Bulls

What other Chicago athletes could fill in for the Bulls?

Bulls

The Chicago Bulls are dealing with a COVID outbreak on the team, with 10 of the 19 rostered players entering COVID protocols. As a result, the NBA has postponed the Bulls’ next two games.

While the Bulls players are staying safe, Tim Anderson of the Chicago White Sox offered to put his basketball skills to the test and change his baseball cleats for basketball shoes to play for the Bulls. 

That kind of passion and charisma has made Anderson a fan favorite with the White Sox. While Anderson suiting up for an NBA game won’t happen anytime soon, what other Chicago athletes could hypothetically join the shortstop as replacements for the Bulls?

Nick Foles

That’s right. The third-string journeyman QB for the Chicago Bears actually could make a pretty good option for the Bulls on the court. 

When Nick Foles wasn’t breaking football records at Westlake High School in Austin, Texas, he was excelling on the basketball team for Westlake. He was twice named team MVP, earning all-district honors his sophomore season. He was recruited by some pretty well-known college basketball programs, including Georgetown, Baylor and Texas. 

Foles ultimately decided on a career in the NFL and it turned out pretty well for him, with a Super Bowl ring on hand for the QB. 

 

Candace Parker

Some may argue the best basketball player in Chicago isn’t even on the Bulls. 

Candace Parker, one of the best players in the WNBA, signed a two-year deal with the Chicago Sky this past offseason. She helped lead the Sky to the franchise’s first WNBA championship this past season, defeating the Phoenix Mercury in four games. 

Parker was taken No. 1 overall back in 2009 by the Los Angeles Sparks and has had quite the career during her time in the WNBA. She’s racked up two championships, a Finals MVP, two WNBA MVPs, six All-Star selections, a Defensive Player of the Year award and a Rookie of the Year award. Not a bad resume for the Bulls to bring in. 

Jimmy Graham

Currently serving as the tight end for the Bears, Jimmy Graham’s path to athletic success didn’t always appear as though it would run through the game of football. 

Graham actually earned a scholarship to play college basketball at the University of Miami in 2005, where he spent four seasons under Frank Haith. He averaged 4.2 points per game, 4.2 rebounds per game and 0.9 blocks for the Hurricanes, while shooting 50.8% from the field in a rotational role. 

The five-time Pro Bowler did not play football in college until 2009, where he spent one season with Miami before being drafted in the third round by the New Orleans Saints in 2010. 

LiAngelo Ball

The most legitimate option on the list, LiAngelo Ball, brother of Bulls’ point guard Lonzo Ball, could offer up his hand to help out Chicago. 

The middle Ball brother is currently with the Greensboro Swarm, the G-League affiliate of the Charlotte Hornets, where he is averaging 9.0 points per game, 2.0 rebounds and shooting 59.5%. 

While Lonzo and other brother LaMelo have found significant roles in the NBA, LiAngelo hasn’t played in a single NBA game. Maybe this could be his shot, with the Bulls in need of personnel. 

Martellus Bennett

If you can’t get the current Bears players, why not go for some former ones?

Martellus Bennet, who was a tight end for the Bears from 2013 to 2015 considered declaring for the NBA draft before deciding instead to enroll at Texas A&M. While his main sport was football, he did play college basketball for two seasons while at Texas A&M, averaging 1.7 points, 1.4 rebounds and shooting 26% from the field in just 30 games. 

The numbers in college don’t back his game up, but footage in 2018 from Bennett balling out in the Drew League sure does. 

Julius Peppers

A defensive end for four seasons with the Bears, Julius Peppers wasn’t just a threat to quarterbacks coming off the edge. He was a threat on the court as well. 

 

Just ask the 2001 Penn State basketball team. While at the University of North Carolina, Peppers walked onto the basketball team. He was a reserve for the 1999-00 and 2000-01 seasons, but saw some action in the NCAA Tournament. In a second round matchup, Peppers put up 21 points and 10 rebounds in the effort for No. 2 UNC, but the team fell to No. 7 Penn State, ending their season. 

It was the last basketball game Peppers played in for the Tar Heels, shifting his focus to the NFL. He ended his collegiate career averaging 5.7 points per game and 3.7 rebounds per game, shooting 60.7% from the field in 56 games.