Bulls

Victor Oladipo to make season debut against Bulls after yearlong absence

victor-oladipo.gif
USA Today

Victor Oladipo to make season debut against Bulls after yearlong absence

Pacers guard Victor Oladipo announced via NBA insider Shams Charania that he intends to make his season NBA against the Bulls on Jan. 29 in Indiana.

Oladipo’s return comes after a yearlong absence following a torn quad tendon in his knee. In the interview, Oladipo admits that his return date may change, but says he’s looking forward to getting back on the court soon.

“It’s good to have something to look forward to, especially after 12 months of wondering, hoping,” Oladipo explains. “I’m way stronger than I was before, especially mentally.”

Prior to his injury and 12-month recovery, Oladipo racked up 345 career starts with an average of 17.5 points per game. Earlier this week, it was reported Oladipo was assigned to the G-League’s Fort Wayne Mad Ants for rehab.

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Bulls games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.

The time former President Barack Obama's Joakim Noah takes sparked a story

obama.jpg
USA Today

The time former President Barack Obama's Joakim Noah takes sparked a story

Former U.S. President Barack Obama’s devout basketball and Bulls fandom is well-documented

But according to former Obama communications director Dan Pfeiffer on the most recent episode of “The Crossover NBA Show with Chris Mannix,” there came a point in Obama’s time as the leader of the free world when he had to consciously reign in his inner blog boy.

It began with the Bulls’ drafting of Joakim Noah.

“Obama learned over the years that, being president and being a fan, you can’t be a normal fan when you’re president,” Pfeiffer told Mannix. “When he was running for president, we were in New Hampshire doing an interview with a local reporter a day or so after. This must have been the ’07 draft. And the reporter at the end just asked Obama, as a fan, what did he think of the Bulls pick, and that was the year the Bulls picked Noah.

“And Obama, as a fan, like a lot of, if I remember, Bulls fans at the time, thought it wasn’t a great pick because it was duplicative of Tyrus Thomas, who they’d taken the year before. And Obama said that, and it made a lot of news both in Chicago and in sports… So he realized that you can’t just pontificate on draft picks without some consequences when you’re president of the United States.”

Worse, Noah was an ardent Obama supporter. Also according to Pfeiffer, the eventual Bulls center spent part of his time at the University of Florida as a member of a grassroots, Obama-supportive student organization. Obama's comments didn't change that sentiment: In an interview with Le Journal du Dimanche in Feb. 2008, Noah endorsed Obama in the 2008 election and said he'd been a supporter since 2004. 

But it’s hard to blame the ex-President too much for that take, ice cold as it ended up becoming. The Noah pick was widely polarizing at the time (and even through his rookie season), and Thomas wasn’t yet considered an unequivocal bust. Plus, Obama did eventually renege on those comments, even inviting Noah to his 49th birthday party at the White House in 2010, which saw stars across the NBA spectrum assemble for a pickup game.

That day spawned an anecdote that will go down as an all-timer, even for a player as celebrated as Noah. From former Obama senior advisor David Axelrod in GQ’s “The Oral History of President Barack Obama Playing Pickup Basketball”:

“[The President] ticked off Joakim Noah because the president was trash-talking him about his shot, [which is], shall we say, unorthodox. The president said, ‘Where’d you get that shot? That’s the ugliest shot I’ve ever seen.’ So at some point, Noah decided, ‘Okay, let’s see about yours.’ And he completely smothered the President. I mean he was guarding him and the President could not go anywhere. But I will say that with all of that, somehow playing against all these NBA players, he (Obama) mysteriously was able to hit the winning shot.”

Surely, the Obama-Noah relationship is all love now. But the evolution of it has certainly been a riot. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.

Bulls' treasure Johnny 'Red' Kerr was a walking basketball encyclopedia

Bulls' treasure Johnny 'Red' Kerr was a walking basketball encyclopedia

With the Eastern Conference finals and NBA Finals games largely shifting to network coverage, the broadcasting work from Tom Dore and Johnny “Red” Kerr for the 1996 playoffs is mostly over.

But what a treat it has been hearing that duo work together again during NBC Sports Chicago’s re-airing of the 1996 playoff run. Covering the games meant you didn’t get to hear the humorous interplay between the two, or Dore’s economical play-by-play work, or Kerr’s heart-on-his-sleeve bemoaning of missed boxouts or official’s calls.

Not that those of us around that team didn’t hear such moments off the air. It was fun to catch up with Dore on a recent Bulls Talk podcast. And I’d call getting to know Kerr one of the highlights of my two decades-plus around the franchise.

Red was there when John Havlicek stole the ball. And he was there when Michael Jordan held the pose.

Yes, Kerr was a walking, talking basketball encyclopedia who bled Bulls red. A storyteller supreme.

Beyond basketball, Kerr graciously sat for a tear-stained interview about his 46 years of marriage to Betsy after she passed away in October 2000. He did so because he wanted to share their love story, because her support allowed him to pursue his passions and because of her Bulls fandom.

At the time, Kerr shared how he hand-picked the three songs played at his wife’s funeral. This sparked a discussion about our shared passion for music.

From that day on, Kerr used to burn me CDs of artists he liked or he thought I’d like or I had told him about. In fact, having a 68-year-old Kerr thank me for introducing him to Uncle Tupelo is a career moment that may be hard to top.

Kerr became the first coach in sports history to lead an expansion team to the playoffs when he guided the 1966-67 Bulls. His knowledge of the game burned through every broadcast. His humor played out in lines like this one as the Bulls eliminated the Knicks to advance to the Eastern Conference finals against the Magic:

“The Bulls are trying to send the Knicks to play golf tomorrow. The Bulls might play golf, too.”

A bust of Kerr stands in the atrium of the United Center, a fitting tribute to a wonderful player, coach and broadcaster. And above all, a gem of a man.

Every other night through April 15, NBC Sports Chicago is airing the entirety of the Bulls' 1996 NBA championship run. Find the full schedule here.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.