"Former 'Flying Illini' stud Kendall Gill stopped me on the sidewalk, and asked me some questions about the Chicago Bulls." That's what I told my wife on the phone, as I frantically picked up the pace to walk near her direction after work yesterday evening.
Every weekday evening I leave work from the Loop around 5:15 p.m. so I can walk to Streeterville (1.5 miles), pick up my wife and daughter and then head home. Along the way I walk past the CBS 2 studios on Dearborn, just in time to get Steve Baskerville's evening weather on the Jumbotron 3000. I also cut through Block 37, which allows me to shoot up State Street, which is where I spotted the Rich Central High legend with a cameraman and a mic.
I have to admit that I was a bit taken back by the invite, but hey, I couldn't pass up a chance to tell the Chicagoland area what I think. Not to mention, it wasn't like this was going to be Comcast Sportsnet's guilty-pleasure program, Gas Money. (Seriously, this show is awesome. Catch it when you get a chance. I find myself both yelling at the TV with answers, while admiring the sleeves of tattoos that grace every other contestant.)
In any rate, I was ready. Kendall, who isn't much taller than I am, put his arm on my shoulder and asked me if I thought the Bulls should be on the fast track to bring back Derrick Rose. This was an easy one. I looked him right in the eye and said, [I'm paraphrasing here] "Kendall, I think the Bulls should take their sweet time in bringing back Rose. Yeah, it'll be great to have him back, but this team is playing just fine without him right now. Let him take his time so we know he's for sure 100 percent."
Nailed it. I was feeling pretty good about that one. Of course the Bulls should wait as long as humanly possible to bring Rose back to the lineup. I know it's only early February, but according to the standings, the Bulls are currently fourth in the East, and only 3.5 games behind the Heat for first. D-Rose, take your time.
What came next weren't necessarily tough questions, but they made me think a little more in how to answer them. For example, Kendall asked me who the Bulls' MVP was thus far in the season. Good question. After what seemed like longer than a minute, I replied with Luol Deng. It's safe to say that I also could have answered with Joakim Noah or even Carlos Boozer, but Deng was who came to my mind. He's been playing with the hand injury and still draining jumpers on the wing. Not to mention his defense and passing have stepped up.
Kendall then asked me who the most surprising member of the Bulls has been this season. Again, I felt like I knew the answer, but it took me a minute. I answered with Jimmy Butler, but, again, could very easily have said Boozer or Marco Belinelli. Boozer is playing like the guy we knew in Salt Lake City, and Belinelli has been a nice addition, especially with his perimeter shooting.
The last question was if I preferred Madonna or Beyoncé (I chose Beyoncé. I mean come on, right? Everyone is in a fuss as to whether or not she was lip synching? Who. Cares).
So in the end I guess I wasn't as sure about this team as I previously thought. Yeah, they'll make the playoffs, even if that means coach Tom Thibodeau will squeeze every last minute out of this injured squad. They might even make it to the Eastern Conference Finals again against the Miami Heat with a 100 percent Rose leading the charge. In the end, I hope to again one day be stopped by Mr. Gill on State Street, and this time answer questions about a repeat title.