If you are a Celtics fan born between 1976-1986, you grew up despising the Chicago Bulls. Windy City basketball dominance was merciless in the 1990's. Michael Jordan's fade-away, Scottie Pippen's long-arms swooping for steals, Bil Cartwright's pointy elbows causing havoc, and Phil Jackson's stoicism: all were cruel reminders of what the Celtics were not. The Celtics were in tatters. An end-of-his-career Dominique Wilkins heavy on jumpers. A David Wesley at the beginning of his career, with his Raymond Felton-lite ground game. Dino Radja's last good season. Sherm Douglas' bulky knee-pads. The enormous bald dome of Eric Montross. Remember back when being 7-feet-tall guaranteed you a contract? "Never-nervous" Pervis Ellison never had a need to be nervous during his Boston tenure. Aside from those four playoff games in 1995, the games simply didn't matter that much. And he was in a suit on the sideline. Yes, they had to wear suits back then, before David Stern had his vice grip on the NBA's image.
The Bulls dominated. Michael Jordan's face went global. His shoes went stratospheric, right with the price tags attached to them, and the gun-shots that rang-out in pursuit of them. Fast forward to 2012. The Chicago Bulls began the season without their future, their fixture, their franchise: the quiet-natured, knee-rehabbing Derrick Rose.
2012-13 Chicago Bulls
Life ain't fair. Life is full of irony. Life ain't easy. Life is full of injuries and illnesses. All four truisms apply to the 2012-13 Chicago Bulls. Some playoff deaths come slowly and painfully. Others come swiftly and silently. The Chicago Bulls are currently dying a slow, gruesome death this May. Last night's 88-65 contest was as palpable an example of a team on its "last legs" as I've ever witnessed. And I witnessed the 2012-13 Boston Celtics!
Let's take a second to think about them. Derrick Rose's year never started, but the amount of words written and spoken about him was endless.
Rose's season was the epitome of what ails the sports world: the era of echo-chamber journalism, twitter-obsessed news, rampant speculation, and fruitless debating about a player's health based on a team doctor's biased diagnosis.
There are two redeeming aspects of the Rose saga.
One: a player's psychological ability to recover is as important as his physical ability. Most of the media ignores this, and most fans ignore this. Example, "They said he's healthy! Why isn't he back?! They need him. He makes !231# million dollars and year!!@#! He should be back by now!" Rarely do you hear anyone saying, "Is he mentally ready? How long will it take him to get over the knee injury, mentally?" Jeff Green had open-heart surgery last year. Fans begin criticizing him the minute he starts to struggle in regular season games. Instead of considering, "Is he mentally ready to take the lane pounding that comes with driving to the hoop with abandon?" Or, "How is his stamina?" Green's second half of the season proved how important he is to the Celtics future. But in December, all you heard were trade rumors.
Two: he serves as an example of how much damage a team can do to its players by mislabeling injuries, shortening careers with false health clearances, and turning the public against its beloved player by demanding he get back on the court. If you're unaware of the Bulls organization checkered past, read Tom Ziller's piece for SB Nation: http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2013/5/8/4311600/derrick-rose-chicago-bulls-injury-luol-deng-doctors
The Bulls without Rose were an incredibly resilient bunch. In fact, they are a definitive example of collective resilience. In a linguistic age where the word "resilient" is bandied about with complete disregard for its true meaning, the 2012-13 Chicago Bulls epitomize the word.
resilient, adjective. (of a person or animal)-- Able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions. (dictionary.com)
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Thanks for reading and Go Bulls,