoining the Bulls as Team Ambassador.
“It was a historic moment for me personally to be among so many of the Chicago’s powerful politicians,” said Pippen. “Mayor Daley so many others who work at City Hall have done a tremendous job for the City of Chicago. For them to take a break from what I’m sure are 24-hour jobs running the city and providing so many of the things we enjoy meant a lot to me.”
As the legislative body of the city, the City Council usually meets once every month to exercise general and specific powers delegated by state statute. Mayor Richard M. Daley led the proceedings in which a resolution was read citing some of Pippen’s most prominent accomplishments.
Several moments were recalled by various aldermen who supported the proclamation, from Pippen’s dunk over the Knicks’ Patrick Ewing in the Chicago Stadium’s final game during the 1994 NBA Playoffs to carrying a sick and slumped Michael Jordan off the court during the 1997 NBA Finals in Utah.
and I love this:
Alderman Patrick J. O’Connor of the 40th Ward echoed that sentiment, noting how often times the Bulls of the 1990s helped keep the city’s politics out of the headlines.
“I have a theory about politics in Chicago,” O’Connor told Pippen. “We love our sports teams so much that we only turn to politics when our sports teams aren’t doing real well. And you and the Bulls kept the city of Chicago politics off the front page for so long.”
“Thank you!” interjected Mayor Daley as the council erupted in laughter.
(click to continue reading Scottie Pippen honored by Chicago Mayor’s Office | Bulls.)
with a pool of blood (or Chicago skyline screen)
see ya later Kirk
The Chicago Bulls announced today that the team has traded guard Kirk Hinrich, the draft rights to forward Kevin Seraphin and cash considerations to the Washington Wizards in exchange to the draft rights to forward Vladimir Veremeenko.
“During this free agency period, we wanted to aggressively position ourselves to explore every avenue possible to improve our team. That said, it was not an easy decision for us trade Kirk, but one that we felt was necessary in order to make the Chicago Bulls a better basketball team,” said Chicago Bulls General Manager Gar Forman. “Since Kirk joined us back in 2003, he came to play every time he stepped on the court and he always gave 100 percent. We will miss Kirk and wish him the best of luck.”
Hinrich leaves the Bulls ranking first in team history in three-point field goals made (812), first in three-point field goals attempted (2,144), fourth in assists (3,004), fourth in steals (655), fifth in turnovers (1,116), sixth in three-point field goal percentage (.379), sixth in disqualifications (30), seventh in minutes played (17,502), eighth in points (6,902) and 10th in field goals made (2,510).
Marv Albert interviewed President Barack Obama on the White House basketball court, including about the Arizona immigration law, and Los Suns:
Obama on sports figures and organization getting involved in political issues, such as the Phoenix Suns taking a stand against the Arizona immigration law: “I think that just because somebody’s a sports figure or you’ve got a sports team doesn’t mean that you’re not part of the community and you’re not part of our democracy. I think it’s terrific that the Suns, who obviously feel very strongly about their community, recognize that a big part of their community felt threatened by this new law. You know, when I was growing up, you had figures like Arthur Ashe and Bill Russell who routinely would talk about the world around them. You wouldn’t always agree with them, but that sense that people are engaged in the big issues of the day, I think, is a positive thing. I don’t think that either players or franchises need to always steer away from controversy. I happen to personally think that the Arizona Law is a bad idea, I’ve said so publically, and I see no reason why these guys can’t make the same statement.”
Obama on if he played against differently since becoming the President: “Well, it is true I usually have guys with guns around, so if somebody takes a real hard foul, they could get in trouble. Nobody ever lets me win because if you let me win, you’ll never hear the end of it. I’ll talk a little trash about you. I’ll make you feel bad about yourself if we beat you real bad.”
Obama on his improved bowling: “My bowling has greatly improved. So Marv, you’re touching on a slightly sensitive point. I’m not going to walk off the set here, but we do have a bowling alley here at the White House and I’ve gotten a lot better.”
(click to continue reading NBA.com: Notes from TNT’s exclusive interview with President Obama.)
The entire interview (Flash), uncut:
A few interesting links collected January 24th through January 26th:
The Lakers Meet President Obama at Lakers.com BasketBlog – “I do want to point out that six of them came with the Bulls,” said Obama, a big time Chicago fan. “You remember that, Magic?”
That one had all in attendance cracking up, particularly after Obama turned towards Magic to pantomime Michael Jordan’s right-hand-to-left-hand layup in the 1991 Finals, when Jackson’s Bulls defeated Johnson’s Lakers 4-1.
“It was really a special moment in time that I’m going to always remember that the President of the United States trash-talked Magic Johnson,” said Johnson. “And me restraining myself not to come back at him. He was the only man on earth that ever trash-talked me and I (didn’t) say anything … it was a great moment.”
- Wal-Mart Using Fake Community Group to Manufacture Support – Chicagoist – While Wal-Mart certainly has the right make its case to Chicago, the way they’ve gone about this – creating a fake community group that purports to represent a community’s residents and interests – is sneaky and underhanded. If what they have to offer Chicago is such a great deal, why did they need to go through the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce to set up a bogus grassroots group? When I started asking questions around their tactics, they refused to talk to me
- Love Story :: rogerebert.com :: Reviews – I was so put off by Erich Segal’s writing style, in fact, that I hardly wanted to see the movie at all. Segal’s prose style is so revoltingly coy — sort of a cross between a parody of Hemingway and the instructions on a soup can — that his story is fatally infected.
[the book version]
After raising themselves in the desert along with thousands of other “lost boys,” Sudanese refugees John, Daniel and Panther have found their way to America, where they experience electricity, running water and supermarkets for the first time. Capturing their wonder at things Westerners take for granted, this documentary, an award winner at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, paints an intimate portrait of strangers in a strange land.
[Click to Netflix Netflix: God Grew Tired of Us]
Wow, what a moving film. Not treacle, but still caused us to weep a few times. Don’t expect the film to fill in much of the historical backdrop of the Sudan war, nor the Darfur refugee crisis, that is not contained in the scope of the movie. Instead, just marvel at the resiliency of the human spirit.
Stephen Holden of the New York Times:
“God Grew Tired of Us,” a sober, uplifting documentary that follows the resettlement in the United States of three young men uprooted as children by the civil war in Sudan, is the softer, Hollywood-sanctioned version of an earlier documentary, “The Lost Boys of Sudan.”1 A National Geographic production, directed by Christopher Quinn and narrated by Nicole Kidman in her loftiest A-student elocution, “God” won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. How could it not? Handsomely photographed and inspirational, but not cloyingly so, it is the rare contemporary documentary that doesn’t leave a residue of cynicism and outrage.
As it balances excruciating images of hardship, suffering and starvation with wry observations of newly arrived immigrants learning to use electric appliances and visiting their first supermarket, you are won over by the charm, good manners and nobility of its three subjects, John Bul Dau, Panther Bior and Daniel Abul Pach. Each is a member of the Dinka, the Christian, animist, agricultural people in southern Sudan driven from their land by Islamic government forces from the north. Except for a couple of sentences about the hasty British partition of Sudan, the film offers no historical background.
[Click to continue reading Movie Review – God Grew Tired of Us – After a Struggle to Escape Comes an Effort to Adjust – NYTimes.com]
Andrew O’Hehir of Salon.com:
“Does Santa appear in the Bible?” wonders a recent Sudanese refugee, confronting the bewildering spectacle of Christmas shopping at a mall in Syracuse, N.Y. He knows what Christmas is; it was celebrated with rituals and dancing every December in the Kenyan relief camp where he has lived for the previous 10 years. But what is the connection, he wonders, between this fat man in a red suit and the birth of Jesus Christ?
For American viewers, moments like those may be the most pungent in Christopher Quinn and Tommy Walker’s documentary “God Grew Tired of Us,” which follows a small group of Sudan’s “lost boys” into their new American lives. The young men in the film have never operated an electrical appliance or a water faucet, never been inside a building of more than one story. On their first plane voyage, they clownishly stumble on and off escalators, eat the margarine and salad dressing out of their little plastic pouches, wander through the vast corridors of airports in Nairobi, Brussels and New York in single-file amazement.
But the comedy of their journey from one world to another is not cruel. Instead it is wrenching, pathetic and noble, and along the way the three men at the heart of “God Grew Tired of Us” come to stand for more than themselves. Like all of humanity, they have come out of a pre-industrial age and into a postmodern one rapidly. For most of us in the West, the process began with the birth of our grandparents or even great-grandparents. The lost boys made the journey in two days instead of 100 years or more, but their dislocation in the world of swimming pools, supermarkets and Santa Claus is nonetheless familiar to us.
Why is it, as one of them wonders aloud, that using Palmolive dishwashing liquid does not turn everything in your kitchen green? Why is it green at all? During a tour of an enormous Pennsylvania grocery store, they commit the phrase “hoagie rolls” to memory as an important element of American culture. One man peers dubiously at a mountainous pile of waxy, green cucumbers and inquires, “Is this edible?” Another comes to understand that Americans prefer potatoes that have been cooked, sliced into fine slivers, heavily salted and stored in a colorful plastic bag.
So much history and geography is covered in “God Grew Tired of Us,” and the human story it conveys is so moving and so charged with ambiguous moral lessons, that it seems almost irresponsible to complain about it on formal or historical grounds. Let’s put it this way: This is an important film. It’s amazing that it exists, and the events it recounts are still more amazing. Everybody should see it.
[Click to continue reading Beyond the Multiplex – Salon.com]
It isn’t relevant, really, but the Chicago Bulls starting small forward, Luol Deng, is also from the Dinka tribe of the Sudan. What a difference of circumstance from the Lost Boys of Sudan.
When he was young, his father Aldo, a member of the Sudanese parliament, moved the family to Egypt to escape the Second Sudanese Civil War. In Egypt, they met former NBA center Manute Bol, another Dinka, who taught Deng’s older brother, Ajou Deng, how to play basketball while also serving as a mentor for Luol himself. When they were granted political asylum, his family emigrated to South Norwood in London, England. Deng developed an interest in soccer and basketball, and was invited to join England’s 15-and-under teams in both sports. During this time, he began his career at Brixton Basketball Club. At the age of 13, he played for England’s squad in the European Junior Men’s Qualifying Tournament, averaging 40 points and 14 rebounds. He was named the MVP of the tournament. Next, he led England to the finals of the European Junior National Tournament, where he averaged 34 points and earned another MVP award.
Deng is involved in numerous charities. He has been noted for his work on behalf of the Lost Boys of Sudan and other refugees. During the summers of 2006 and 2007, Luol went to Africa, Asia and Europe with the NBA for their Basketball Without Borders Tour. He is also a spokesperson for the World Food Programme. “He really does epitomize everything I had hoped for as a person and a basketball player,” general manager John Paxson said. “I think it’s one of the reasons we’ve gotten to the level we’re at this year. I’m truly proud of him. I think the world of him as a person and as a player.”
[Click to continue reading Luol Deng – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]
A few interesting links collected November 11th through November 12th:
Joakim Noah is the spice in Rick Morrissey’s salsa escapade – TrueHoop Blog – ESPN – “When Noah was drafted, [Rick ] Morrissey wrote a column called “You Must Be Joakim” predicting Noah would be a bust, and promising to eat his column, with salsa, if Noah turned into a good NBA player.
When I finally saw the video, one thing stands out: Joakim Noah is not only there watching, but he’s up out of his chair, cheering and dancing!
After Morrissey’s droning preamble, in which he doesn’t really admit he was wrong, but instead asks Noah about how he got so dramatically better (as if nobody could have possibly foreseen this two-time NCAA champion succeeding — let the record reflect that when Noah was selected, David Thorpe said the Bulls would win a championship with Noah), it gets to eating time.
Noah claps his hands together, shouting “NOW WE’RE EATING THE SALSA! NOW THE GOOD PART!”
Indeed, because of Noah’s energy, this is the good part. ”
- Letters of Note: Please – no preferential treatment – Asimov was a mensch
- allmusic – Alone Again Or – Written by second guitarist Bryan MacLean in the early ’60s in musical tribute to his mother, a flamenco dancer, “Alone Again Or” is lushly beautiful, but also achingly sad, thanks both to MacLean’s distressed lost-love lyrics and Lee’s high-register vocals, which give the song an off-kilter quality due to the fact (also revealed in the reissue’s liner notes) that Lee’s vocals were originally meant to be simply a high harmony to MacLean’s gruffer lead, but Lee pushed his own vocals front and center, mixing MacLean out almost entirely, during the album’s final mix. In both respects, then, it fits perfectly as the start of Forever Changes, a jaundiced “no thank you” to the supposed sunshine and good vibes of the Summer of Love as well as Arthur Lee’s own Pet Sounds, the album he intended as his personal artistic summation.
Sam Smith reports:
Has Dwyane Wade purchased his Chicago dream house as a prelude to signing a free agent contract with the Bulls next summer?
Or is Wade just a clever real estate speculator at a good time?
Prying eyes want to know. And at least basketball franchises in Chicago and Miami.
ChicagoMag.com’s real estate blog reported Monday that Wade has purchased a four story riverfront townhouse in Kinzie Park, which is just west of the Loop across the river from the East Bank Club. The price is said to be about $1.4 million, which hardly seems like what you’d pay for an occasional getaway place back in your hometown if you are planning to establish roots in Miami by signing a major extension.
[Click to continue reading Chicago Bulls Blog: Dwyane Wade buys $1.4 million Chicago townhouse]
Hey, DWade for Ben Gordon1 is definite upgrade; even though Dwyane Wade is injury-prone, he is certainly one of the top guards in the NBA.
Sam Smith still doesn’t believe in outgoing links, but Google is2 our friend:
The Kinzie Park townhouse is part of a development of former industrial parcels across the river from the East Bank Club that also includes high-rise condos. The townhouses have private yards fronting the river along a shared promenade. Wade bought a 3,900-square-foot unit with a two-car garage and a rooftop deck.
The property was on the market for almost a year, says the seller’s agent, Harold Blum, and it sat vacant for a while. “But then we furnished it and we got two offers,” says Blum, who would not reveal whether Wade’s offer was the higher of the two. Wade closed on the sale in late June, but information on the deal only surfaced recently at the Cook County Recorder of Deeds.
[Click to continue reading NBA and Olympic Star Buys in River North – Deal Estate – August 2009 – Chicago]
Coincidentally, Flickr-eeno phule and I were just walking past here a couple weeks ago, albeit on the other side of the river. It doesn’t look like I took any photos of this area, but then I didn’t see anything photo-worthy either. I’d like having DWade as a near-neighbor, not that I’m much of a celebrity stalker (well, except for the time Michelle Obama was eating across the street). The Chicago Bulls can dream, right?Footnotes:
A few interesting links collected March 3rd through March 4th:
- Warnings: Going To The Doc? Be Sure You Don't Sign A Gag Order – "ateMDs.com says it's planning on creating a "Wall of Shame" that will list all the doctors who are known to use the Medical Justice waivers—around 2,000 so far, according to Medical Justice.
John Swapceinski, co-founder of RateMDs.com, said that in recent months, six doctors have asked him to remove negative online comments based on patients' signed waivers. He has refused.
"They're basically forcing the patients to choose between health care and their First Amendment rights, and I really find that repulsive," Swapceinski said."
- Johnny "Red" Kerr: Man of pleasures and passions — chicagotribune.com – "This disclosure sparked a discussion about our shared love of music. When Red asked for some of my favorite artists, I mentioned acts as varied as Uncle Tupelo, the Clash and Alejandro Escovedo and didn't give it much more thought.
About a week later, Red arrived at the United Center for a game with a stack of CDs in his hand.
"Here," he said, handing them over. "I burned you a bunch of your favorite artists. I really like that Uncle Tupelo. Thanks for turning me onto them."
He was 68 at the time."
A few interesting links collected February 27th through February 28th:
- Debunking the Clean Coal Myth : EcoLocalizer – “There is no such thing as “clean coal” in the U.S. today. Coal is responsible for 32% of CO2 emissions in this country and 83% of the CO2 emissions from producing our electricity. In theory, we could retrofit this nation’s coal plants to capture their pollution and store it. Here is my question: If every single coal plant needs to be revamped to be truly “clean,” why not just invest that time and money in truly clean, renewables?” [Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by Seth Anderson]
April Winchell » Barack Obama is tired of your motherfucking shit – Ray, a fellow classmate of Obama’s, was also bi-racial, and also trying to define himself. But what set him apart was his colorful manner of self-expression. Ray cursed like a motherfucker.
This would all be snickerworthy enough, but it turns out that Obama actually read the audiobook version of Dreams From My Father.
And that means he read Ray’s quotes.
And that means you’re about to hear the President of United States using language that would finish Cheney off once and for all.
Chicago Reader Blogs: Chicagoland Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all: The Chicago Journalism Town Hall – “In other words: journalism isn’t dying. (Journalists are dying, of course, but even I don’t blame the Huffington Post for that.) The institutions are dying. That’s it. We’ve isolated the problem!
Journalists (I will irresponsibly use this as a synonym for “people who work in broadcast or print,” even though we’re all kind of journalists, which I will get to later) blame the bloggers (ditto, for people who work online). Bloggers blame the journalists. Everyone blames the economy, and management. Was it Ben Goldberger in the Blog with the Aggregator? Or was it Eric Zorn in the Newspaper with the Inverted Pyramid, or Sam Zell in the Boardroom with the ESOP?”
John Bolton at CPAC: The Benefits of Nuking Chicago | Mother Jones – “Former UN Ambassador John Bolton believes the security of the United States is at dire risk under the Obama administration. And before a gathering of conservatives in Washington on Thursday morning, he suggested, as something of a joke, that President Barack Obama might learn a needed lesson if Chicago were destroyed by a nuclear bomb.”
BULLS: Sam Smith: He was always Stormin’ – “Chicago understood Norm because it is known as the Second City. It is in the flyover region. Norm couldn’t crack the big time and run with the big boys, not among the playing elite and not afterward. But he never accepted being less than them and always was sticking his foot in the door to remind them he wasn’t going away.
Norm was like us. Never really appreciated despite working so hard at it and giving everything he had every time. Norm broadcast harder than some guys played the game, and he let them know it. Someone was speaking up for us, and we loved Norm for that. And he loved us because he understood, if not accepted, rejection.”
SLAM ONLINE | » First Person: Norm Van Lier – “It was my dad who helped me let go of my anger. Before he died in 1988, we watched “The Godfather” together. Afterward my dad asked me, “Why do you think the Bulls owe you anything?”
I told him about this and that, slights and slams, stuff that had grown into huge obstacles in my mind.
“Did they pay you on time?” Yes, sir. “Were their checks good?” Yes, sir.
“Well, then they don’t owe you a thing. So get up, stop feeling sorry for yourself, and go to work.”
I swear, from that moment on, my attitude was completely different. I’ve not looked back since.”
- The Sports Guy: Bill Simmons Welcome to the No Benjamins Association – ESPN Page 2 – Ru-oh.
“For once, the league’s problems have nothing to do with talent, drugs, racial issues or how the sport is being played. With the country embroiled in its worst economic crisis in 80 years, the NBA is quietly bracing for its own little D-Day … only outsiders don’t fully realize or care. Clearly, we wouldn’t put this budding debacle on par with the Gulf War, the collapse of American car companies, the real estate quagmire, the implosion of Wall Street, the decline of the American dollar, the shaky footing of previously untouchable media institutions (newspapers, magazines, TV networks, movie studios and publishing companies), or even Vegas and the porn industry caving financially. “
Media Matters – Media Matters: In support of shunning – Will has made false claims about the Voting Rights Act and the New Deal. He made a claim about China drilling off the coast of Florida that was so wrong, even then-Vice President Cheney — who cited Will in repeating the claim — acknowledged it wasn’t true. When even Dick Cheney thinks you’ve gone too far in spouting pro-drilling falsehoods, you have a problem. But neither Will nor the Post corrected the error.
Last year, Will claimed in his Newsweek column and on ABC that Social Security taxes are levied based on household income. Not true. He claimed that McCain won more votes from independents during the primaries than Obama did. Wrong. He claimed most minimum-wage earners are students or part-time employees. False. Will has even lied about Hillary Clinton’s Yankees fandom.
Basically, George Will routinely makes false claims large and small, holds politicians to disparate standards, and engages in ethically dubious conduct on behalf of his preferred candidates.
The George Will Affair : CJR – Undeterred, on Tuesday, the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters, Friends of the Earth, and Media Matters for America sent a joint letter to the Post reiterating the call for some form of correction or clarification. It cited three key problems with Will’s column: that he misused data on global sea ice levels from the Arctic Climate Research Center; that he misrepresented the World Meteorological Organization’s position on global warming and climate trends; and that he “rehashed the discredited myth that in the 1970s, there was broad scientific consensus that the Earth faced an imminent global cooling threat.”
“George Will is entitled to his own opinions, but he is not entitled to his own facts,” the letter concluded. “We respectfully ask that you immediately make your readers aware of the glaring misinformation in Will’s column.” But the Post’s position remains the same.
Some additional reading February 26th from 17:50 to 18:48:
- Chicago Reader | Norm Van Lier | Chicago Bulls – RIP – Awesome article from 1994 re the recently departed Stormin’ Norm Van Lier. A little bit of flash, 1970s beanbag bong hits, and some racism that still lingered twenty years (and fifteen years past that).”There was a time, not long before Michael Jordan, when Norm Van Lier was the best guard who’d ever played for the Bulls and was worshiped by basketball fans all over Chicago.”
- Chicago Reader Blogs: News Bites – Quite interesting discussion of what newspapers might turn into, or not, and what might replace them, or not. Could one be a reporter for $41,000 a year, before taxes? Happily?