Bears, Cubs making the world a better place

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Bears, Cubs making the world a better place

A late Bears practice Friday means a chance to get in some more cycling training miles for the special 100-mile Wrigley Field Road Tour coming up Aug. 19, the day after the Bears host the Washington Redskins in preseason.

(Cmon, whaddya mean, No way! Youve still go three weeks to train.)

The whole thing, which starts at Wrigley Field at 8 a.m. benefits two excellent endeavors. One is Chicago Cubs Charities, which helps Chicago youth with funding of youth sports programs, parks, schools and open spaces. In the past, buddies like Mike Adamle from Channel 5 and other notables have rolled, and it's a blast.

Cubs Charities supports a number of other charities, said Todd Ricketts, brother of Cubs chief Tom and owner of the Higher Gear bike shops. Its really all about the kids so there are things like the new Childrens Hospital and a baseball field with Kerry Wood.

And the other, World Bicycle Relief, provides bikes to Africa. But not just any bikes. These are specially built heavies that are designed for transport of people, cargo, livestock, whatever.

The reason for these is that getting from point to point in Africa is a huge challenge, a reason why kids cant always get to school, people cant get to medical services, all of that.

The issue was is there a way we can provide bikes that alleviate the burden, help a couple of hundred people and not break down, said Ricketts, who will be riding as well.

Some buddies will ride these bikes in the event in a special statement. The ride flips up north of Waukegan and heads back to Wrigley.

Check out the registration arrangements and also what this is really all about -- on WorldBicycleRelief.org. Registration is 100 plus raising another 400 for the kids. You get a T-shirt, lunch catered by Harry Carays Restaurant, and the post-ride party at Wrigley thatll have live music, food and drink.

Now, if youll excuse me, I have to got get some more miles in.

Chicago Mag is right: The Bulls will be must-watch in 2016 with Wade, Rondo

Chicago Mag is right: The Bulls will be must-watch in 2016 with Wade, Rondo

No one knows how all the new pieces the Bulls brought in this offseason - eight, to be exact - will fit together.

The team opened training camp on Tuesday, and it should come as no surprise that everyone seems to be getting along just fine. It won't be until the real games get going close to Halloween that we see how the new team, built by GM Gar Forman and VP John Paxson, fares. And realistically, the squad won't be a finished project until well into 2017.

But as Chicago Mag's Adam Waytz wrote earlier this week, no matter how the new faces - particularly two veteran champions in Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo - mesh together, the Bulls will be must-watch television in 2016-17.

Yet for all of Rondo’s outward absurdity, a similar strangeness lurks just below Wade’s surface, manifesting in an occasional thrown elbow and, this summer, in his erratic exit from the Miami Heat. Wade had no reason to leave Miami, where he led the team in 2006 to its first championship and holds franchise records for points, games played, assists, and steals. Yet the looming presences of Shaquille O’Neal and Pat Riley on the 2006 team, followed by LeBron James’s arrival in Miami (and subsequent departure!) overshadowed Wade’s steadfast tenure as the most successful athlete in South Florida history. Then came this summer’s contract quibbles.

But Wade’s departure had little to do with money. It was about the Heat, and the league more broadly, slowly wallpapering over his relevance as a top five all-time shooting guard.

This slow burn of Wade’s ego is the flame to Rondo’s fuse. Rondo also unwillingly tumbled into obscurity, with each setback—a 2013 ACL injury, his acrimonious 48-game Dallas stay, and a purgatorial last season in Sacramento (where a national audience ignored his career bests in rebounding and 3-point shooting)—fueling his resolve. For both Wade and Rondo, arriving in Chicago signaled a pressure release—they have already vocally deferred team leadership duties to Jimmy Butler—yet their pride still smolders.

Bulls fans now get to sit back and watch the Wade-Rondo redemption tour, a revenge fantasy that Tarantino could not have stunt-cast better. If all goes as planned, Rondo’s eccentric aggression will allow Wade to access the strange spite he secretly harbors, and Wade’s polish will set an example for Rondo, guiding him to restore luster to his recently tarnished reputation. If nothing else, watching their rejuvenation will be way more fun than pondering the sadness behind Rose’s eyes or wondering whether Noah and Taj Gibson can play together.

One has to wonder, too, about how much Wade's decision to return home had to do with his best friend, LeBron James, doing the same in Cleveland two years ago. And even though he's already dubbed the Bulls as Jimmy Butler's team, it thrusts him back into the spotlight playing for the team he dreamed about ever since he was a kid.

For both Wade and Rondo, it's also an opportunity to rebound from sub-par years. Wade played in 74 games, his most since 2010, but shot a career-worst 45.6 percent from the field, and his 19.0 points and 4.6 assists were the lowest since his rookie season 13 years ago. That's not to say the future Hall of Famer doesn't have plenty left in the tank - he does, at witnessed by his stellar playoff performance - but some added motivation in a new jersey will serve him well.

Rondo has even more to prove. The Bulls will be his fourth team since the start of the 2013 season, and while he led the NBA in assists per game last year (11.7) his shot and defense remain liabilities. Both Rondo and Wade can opt out of their deals after this season, and while that doesn't mean leaving the Bulls per se, there are financial games to be made by the pair having dominant seasons.

Combine that with Jimmy Butler attempting to prove he can play nice with a pair of Alphas, and as Waytz wrote, there will be something new to watch for every night.

Time will tell if Fred Hoiberg can harness the egos, talent and attitudes in the Bulls locker room. But one thing's for certain: no matter the outcome, it'll be worth watching.

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