Get It Off Ya Chest

This blog post is about Evan Turner and his comments regarding his preference of facing the Bulls over the Heat in the first round, which will come to frution tomorrow. But first, a few paragraphs about the current state of Bulls fans.

Chicago Bulls fans are an overly emotional bunch. For as much as we like to think we’re a collectively thick-skinned and tough-minded group, recent situations prove otherwise. Or perhaps we’ve always been this way and I’m just now noticing.

During the Michael Jordan years I only cared about my own fandom and never concerned myself with how we were as a fanbase. Growing up in suburban Chicago, all I knew was I was a Bulls fan, my family were Bulls fans, almost everyone I knew was a Bulls fan. But with the last championship occurring in 1998, just as the internet was really, truly exploding, I really had no way to compare what our fanbase was like to other teams’.

After Jordan retired, during the “HorriBulls” years, I saw many fans hop, no, dive off the bandwagon like the motherfucker was on fire. The extra leg room was nice, the 15 and 17 win seasons were not. Those of us who stuck around learned to develop thick skin, as we went from the haves to the have-nots in record time.

We cheered on guys like Marcus Fizer, Fred Hoiberg, Eddie Robinson and Ron Mercer while being the laughingstock of the NBA in much the same way the Charlotte Bobcats were this season.

Yet we embraced the team’s cheesy slogan of sticking with them through ”thick and thin”, which in hindsight, could have just been a nod to Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler being our frontcourt.

Bulls finally had some moderate success, made a few playoff appearances, even swept the defending champion Heat in one series. Ho-hum. And then in 2008, Derrick Rose happened.

Having been blessed with Michael Jordan, you would think we’d feel a bit jaded about having another superstar, but after a decade of wackness and mediocrity, the franchise was starved for one. The bandwagon got heavier once again. There went my legroom.  But all was good, the more the merrier and all that. Or perhaps not.

Look, the Chicago Bulls fanbase is, at its core, a fiercely loyal one. As horrible as they were for that decade, they still sold out most games. But there’s no denying that, like with any other sports team, when they do well their fanbase increases. And with that, you start to notice that some of those fans may have a certain attitude or sense of entitlement that makes the rest of us look silly.

Fast forward to The Decision 2010. He took his talents to South Beach, and it was supposedly very hard. And he still bites his nails. And he didn’t choose the Chicago Bulls.

The boos that were raining down on LeBron James from the United Center crowd the first time he played in a Heat uniform there were expected. During the playoffs as well.

This season, when the Heat played in Chicago and James got booed every time he touched the ball, it was embarrassing. Almost as embarrassing as the guys who put up a billboard in Chicago begging him to go there in the summer of 2010. It’s been two years, and we need to get over it. He didn’t pick us, and as a result we have possibly the best bench in the NBA. Let’s move on.

Now back to the lecture at hand. Two years of great regular season records have made far too many of us think our shit don’t stink. Sorry. It’s true. But the harsh reality is that until the Bulls beat the Heat in a seven game series, they’re the favorites, not the Bulls. Bulls fans should not be getting upset with Bulls fans for believing this. You can be a fan and be a realist, right? Don’t answer that.

At the end of every regular season, there’s an annual unofficial tradition where members of teams destined for the 7th or 8th seed decide, for whatever reason, to stick out their chests and proclaim they want to take on the best team.

Evan Turner of the Philadelphia 76ers appeared to do just that, but flipped the script, admitting he wanted to dodge the 2nd seeded Heat more so than wanting to play the best regular season team, the Bulls.

In his words, he said ““It means we’re dodging the tougher team. That’s what I think. We will be able to compete well against Chicago and have an opportunity to win the series.”

Obviously, the smarter thing for him to say would have been that they match up better than the Bulls, and the even smarter thing would have been for him to not say a damn thing.

The fact of the matter is, all Turner has ever gotten at the hands of the Heat in his short NBA career has been nothing but ass whippings. But they’ve beaten the Bulls more times in less tries. So you can understand where he’s coming from.

Or so you’d think. Immediately Bulls fans and media were up in arms over his statements. How dare he disrespect the Bulls! The Bulls are obviously the better team!

Yet there are other Bulls fans that agree with what Turner was trying to get across. Yes, they match up better with the Bulls. So what? They could steal a game or two from the Bulls. They’re still not going to become the third 8th seed ever to upset a 1 seed.

If the recent history of Chicago Bulls fans has any bearing on what their attitudes towards Turner will be in this series, he will be booed mercilessly every time he touches the ball at the United Center. He will be booed in front of family and friends in his own hometown, simply because people are too full of pride to admit that their team might be a better matchup for another team than the evil empire Miami Heat are.

Bulls fans, once again, let it go. We’re supposed to be championship contenders and we’re up in arms about what a second year player on and 8th seeded team is saying? Get the fuck outta here.

I love the Chicago Bulls. I love being a Bulls fan. But lately sometimes I’m not so sure how I feel about many other Bulls fans.

Man, whatever…just get in the backseat.

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