While I praise all of you die-hard Bulls fans out there who never left the team, as small, pale, blonde-haired, blue-eyed white boy who could barely win the occassional game of HORSE, I must admit to being somewhat distant from the Bulls in between the Jordan and Rose eras. I was a huge Bull fan growing up and, like many of us, jumped at the chance to watch the display that Jordan put on on a nightly basis. Admittedly, I was not a die-hard Bull fan, and I willfully stopped caring or paying nearly as much attention once the dynasty was dismantled.
However, over the last few years, and I am proud to say even during the overly mediocre Vinny reign of the past two seasons, I have been watching more and more basketball. While I am not going to draw more than this one comparison between this new Bulls era and the Jordan era, I can honestly say basketball has not been near this much fun for me in over ten years.
I am putting myself out there, because my suspicion is that many of you feel the same way. The die-hard fans will (somewhat) rightfully label me a bandwagon fan, but I would disagree with that. I simply am a fan of good basketball, or if that is not available to me, then at least entertaining basketball. Over the last two seasons, that's what I got from Derrick Rose and the Bulls: entertaining basketball. But, now, we are obviously on the brink of seeing consistently good basketball from our Chicago Bulls, and Derrick Rose continues to take enormous steps in becoming a legitimate NBA superstar. Now that's good basketball.
The situation is surely not hurt by the simply outstanding broadcasts brought to you by a Neil Funk and a Stacey King, which I think would be enough to keep me watching now even if the Bulls did still suck, but thankfully we have a team with a number of improving young players, along with the ever-evolving Rose, and on top of all that, a brand new major free agent acquisition that has been paying immediate dividends in Carlos Boozer.
While the team was able to perform well without this major free agent at the beginning of the season, it has likewise succeeded in winning without Joakim Noah, its other main young talent. The Bulls have not been 100% healthy save for a handful of games this season, and still coach Tom Thibodeau has been able to keep his team in an excellent position. Thibodeau, and especially his knack for preaching defense, has been a nice departure from what we were used to seeing under the guise of Vinny Del Negro.
Most recently the team continued to impress and please fans with a victory over the Galactic Empire, a.k.a. the Miami Heat, over the weekend, and followed that up with another win yesterday in Memphis. With Noah soon to return to the roster, things seem to be pointing up higher and higher for the Bulls, which is a treat for the die-hards as well as the fans who were missing during the 2000's such as myself.