From Mark Aguirre to Julian Wright, at last count, a total of 238 Illinois products have competed in professional basketball in this country.Have you ever heard of Jack Dwan, Gene Dyker, Dan Godfread, Leary Lentz, Gene Stump or Giff Roux?Maybe not. But you've heard of Isiah Thomas, Derrick Rose, Cazzie Russell, Kevin Garnett, Quentin Richardson, Corey Maggette and Juwan Howard.According to a survey by Basketball-Reference.com, there are 23 Illinois products currently playing in the NBA -- Tony Allen (Crane), Shannon Brown (Proviso East), Will Bynum (Crane), Brian Cardinal (Tolono Unity), Brian Cook (Lincoln), Eddy Curry (Thornwood), Melvin Ely (Thornton), Kevin Garnett (Farragut), Juwan Howard (Vocational), Andre Iguodala (Springfield Lanphier), Othyus Jeffers (Hubbard), Shaun Livingston (Peoria Central), Corey Maggette (Fenwick), JaVale McGee (Hales Franciscan), Nazr Mohammed (Kenwood), Jannero Pargo (Robeson), Anthony Parker (Naperville Central), Quentin Richardson (Whitney Young), Derrick Rose (Simeon), Iman Shumpert (Oak Park), Bobby Simmons (Simeon), Dwyane Wade (Richards) and Julian Wright (Homewood-Flossmoor).But Illinois products helped to build the foundation of the NBA in the 1940s and 1950s. Remember George Mikan, Sweetwater Clifton, Joe Graboski, Harry Gallatin, Dike Eddleman, Andy Phillip, Wally Osterkorn and Irv Bemoras?How about an All-Star team from the 1940s and 1950s? Sweetwater Clifton (Du Sable), George Mikan (Quigley), Andy Phillip (Granite City), Harry Gallatin (Roxana), Johnny Kerr (Tilden).How about the 1960s? Cazzie Russell (Carver), George Wilson (Marshall), Tom Hawkins (Parker), Jerry Sloan (McLeansboro), Don Nelson (Rock Island).Or Don Ohl (Edwardsville), Dave Robisch (Springfield), Donnie Freeman (Madison), Flynn Robinson (Elgin) and Jim Brewer (Proviso East)?How about the 1970s? Quinn Buckner (Thornridge), Maurice Cheeks (Du Sable), Doug Collins (Benton), Jack Sikma (St. Anne) andRickey Green (Hirsch). Or Sonny Parker (Farragut), Dan Issel (Batavia), Steve Kuberski (Moline), Kevin Porter (Du Sable) and Corky Calhoun (Waukegan).The 1980s? Mark Aguirre (Westinghouse), Terry Cummings (Carver), Hersey Hawkins (Westinghouse), Isiah Thomas (St. Joseph) andGlenn "Doc" Rivers (Proviso East).Or Eddie Johnson (Westinghouse), Rod Higgins (Thornton), Craig Hodges (Rich East), Ken Norman (Crane) and Kevin Gamble (Springfield Lanphier).The 1990s? Nick Anderson (Simeon), Juwan Howard (Vocational), Kevin Garnett (Farragut), Tim Hardaway (Carver) and Antoine Walker (Mount Carmel).Or LaPhonso Ellis (East St. Louis Lincoln), Michael Finley (Proviso East), Kendall Gill (Rich Central), Anthony Parker (Naperville Central) and Troy Hudson (Carbondale).The past decade? Derrick Rose (Simeon), Shannon Brown (Proviso East), Dwyane Wade (Richards), Andre Iguodala (Springfield Lanphier) andCorey Maggette (Fenwick).Or Quentin Richardson (Whitney Young), Bobby Simmons (Simeon), Brian Cook (Lincoln), Brian Cardinal (Tolono Unity) and Will Bynum (Crane).Who will be the next Illinois products to play in the NBA? Likely Kentucky's Anthony Davis (Perspectives), Ohio's D.J. Cooper (Seton), Illinois' Meyers Leonard (Robinson) and Simeon's Jabari Parker.Of course, this survey doesn't take into account the dozens of former Illinois high school basketball stars who didn't earn steady employment in the NBA and opted to play overseas -- in Europe, Israel, South America, Japan and Australia. Many of them, including Lloyd Batts (Thornton, Cincinnati), James Jackson (Crane, Minnesota), Audie Matthews (Bloom, Illinois), Melvin McCants (Mount Carmel, Purdue), Deon Thomas (Simeon, Illinois), Rashard Griffith (King, Wisconsin), Tom Kleinschmidt (Gordon Tech, DePaul), Kiwane Garris (Westinghouse, Illinois), Mark Miller (Westinghouse, Illinois-Chicago) and Cedrick Banks (Westinghouse, Illinois-Chicago), have enjoyed successful and profitable careers.You could make an outstanding all-star team out of that group, couldn't you?
Chicago, IL (August 20, 2019) – NBC Sports Chicago - THE Home of the #AuthenticFan - has announced Chicago Bears legend/six-time Pro Bowl center OLIN KREUTZ will be joining the network as a game day studio analyst for the upcoming 2019 NFL season. In addition to his game day analyst role, which includes joining former Bears teammates Lance Briggs, Alex Brown, Matt Forte, and host Laurence Holmes on Football Aftershow presented by Sprinkler Fitters Local Union 281 immediately following every Bears game, Kreutz is also scheduled to make additional appearances throughout the NFL season on a variety of NBC Sports Chicago’s programs and cross-platform content offerings.
“I’m happy to be joining the NBC Sports Chicago family and look forward to be working alongside Laurence and, of course, my former teammates, Lance, Alex and Matt,” said Kreutz.
“Olin has established himself as one of the very best NFL analysts in the city and we couldn’t be more pleased to have him join our expert Bears game day coverage team beginning this season,” added Kevin Cross, Senior Vice President/General Manager, NBC Sports Chicago. “The addition of Olin showcases our year-round commitment to deliver the very best Bears coverage to our dedicated, multi-platform viewing audience.”
Kreutz, a third-round pick out of Washington in the 1998 NFL Draft (64th overall), spent 13 of his 14 pro seasons in a Bears uniform and is tied for second with Steve McMichael on the team’s all-time games played list (191), trailing only former Bears teammate Patrick Mannelly (245). In addition, Kreutz trails only Walter Payton by one game on the team’s all-time games started list with 183. Among Kreutz’ honors in his illustrious Bears career include six Pro Bowl appearances (2001-06), first-team (2006) and second-team (2005) All-Pro selections, being named to the NFL’s 2000s All-Decade Team, along with being honored as a four-time recipient of the prestigious “Brian Piccolo Award” (2003, 2004, 2009, 2010).
For as long as he's been in the league, Taj Gibson has been considered one of the ultimate good guys.
That reputation won't be diminished in the slightest considering his reasoning for signing with the New York Knicks this summer.
Many expected the Bulls to make a run at Gibson to back up Lauri Markkanen at power forward. But as it turns out, the Knicks were going to be difficult to beat as a landing spot.
Via Marc Berman of the New York Post, Gibson decided to return home - he grew up in Brooklyn - to be closer to his father who recently underwent a heart transplant.
Gibson said he spent a large portion of June - in the lead-up to free agency - in New York as his father awaited a new heart. Gibson agreed to a two-year, $20 million deal with the Knicks on the first day of free agency, just a few weeks after Wilbert Gibson had successful surgery in June.
The entire article is worth a read, but let us also add an anecdote Gibson shared about one of the first calls he received from a familiar voice.
Gibson knew lots of winning in seven seasons in Chicago — mostly with ex-Knicks assistant Tom Thibodeau. A known taskmaster, Thibodeau brought Gibson to the T’Wolves and knew of Gibson’s dream to one day be a Knick.
“Once I signed with New York, one of the first phone calls I got was from Thibs,” Gibson said. “That’s all we ever talked about throughout my time with Thibs — we always talked about New York.
“For it to finally happen, being able to say I was finally a New York Knick was a crazy feeling. We laughed for a minute. Then he was serious. He was like, ‘If anyone is capable of playing in New York, you’re a New York-style player.’ He knows me that I will play hard every night.”