Have you ever been in a packed movie theater, already comfortable in your seat with popcorn, movie just about ready to start, then in comes the last minute viewer, squeezing by everyone because the only available seat is towards the middle? Then, while they’re squeezing past you, aside from stepping on your toes, you smell something rancid as if that person just “crop-dusted” you. Then they subtly look back at you as if they were to say sorry, but they’re too embarrassed because of the horrific trauma they’ve caused not only to you but every other person in your row that they passed. Yep. That person’s name is the Chicago Bulls, as they have officially (and awkwardly) squeezed their way into the playoffs.
For the second time in franchise history, the Chicago Bulls were playing the 82nd game of the season with a birth to the playoffs on the line. The only thing standing between them and the postseason was the 20-61 Brooklyn Nets, who decided that the last game of the season was a good time to “rest” their two best players, Brook Lopez and Jeremy Lin (among others), though there were reports saying they wanted to play. It would have been completely synonymous to the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type of season the Bulls have had if they were to lose a win-or-go-home game against an undermanned, really bad team. Instead, the Bulls decided to take care of business and handled the Nets easily, winning by 39 points, effectively extending their season.
Maybe it’s the fact that the Cubs are now en route to defending their World Series Championship, or the Blackhawks being set up to make a deep Stanley Cup run, or the NFL Draft approaching with the Bears having a top-five pick, but it seems as though this Bulls playoff birth is the least hyped postseason news to happen in Chicago in a long time (hence, the awkwardness). Anyone who’s watched more than one Bulls game knows that inconsistency is their mantra, and has been for the last three years. They have a sophomore head coach in Fred Hoiberg whom still gives the impression that he just doesn’t belong on an NBA bench, a roster that is simply the “Co.” to lonesome Jimmy Butler (and even that may be giving them too much credit), and a front office who’s made it obvious that selling out the United Center takes priority over being competitive. All of these combined may have something to do with leading most fans astray from interest, with the latter being the most nauseating.
Punching a ticket to the playoffs shouldn’t blind fans of what’s really going on within this organization and certainly doesn’t eliminate the fact that change is desperately needed. The playoffs will be nothing but a leg to stand on for Jerry and Michael Reinsdorf if they were to stand put and not send any staff members packing this summer. Don’t miss the forest for the trees, Bulls fans. Sure, it will be interesting to see how Jimmy performs in the playoffs as being “the guy” and how much gas he has left after carrying the team the entire season. It will also be intriguing to watch just how Fred Hoiberg handles his first playoff appearance and what he does with the rotation.
Nevertheless, buying (literally) into any hype about this season is exactly what ownership wants from you. Every dollar you put in their pocket is more reason for them to neglect any movement towards championship banners and parades. The only way to get the men upstairs to #StayWoke is hitting them where it hurts the most; their pockets. They obviously refuse take self-initiative to bring this team back to true relevancy, so we need to make them do it. Stop selling out the United Center, stop buying Bulls gear, hell, try to even stop watching games. Then, and only then, will we see intentional change.
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