I'm a Bulls fan extremely mad online. If you aren't sure why, Ricky O'Donnell summed it up best here.
Below you'll find the application I'll be sending to 29 other teams. It's simple, straightforward, and if answered correctly, will fix my problem of having bumbling idiots running basketball operations for my favorite team.
Obviously I'm kidding. The Bulls will always be the center of my civic pride. But it's heartbreaking to watch a franchise openly express zero interest in assembling a dynamically run organization.
Yes, we've had it really good as Bulls fans. We've had the blessing of watching six championships with the greatest athlete to ever play the game. But now, nearly 21 years since Michael left, the organization has watched the city's two baseball teams each win a World Series, three Stanley Cups, and a Bears team turn a toxic culture into a Super Bowl contender coming of age under the right coach.
But the Bulls are lazy. They refuse to put the work into winning another title. Instead they keep hoping with enough Jordan era nostalgia we'll keep blindly handing over our money without ever seeing just how little they respect us. That's why they've never changed the logo, or the uniform, or why they plant Scottie Pippen courtside for every game. They're hoping we just keep thinking about the 90's when things were perfect. But we're not as dumb as John Paxson thinks we are. The game is more accessible than ever with the advent of League Pass and sharing highlights online. There are no big markets anymore. Only superstars with massive follower counts. And the Bulls transparent dysfunction has kept every free agent superstar from ever landing in Chicago.
And It's not just here in Chicago. The Bulls are still incredibly popular in Asia. David Stern had the brilliant, but also like no duh dude, idea to take the game globally as Michael Jordan's stock soared. But those 90's kids in Asia have grown up. A lot of them have their own children who will probably fall in love with basketball like their parents did. Who are they seeing on TV or YouTube? Not Cameron Payne, or Jabari Parker. They're watching Steph, Embiid, LeBron, Harden, and Durant.
By refusing to do what's right and fire John Paxson and Gar Forman, the Bulls continue to alienate their fan-base and decimated their growth potential. After Jordan's run, they had an opportunity to be the next Lakers, or Celtics, or Yankees. Instead of working at becoming a multi-decade institution of greatness, they've made nearly every wrong decision possible and show no signs of accountability.
Until ownership sells the team, this is what we can always expect - a dysfunctional, condescending misery. I'm just so sick of it.
Let's cook! The best thing about Nike taking over as uniform supplier for the NBA was introducing the 4-6 jersey rotation. Each team gets an Association, Icon, Statement, (formally known as home, away, and alternate respectively) and City. Some get a Classic and playoff teams will get an Earned jersey this season. But the City uniform changes every year and typically debut after the first monthish of the season. Which for NBA nerds like myself, that means 30 delicious new leaks a year.
The Timberwolves leak today tells us their City uniform this season is inspired by Minnesota's favorite departed baby boy, Prince. The late singer was an NBA fanatic and of course, a Minnesota native. It's only fitting their most culturally significant son is honored in Purple Rain font in his favorite color. We still need to see the official unveiling to absorb every detail, but from the leak it appears the Timberwolves finally did something right this season.
Wow. What a day. There are a special days on #NBATwitter every basketball fan will always remember. The great DeAndre Jordan emoji battle of 2014, the Warriors blowing a 3-1 lead in the 2016 NBA Finals, the Cavs blowing up their team at the 2018 trade deadline, and the annual Dwight Howard has a new team day that comes around every late June.
If you're not familiar with #NBATwitter, it's quite possibly the most insane phenomenon of the internet age. No other sport has this sort of fan engagement. To participate in #NBATwitter, you have to follow two people - ESPN NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski (Woj) and The Athletic's Shams Charania. They're the overlords of this weird little Twitterverse. When these two report break NBA news, Twitter essentially erupts with GIFS, memes, and photoshops. The NBA is the most dramatic league in the world, and #NBATwitter perfectly balances the theatrics with unparalleled humor.
Today, #NBATwitter was something special. What should have been a week celebrating major milestones, Dwyane Wade announcing his final season and Elton Brand accepting the 76ers GM position, the focus is now on three separate events all colliding simultaneously. As an #NBATwitter addict, I'm here to break down the events of the day for you.
12:46 p.m. - Jimmy Butler requests a trade from Minnesota Timberwolves
Let's cook! The first news drop of the day was arguably the juiciest. After only one year in Minnesota, it was reported Jimmy Butler requested a trade to one of three teams - the Clippers, Knicks, or Nets. The announcement wasn't a huge surprise as rumors swirled all summer of his unhappiness with the Timberwolves organization. It was also reported Thibs was flying to LA this morning to meet with Jimmy and sort out this mess. I think most people figured Jimmy would stick it out one more year and then test free agency in 2019.
He demanded a trade. When a guy's PR team tells one of the two pillars of #NBATwitter that their client wants out right now, that means they're not fucking around. Within a few minutes of telling Shams, every team in the NBA knew Jimmy was suddenly available, thus crashing his trade market value for the Timberwolves. Now Minnesota has no choice but to move him for pennies on the dollar.
The silver lining for Minnesota is the franchise belongs to Karl-Anthony Towns once again. He's one of the brightest young stars in the league and doesn't have to share the leadership role with Jimmy anymore. The downside is, they traded two young assets and my sweet, beautiful, baby boy Lauri Markkanen to the Bulls for a one year rental. WHOOPS!
1:25 p.m. - Mark Cuban donates $10 million to promote women in leadership roles
Back in February of this year, Sports Illustrated released a report on the misogynistic and toxic culture of the Dallas Mavericks organization. Calling it "A Real-life Animal House," the story reported on dozens of current and ex-employees accounts of sexual harassment and domestic violence within the Mav's workplace. After the article came out, a law firm was brought in to conduct an independent investigation of the organization. The result was a 43-page report that was released today. It stated investigators found that such harassment was allowed because of a company-wide culture of misconduct. The report concluded with recommendations the Mavs hire more women for leadership and supervisory positions. Mav's owner Mark Cuban has committed $10 million to numerous organizations that promote women in leadership roles and combat domestic violence.
Obviously this is a serious issue and shouldn't receive the typical funny #NBATwitter replies. This story deserves honest reflection and discussion of how to prevent systemic misogynistic culture from developing in any organization. The timing of the report's release was what added to this day's insanity. What should have been the top story of the day was overshadowed by the Jimmy Butler news dropping 39 minutes earlier.
2:04 p.m. - Space Jam 2 is officially announced
Of course! Why not on a day with two major NBA storylines pumping through the veins of #NBATwitter, the most anticipated cartoon/live-action mashup sequel of all-time is announced?! It's been 22 years since the original came out. It couldn't have waited for a day when nothing else was going on?
I feel like the first whispers of LeBron starring in Space Jam 2 began when he took his talents to South Beach. Then speculation got even hotter when he surprised a lot of people with his above average performance in Train Wreck. Finally, the move to the Lakers this summer flared up rumors of wanting to settle in Hollywood for a career in acting after basketball. LeBron confirmed the locker room graphic on Instagram later today. It's really happening, folks.
#NBATwitter shifted from trade scenarios, to commentary Cuban's donation, to predictions of the new Monstars lineup in an hour and a half. I've never seen #NBATwitter move that fast in this short of a timeframe. Unreal. This is why the NBA offseason reigns supreme. No other sport can demand this much attention between seasons. What will happen tomorrow with #NBATwitter? I'm not sure, but something delicious I bet. Can't wait to find out.
Here's my official Space Jam 2 Monstars lineup prediction:
Elena Della Donne
I write the words I'm too uncomfortable to say.