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A Chicago Bulls Fan’s Guide to Retaining Your Sanity This Year

When all you know and love has plummetted into a septic tank, sometimes all you can do is laugh.

NBA: Preseason-Toronto Raptors at Chicago Bulls Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

When I heard last night that—merely two days away from their start of the NBA regular season—Nikola Mirotic was on his way to the hospital because Bobby Portis embedded a crater in his face, I could not help but laugh.

I did not laugh because Mirotic was likely in immense physical pain. I did not laugh because most of us could see something like this happening in Bobby Portis’ bugged-out crazy-eyes from as far back as his college days. I did not laugh because this might not even be the most controversial preseason facial fracture that the Bulls have had in the last three years.

No, I laughed because it is the only reaction I have left to everything that happens with this Chicago Bulls team.

Over roughly the last seven years, the Bulls have fallen from the ranks of the elite to the very bottom of the basketball gutter while firmly cementing themselves as the NBA’s flagship comedy of errors. Or at least competing with the Kings and Knicks. Most people would put the emphasis on the “errors” part of that title, but me? I made the choice to emphasize the “comedy” part prior to the start of this season.

For what purpose? Put simply, I am tired of anger. Anger has gotten myself and Chicago fans absolutely nowhere as this Bulls team has descended into a grave of its own making. I have raged at the front office for far too long despite Gar Forman and John Paxson giving their team’s fans every reason in the world to hate them. I cannot keep fuming at Fred Hoiberg for being an offensively-challenged offensive guru that has no respect from his star players but somehow constantly gets described as a “player’s coach.” No longer will I continue to seethe at players like Dwyane Wade that successfully dupe people (like me!) into thinking they actually want to try to make it work in Chicago, and then reward that faith with thunderous playoff rim-stuffings and running away to Cleveland.

Yet, as yesterday’s events at practice effectively proved, the window for anger directed at this Bulls organization on all levels is only going to expand now that the basketball is almost certainly guaranteed to be bad for at least the next year. At this rate, the cumulative fury that this fanbase has drowned in for most of this decade is going to either shatter the psyche of fans completely or drive them away from the Bulls entirely. GarPax and ownership will have no one left to oppose them as they continue to fill the United Center by handing out corporate discounts even as the Bulls struggle to escape the lottery. What I’m ultimately getting at here is that ‘See Red Nation’ will not survive this upcoming season if it continues to see red.

When you look at everything that has happened, is happening, and is going to happen through a comedic lens rather than one of ire; suddenly everything about the Bulls becomes exponentially more entertaining. That piss-poor Taj Gibson trade at last year’s deadline becomes a lot funnier when you realize it ultimately helped OKC land Carmelo Anthony while the only thing it left the Bulls with is an chronically-injured Cameron Payne that does stuff like this:

However, most of us are already well aware that Payne’s awfulness is so profound it’s actually hilarious. The reality is that you can see humor in pretty much every bad thing that has ever happened to the Bulls that doesn’t involve freak injuries. I say freak injuries because injuries can still be funny when your medical staff does stuff like clear Omer Asik with a broken leg or clear Taj Gibson with a rib fracture because he demanded it be done.

I cannot help but throw back my head and howl when I think about how the “supposedly-starved-for-players-that-fit-his-system” Fred Hoiberg utilized Pau Gasol in his time with Chicago after watching Gasol lead the NBA in 3-PT shooting percentage last season at 53.8%. I still get a pretty aggressive giggle out of reminiscing about the days when the Denzel Valentine fan club would lazily compare him to Draymond Green when trying to project his role as an NBA player. That league-worst 43.2% true-shooting percentage that Kris Dunn posted last season—that the Bulls knowingly traded Jimmy Butler for—still puts a smile across my face each time I look it up.

The nice thing about the comedy angle is that it doesn’t merely have to apply to when the Bulls are bad. On the off chance that the Bulls are actually winning any given game this season, we can all laugh at the fact that some actual NBA team is struggling to defeat a squad with about as much aggregate talent as a group of quadriplegic platypuses. I was already doing that last season when Robin Lopez was completely embarrassing the Boston Celtics through their first two home games of the NBA Playoffs on both ends of the floor. I’m still quite giddy about the fact that the Bulls managed to sweep the Cleveland Cavaliers last season despite their own getting swept at the hands of the New York Knicks. You can’t tell me it’s not going to be funny if when the Bulls somehow manage to start the season by catching the Toronto Raptors with their pants down for the twelfth time in their last thirteen games against each other.

By now, Bulls fans are well aware of the idea that “misery loves company.” If phrases had their own dictionary, the BlogABull logo would be squarely placed right next to that one. It is certainly a miserable state of affairs when a sesame street character and his angry coach-assaulting friend hand the future of your beloved franchise over to a player coming off an ACL tear, an offensively-inept point guard, and a seven-footer that fits in nowhere defensively. That such a decision was made at the expense of trading away one of the most beloved players in franchise history only intensifies this imminent agony.

Times like these make me glad that I’ve found a coalition of Bulls loyalists that can attest to witnessing the same incompetence I have. I can honestly say that one of the only reasons I still have any interest in watching this impending dumpster fire is because of all the regulars here at BlogABull that help make this misery somewhat tolerable.

Even by SB Nation standards, I truly believe this is a special community forged together by years of punishment that began with having a cathedral-sized title window promptly slammed shut. Today, we stand on the precipice of watching a team whose best offensive player at this moment may very well be Jrue Holiday’s brother. I do not want to see anyone leave because GarPax’s inability to do anything correctly has finally popped all of the sanity screws loose in the heads of fans. I do not want to hear of people finally sending themselves off for good after hurling expletives towards Fred Hoiberg at a volume he could only dream of achieving himself. I do not want to hear of site commenters banging their heads against the wall and subsequently concussing themselves when Kris Dunn inevitably finger-rolls a layup over the backboard at some point in the next five and a half months.

You will have so much more fun with this entire forthcoming NBA season if you merely make the choice to chuckle at everything the Bulls present before you. Laugh when the team’s Twitter account desperately use players like David Nwaba and Antonio Blakeney to promote the upcoming season and generate excitement. Laugh when Bobby Portis attempts to vault himself into the starting lineup “gain position” by assaulting the player ahead of him in the rotation. Laugh when Fred Hoiberg dons his Marc Trestman persona and says he doesn’t know why the Bulls lost again because they had a great week of practice. Laugh when GarPax call the narrative surrounding them “unfair” as they attempt to tell you why they’re doing a good job from the bottom of the NBA totem pole. Laugh when K.C. Johnson dumps the bucket of cold water on anything that sounds even remotely like a good idea for this Bulls team. Laugh when Kay Felder runs the offense better than Kris Dunn. Laugh when Nikola Mirotic struggles to shoot above 40% from the field but then averages 25 ppg in March. Laugh when Sam Smith writes his opinion about literally anything.

I promise you, perch yourself on the lookout for laughs this season and you will not be disappointed no matter what happens to the Chicago Bulls. Otherwise, if you’ve made the conscious decision to stick with this team and its sorry excuse for a basketball roster, even sorrier excuse for a basketball coach, and the sorriest excuse for a front office in the entire NBA… well, why would you do such a thing?