Ed. note — A technical mistake lead to a barren early post. Here it is as its supposed to be. Thanks for coming to the site.
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” — Yoda
A tipping point occurred during the moment captured in the photo above, it was at that point where anger led to hate and so forth.
Though I love to cite the small, wise and green one, in this case the order is a little bit off — for the Bulls the hate was always there, whether fear initiated it is arguable to say the least. I don’t think the Bulls ever feared Miami, not in 2011 and certainly not any time when they faced each other in the regular season. It was the Heat after all, who drew first tear after a match up between these two.
This is, of course, a different Heat team now, no longer are they insecure about themselves or their mission– they’ve accomplished the first part of it and they did so through various levels of embarrassment, self-reflection and public vitriol being hurled at them. Now, no one seems to hate them except Chicagoans (for the most part, most cause I still see a few too much Heat gear out in these streets. The Chi quiet as kept really is lousy with front-runners. Thanks, Mike), people who are members of the Chicago Bulls Basketball Club and people who have been in a coma since June 2010.
Of course that is fine, we take that mantle proudly, ask the good folks over at Enstrumental Clothing, Chicago really does Hate You. Yes, you. Especially when you stand in the way of our sporting supremacy, which in every sport, in every era we fight so hard to gain control of and mostly fail in gaining control of. No one stands in Chicago’s way in the current sporting landscape with as much authority (and at the same time with less fervor, which really makes it much worse), than LeBron.
In a previous dark corner of the internet, I predicted James’s future career-long frustrating of Chicago, which is passing the station in good time, this will be the third year in four that he’s eliminated the Bulls from the playoffs. Back then, I predicted all this to continue happening in Cleveland, sort of a karmic retribution for how Jordan and the Bulls dogged out that city and the Cavs so many times.
The poetic justice angle has left from all this but that doesn’t make the way things have developed in the last four years any less bitter for Chicago and the Chicago-leaning. All there is now is the brief flashes of brilliance the Bulls have brought fourth in their battles with the Heat. But what does ending a regular-season streak or putting a slight bit of nuts on Chris Bosh’s shoulder (Oh, Jimmy Buckets) have to do with anything when your last word is 65 points and 25.7 percent shooting from the field. There’s some sort of disconnect there.
The excuses are numerous and all legit — the Bulls are without three starters, they had to play a week of basketball that Miami avoided by being the No. 1 seed and drawing Milwaukee, even in full strength they don’t have as consistent a shooting pair as James and Ray Allen, on and on — but the Bulls have been who they were for an entire season, they knew who they were coming into the series and they knew how they were going to have to play — as antagonizing underdogs.
No one has played the antagonizing underdog role better than Reggie Miller and his Indiana Pacers of the mid-90s when facing the New York Knicks. Indiana lost as much as it won against the Knicks but regardless of the score and the series standing you never saw Reggie lose his cool with Starks or any of the Knicks brutes– he talked shit, he flashed a smile and he played his game and in the process made his opponents do the stupidest things.
In this series, the Bulls have done the stupid things, thinning out its bench more than it already is with tech after tech. As if game 2 wasn’t enough with Taj snapping and Noah not staying close enough to the bench when he knows the refs are already looking at him sideways. Beyond that was coach Thibs’ comments after Game 3, which of course made his pockets lighter, about the Heat receiving favorable treatment with calls.
All that is hate, hate which leads to frustration, which leads to…you know the rest. The Bulls have played their role horribly in this series, and maybe that’s another byproduct of the team reppin’ where they’re from — you don’t get far putting on fronts in the Chi, if we feel you need to get treated then we’re ready to let you have it. But there are certain ways to do everything and when you act out of sheer disdain then you’re likely not going about that thing the right way.
There was a lot of joy to this Bulls season in spite of the Derrick Rose drama. This was a team that ran on twin motors of determination and pride that have been the main hallmarks of two 60-win seasons in the Tom Thibodeau era but never seemed to have been represented as well as it had in winning 45 games this year and in wrestling two home games from Brooklyn to survive that series.
As it stands now, the Bulls look like a bitter team that has lost touch with what potentially makes it a special team. You can’t be an underdog and think that people aren’t supposed to stand in your way. And despite what the CTA has taught all of us, when someone stands in your way its much easier to just go around. Keep ya hands to yaself.
Follow Kyle Means on Twitter @Wrk_Wrt