Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 1/21/12
No one will ever confuse these Chicago Bulls with the good old days of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant. They wont get pumped by the NBA as Must-See TV. And no trio on the roster will ever be referred to as to The Big Three. But they have something good going for them. Something that might be considered less-than-sexy. Something that may not increase the ratings, something that doesnt lend itself to headlines related to their superstar getting divorced, something that could be considered a real downer when it comes to so many things that make pro basketball popular today. All these Bulls are, it seems, is a team. All they have in the way of pop icons is a young man by the name of Derrick Rose, the reigning league MVP -- who didnt really seem to care if LeBron James joined the team. All they do is defend and rebound and work the ball for the best possible shot. Thats far from the drama of Hollywood or becoming a topic of discussion on TNT. Thats just basketball. They play with confidence, unity, resolve. They listen to a coach in Tom Thibodeau who is about as exciting as a life insurance salesman. They have a GM in Gar Foreman whose major splashes include signing forward Carlos Boozer in 2010 and who could be considered a washed-up shooting guard in Richard Hamilton a year later. Heck, the Bulls may as well move to Des Moines, Iowa -- because thats probably where they deserve to play. At least, it is as far as those who think the NBA is only about steaks and jets are concerned. But these Bulls couldnt possibly exemplify the fur-coat-and-gold-chain image of the NBA any less. They are the Mr. Everyman of sports, playing in a huge market with nearly zero fanfare. Thats tough to do, but the Bulls are managing just fine, thank you very much. They win games the old-fashioned way, wrestling their way to victories in an era when anything less than being completely modern is considered a reason for shame. There arent a lot of monstrous dunks or behind-the-back passes or crossover dribbles that make the Top 10 Plays. Instead, its elbows out and feet on the floor. Its bending your knees and shuffling your feet. Its giving Rose the ball and letting him create -- both for himself and others. If anyone resembles the 1960 Boston Celtics, its the 2012 Chicago Bulls, with Rose operating as the present-day Bob Cousy. Rose is fast, hes shifty, hes competitive. Hes from Chicago, but could seem to care less about the bright lights and big cities and trade rumors that dominate markets both large and small. He just wants a chance to take Rajon Rondo, or any other big-name point guard, to the hoop. He just wants to run his team like a real point guard should -- with poise and pace. He just seems to let the world (and teammates) know that, yes, he has bought into Thibodeaus low-key and defense-first approach, and that they should do the same. Rose and these Bulls may not have won you over. They may not be the most worshipped team to have ever won 62 games, as they did last season. They may not give the producers of sports highlight shows reason to salivate. But they are finding a way, early in this lockout-shortened season to give us a reason to believe they are for real. That should be reward enough for true fans, people who love the NBA for what its supposed to be, and coaches at the lower levels who want to show their team what can happen if they play the game the way it was intended to be played. Now, thats probably not what the Bulls are setting out to accomplish. Like every team, they want a title. But unlike so many franchises, theyre not willing to sell their souls to get one. They just hope to do it with basketball in its purest form. And they dont care if you tell them thats not the way its supposed to be done.
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