I was fortunate enough to grow up during the "Jordan Years" and to have parents that loved the Chicago Bulls. They let me watch every game with them. From the 1991 NBA Finals, where I could barely walk, to the infamous "Last Shot." They loved the Bulls and Jordan, and so did I.
As a kid I owned two Jordan jerseys, and even pretended I was MJ on my driveway court.
Things changed though. Jordan retired and my parents were so mad at Jerry Reisndorf for breaking up the dynasty that they forgot about the game they loved.
I still watched a little bit of basketball though, but by the 2002-03 season I only caught about 10 Bulls games a year. It just wasn't the same, but I still loved my hometown team.
I really got a bit excited again about the Bulls in the 2004-05 season.
A young scrappy team led by Kirk Hinrich and Ben Gordon. A team that came out of no where to reach the playoffs and take a two game lead in the best of seven series. Then came disappointment.
The Wizards won the next four games, giving the "Baby Bulls" a growing experience. The next year the team won 41 games and was headed for a first-round matchup against the eventual NBA champions, the Miami Heat.
The Bulls played tough and won two games in the best of seven. It looked promising for a young team that had a great core of young players in Hinrich, Gordon, Luol Deng, and Tyson Chandler.
Following the 2005-06 season, I really was excited for next year. It was a great '06-'07 season, the Bulls were a team that looked like they could contend for many years to come. They swept the defending champs Miami Heat in the first round. A second-round matchup versus the rival Detroit Pistons loomed, and so did the chance to make their name known in the NBA.
The Pistons went on to win the series 4-2, the Bulls blew two leads late in games. When the Bulls lost that game six in Chicago, I was heart broken. I had the worst feeling inside of me that night, and so did the two buddy's I was watching the game with. It flat out sucked.
That feeling was the same feeling I had throughout the 2007-08 season. A year where they fired Scott Skiles, and went 33-49. But something changed on the night of the NBA Draft Lottery night. The Bull's somehow got their lottery ball picked as the No. 1 pick for the draft. After that happened I was suddenly happy, I felt a rush like something big was going to happen, and it did.
The Bulls selected Derrick Rose with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft.
Many people argued that Michael Beasley was the better fit for the Bulls, but my theory is always take the best available player, and it paid off for the Bulls. Rose won the Rookie of the Year award this past season, took the Bull's to the playoffs, and dazzled us with blocks, dunks, and crossovers that made us say "Did you see that?!?!"
These 2008-09 Chicago Bulls have got me real excited about basketball again. A team that was the 12 seed in January in the East. A team that made a great trade to land Brad Miller and John Salmons. A team that got rid of a cancer named Larry Hughes. A team that left me with memories that I'll never forget. And guess what? This team finished only 41-41.
There's something about this team that has Chicago and myself excited about basketball again. Derrick Rose the hometown kid who is going to be an elite player in the future, Kirk Hinrich who seems to always give it his all, and a Joakim Noah who developed to a role playing big man right before our eyes.
So this is how I want to thank the Chicago Bulls for getting me excited again. I enjoyed all your highlights this year including Rose making Andre Miller look bad, the comeback against Houston, Tyrus Thomas' amazing dunks and blocks (ask Jermaine O'Neal), and taking the hated Celtics to seven games in the first round. Thank You.
2009-2010 season can't come fast enough.