Sometimes when you want something to change, you want it to fail badly, so you can make a clean break and an accomodating radical change.
I became a fan after the 1992 NBA Finals, after I got my first basketball hoop set, and after Cheryl decided she was going to collect basketball cards. That’s when I decided that I was a Chicago Bulls fan for life.
With the advent of the internets, my fandom was strengthened and grew quite exponentially. The internetz brought on an onslaught of statistics, analysis, and message boards that has cultivated the fandom into an addiction. An addiction I sincerely wish I could kick.
Maybe now’s the perfect time to quit or make a valid attempt, in the similar way I kicked the Cubs after 2003 and Steve whatever-his-name is and the Bears after that disappointing as hell Super Bowl in 2007.
Cause of fandom death:
Today, the idiot Chicago Bulls decided to let their leading scorer for the past 4 years, Ben Gordon walk to the Detroit Pistons for nothing.
Ben Gordon was the main guy on a team that would often cut costs but still maintain its effectiveness.
He was a winner in every way, but this franchise as is currently constructed and ran by Jerry Reinsdorf to an absurd Michael Jordan-driven profit wouldn’t know a winner if it played for them for 5 years. And they generally don’t care, just as long as you help them maintain their league-leading profit levels!
Fuck you NBA League Pass, fuck you annual Bulls-Lakers or Bulls-Clippers or Bulls-Warriors game.
There is no sense to sports fandom at all in the first place, and definitely there is even less in fandom of a team that isn’t interested in winning basketball games.
Ben Gordon’s performance as a rookie and the subsequent winning it entailed was the only reason I went back to following a godforsaken post-Michael Jordan Bulls team back in 04-05. I had been following the Bulls for each season after MJ left, but I had lost some interest at the start of 2004-2005 due to the departure of Jamal Crawford.
Now to those who know, Jamal Crawford doesn’t exactly have the best reputation in the league, but I thought he was a good player, and I would miss him.
Enter Ben Gordon, his replacement, whom I was quite ambivalent about, being my favorite player’s replacement and all. I didin’t even care who Ben Gordon was during the NBA draft, all I know is that we didn’t get Andre Iguodala. Ben Gordon struggled throughout summer league and wasn’t doing anything of note, which was stellar.
The Bulls started the season with 0 wins and 9 losses in a season consisting of 82 games. I fell off the team. I knew we were going to suck, but I didn’t know how badly we were going to suck.
Then we won our first game. In the 2nd month of the season. Whoop-ti….
Then out of nowhere, I heard that the Bulls started winning games. Consistently. We went from worst team in the league to a 47 win, 35 loss team, led by the rookie sensation, 6th man Ben Gordon!
I don’t remember the exact moment when I got interested again, but by the time it was all said done, he had 20 of those double-digit 4th quarters. He was a league-wide, National Basketball Association sensation. I’d never heard commentors talk so much about the importance of “clutch.” “Clutch” is the ability to come through in tight situations. In the context of basketball, that means taking and making shots that most players won’t take and/or make.
For those of you casual Laker fans, his ability to make tough shots was and has remained comparable to Kobe Bryant’s ability. He was so well-recognized that as a rookie he won the NBA’s 6th man of the year award, the only rookie to ever do that.
What he showed as a rookie was quite special. He was the pressure shot maker, the momentum-driver, the force behind the momentum swings inherent in basketball, something I thought the Bulls could’ve milked more throughout his tenure.
Ben Gordon showed he had that ability till the very end.
Most fans who would post on a message board game thread would always expect him to be the guy to bail us out of a tight situation. He was the only one who could string together 9 points in a hurry through his dazzling accuracy of his 3-point shot.
I won’t forget the Indiana game in 05-06 when we were down 17 with 7 minutes to go, and he erupted with 16 points in the 4th, including an awkward off-balance 3-pointer that gave the Bulls the lead. Winning this game sparked the rest of our playoff run en route to a 12-3 finish.
Along the way he tabbed that 9 for 9 performance on ESPN that helped solidify a playoff spot for us.
It was this amazing streaking ability that lead his coaches in later years to perceive him as being “one-dimensional”, “inconsistent”, and “unreliable.”
The extreme focus on his apparent deficiencies is probably why the coaches Scott Skiles and Jim Boylan brought him off the bench to begin each of their tenures. He was never considered a “complete” basketball player, something that I found to be an excuse to hide the fact that Kirk fucking Hinrich is a sad basketball player that Jerry Reinsdorf likes because he’s as white as a Chicago blizzard. There seemed to be an almost intense scrutinization of his weaknesses. If he wasn’t one-dimensional, inconsistent, and unreliable, he was/is short, selfish. One he tempered all those criticisms, people started saying that he wasn’t the type of player that won championships. The epic Playoff series against Boston and hopefully future ones will help you stop that.
Every bad characteristic you could ever associate was associated with a guy who even in during vacation seemed to be focused on just playing basketball.
All this negativity seemed to be enough motivation for BG to get off the bench and keep proving them wrong.
He continued to be the strongest scorer not because there was no one else to score, but despite the franchise-imposed bullshit he was that strong a scorer.
Back in the days when there was thought that he would be a part-time point guard, I said that I thought he could be OUR Chauncey Billups, a re-made, deadly long-bombing throwing clutch player who can take another team’s heart out with his barrage of shooting. Looks like he might he get a real chance at that.
Bits of BG7:
-The tribute game to long-time announcer Red Kerr and legend Norm Van Lier where he and Rose combined for 18 points in the last 5 minutes to beat an unrelenting Rockets team.
-The first game where he scored 40-something against the Heat.
-The double-four point play games this season against the Clip Show and heh, his new employer
Commentator “You don’t want to give up a three-pointer to this guy”
[Ben Gordon gets open 3, takes it, makes it, is fouled]
-That Spurs home game in 06-07 where we played the cleanest basketball ever and just cleaned out the eventual champions. All the message board posters (on basketballboards.net) that day were talking about how BG had played his best team basketball ever.
-A New Years Eve game in the 2007-2008 against Dwight Howard where tried to carry the short-lived Boylan era into respectability and came up with 39 points, but had no support whatever from his teammate
-Those games against New York when he was always hitting the last shot
-The game where Michael Redd from Bucks (52) and Gordon (48) combined to score 100 points
-The Suns home game in 06-07 where he scored 40-something without Kirk Hinrich and we should’ve won if not for a trick shot by Barbosa
-The shot against Bosh in Toronto this past year, a game which we let slip
-How we should’ve beaten Boston in Game 2 with that should’ve-been backbreaking 3-pointer that made it 109-103 that pissed the hell out of Doc Rivers. Almost similar to that game where he had 42 against the Heat, but D-Wade off a terrible inbounds got the last laugh. BG always seemed to have pretty good offensive games against that All-defensive teamer Dwyane Wade.
-How we should’ve won game 5 with an awkward-potentially game winning shot which went in that Doug Collins openly questioned “what’s he doing?!” to which Kevin Harlan said “he’s giving Chicago the lead, that’s what he’s doing!” Check in at 3:06 below.
-How he was the only one willing to take shots in Game 7 against the Celtics on a bum hamstring but nothing would fall
A-dios to the Bulls-eye