It may seem odd for the new player on a 10-day contract to excitedly grab the game ball and present it to the star, as Jordan Bell did for DeMar DeRozan on consecutive nights following consecutive spectacular game-winners.
But to Bell, there’s a simple reason.
“Those things don’t happen every day,” Bell said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago.
Pictures and videos of Bell clutching the ball after it found bottom have circulated widely on social media.
“The first one, I saw the shot and it looked good so I was just running on the court, trying to get a better angle. It kind of fell in my hands almost,” Bell said. “The second one, people made a big deal about it, saying, ‘Oh, it was dope what you did.’ But you always want to cherish moments like that. Who doesn’t want a game ball after they hit a buzzer-beater off one leg to end the New Year?
“And then the second one, I was like, ‘Damn, he did it again.’ I was so excited that I was like, ‘I’m going to get the ball for him again.’ It’s pretty dope to do that to end the year and start a new one.”
Bell grew up in Long Beach, Calif., and despite being six years younger, has a relationship with DeRozan, who grew up in Compton, Calif. That also played a part in Bell’s decision, which Bell said DeRozan enjoyed.
“He said, ‘I appreciate you, bro,’” Bell said. “The second one, you could tell he wanted that one a little bit more. He needs that moment. I just made sure it was my job to do.”
Bell had history with the Bulls even before these viral moments. The Bulls sold his draft rights to the Golden State Warriors in 2017 for a then-record $3.5 million.
Bell had some fun with the story when he turned in one of the best games of his up-and-down NBA career on Nov. 24, 2017. He admitted to rubbing his hands together in the universal symbol of money when he drew an unexpected start in the Warriors’ 49-point drubbing of the rebuilding Bulls and then stuffed the box score with seven points, six rebounds, six blocks and four assists.
Now, Bell is just thankful for his latest NBA opportunity. The owner of 160 games of NBA experience was playing for the Santa Cruz Warriors of the G League when he signed this 10-day deal.
“Every opportunity is obviously great,” Bell said. “Especially an organization like this where they have so much legacy here with Hall-of-Famers and championships. It’s just great to just keep playing basketball.”