Deeper Than Basketball: How the Bulls-Celtics Series Changed My Life

Ernest WilkinsCorrespondent IMay 1, 2009

CHICAGO - APRIL 30: Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls blocks a shot in the closing seconds of the third overtime period by Rajon Rondo #9 of the Boston Celtics in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at the United Center on April 30, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Celtics 128-127 in triple-overtime. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agreees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Let's stop and compose ourselves for a second. Take a couple of deep breaths.

(Congrats to the Rockets for getting out of the first round, by the way)

I need you to understand something. This is bigger than basketball.

The Bulls-Celtics series has been nothing short of amazing. It's a story right out of a movie: Plucky young team with a leader who doesn't realize how big time he actually is yet, up against the champs.

Older. Wiser. Just amazing stuff.

Oh, and did I mention the overtimes?

Did I mention Ray Allen doing his best Jesus Shuttlesworth impression?

Did I mention Big Baby/Rondo becoming the new Isiah/Laimbeer in terms of "Chicago Hates You"?

I think I've proven my point. Look, for me, these games are huge for more reasons than I've listed. Here's a few.

1. Rose Wilkins is watching basketball again

Let me put this in perspective. The last time my mother (that's Rose) watched a Bulls game, Michael Jordan hadn't retired.

The first time.

Now she calls me from the car for score updates.

2. Pure Nostalgia

They say as you grow up, you only keep about three or four of the people you knew when you were younger around in your adult life. Everyone else fades away, time moves on.

I don't know about you, but I thought I would be best friends with some folks forever. Then somebody moves, or gets a new job, girlfriend, wife, and/or kids and next thing you know, it's random Facebook wall posts, and the occasional "Let's get together sometime!"

I'm rambling, but here's my point: Between the "did you see that?" texts, the "Remember when we were there last season and they were terrible?" calls, and everything else, this series reminded me who my friends were and the stuff we've been through.

3. Chicago sports are finally stepping into the spotlight

I don't know about you, but I was taken aback when Chicago got it's own ESPN (I mean..that other site) page. Not because the teams don't deserve it, but Chicago? I would have expected Boston to have their own page, or NYC, but Chicago?

Apparently, we haven't been suffering in silence. The rejuvenated Blackhawks, the Sox, the Fire, the "Don't call us Baby anymore" Bulls, Da Bears—hell, even the damn Cubs are all making some noise.

It's about damn time someone outside of the city was listening.

4. Big-Time Basketball is here again

The Bulls, Lakers, and Celtics are the three biggest franchises in hoops. You've got two of them playing lights-out ball, with the other waiting in the wings.

Oh, and there's that kid in Cleveland too. And that one in NO, and those kids in Portland, and so on and so forth.

It's not just that, starting with Atlanta (ATLANTA?!?!)'s wake up call to the Celtics last year, the NBA has begun to do a complete 180 from the days where the biggest story was what the dress code was.

To wrap this up:

I don't know about you, but the only way this series could get any better would be if they gave out free cars, Young Jeezy came through and made it rain, and Jordan announced that he was coming back to be Vinny the Black's assistant coach.

And the best part of it all?

We get one more game. Winner take all. Big players making big plays in the big show. Can't beat that with a stick.

Thanks for reading.


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