Adrian Griffin has come a long way from his days of playing on a non-guaranteed contract.
The former Bulls player and assistant coach, a favorite of such perfectionists as Scott Skiles and Tom Thibodeau, coached the World team in Friday night's Rising Stars Challenge at the United Center.
"It was awesome. A lot of memories here obviously — five years coaching, three years playing, DRose MVP year," Griffin said, referencing Derrick Rose. "All that stuff comes back when I walk in this building. It always feels like home. I raised my children here. So it's just a special place, and it's just a great city — the fans and the community. That's what I miss the most."
Not that Griffin, or his kids, are struggling.
Griffin is lead assistant coach for Nick Nurse on the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors staff. Griffin's son, Alan, plays for the University of Illinois, while his daughter, Aubrey, plays for the powerhouse program at the University of Connecticut.
Coach Griffin's team lost 151-131 in the made-for-TV event, filled with lob dunks and little defense. But he still enjoyed such experiences as coaching Mavericks star Luka Doncic.
"It's awesome to be around that type of talent," he said. "For the coaches, we're fans too. You've got to marvel at his skill level for such a young player. He's almost like a seasoned veteran the way he plays."