Brooklyn vs. Chicago: Who has more swag?

Brooklyn vs. Chicago: Who has more swag?
April 20, 2013, 10:45 am
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Mark Strotman

For the next two weeks the Chicago Bulls’ and Brooklyn Nets’ lineups will be dissected, analyzed and compared. So with just hours until the two teams kick off the first round of the NBA playoffs on Comcast SportsNet, let’s compare the all-time Brooklynites and Chicagoans — in lineup form, including a sixth man or woman — and see who has the advantage in different pop culture categories. As of 2011, Brooklyn had a population roughly 2.5 million; Chicago’s population hovered near 2.7 million. These are just one opinion, so feel free to debate and comment on these and create lineups of your own.

*Note* To be considered for the list the person must have been born or grown up early in either Brooklyn or Chicago, which may cause some controversy in the “athletes” category.


Chicago: Mike Krzyzewski, Doc Rivers, George Halas, Knute Rockne, Marv Levy, Ray Meyer

Brooklyn: Red Auerbach, Vince Lombardi, Joe Paterno, Lenny Wilkens, Joe Torre, Larry Brown

This is quite the impressive list of Hall-of-Fame coaches. The classic Lombardi vs. Halas matchup is stellar in its own right, with Krzyzewski, Rockne (moved to Chicago when he was five years old) and Meyer making for quite the trio of collegiate legends, while Auerbach, Wilkens and Brown make up an incredible NBA-coaching trio of their own. Brooklyn has the diversity of sports (Torre) and Auerbach and Lombardi are near the top of most lists, regardless of city. ADVANTAGE: Brooklyn

[MORE: Frontcourts take center stage as Bulls face Nets]


Chicago: Bernie Mac, Bill Murray, John Belushi, Vince Vaughn, Walt Disney, Robin Williams

Brooklyn: Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, Larry David, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Adam Sandler

The borough has a solid history of Allen and Brooks, but Disney pretty much negates that, if not overtakes it — ESPN, after all, is owned by Disney. Brooklyn’s David and Seinfeld formed a duo on their own, but Mac has the sports connection (Mr. 3,000), Vaughn (grew up in Buffalo Grove) is a die-hard Blackhawks fan and Murray’s appearances in “Space Jam” and “Caddyshack” give Chicago the edge here. Even Williams helped that school pull a giant basketball upset in “Flubber.” ADVANTAGE: Chicago


Chicago: Kanye West, Common, Lupe Fiasco, Eddie Vedder, R. Kelly, Twista

Brooklyn: Jay-Z, Notorious B.I.G., Talib Kweli, Neil Diamond, Barry Manilow, Busta Rhymes

Whoa. The first two Brooklyn names pretty much seal the deal here, though Common starred in “Just Wright” as a basketball star, Lupe Fiasco likes skateboards (sports connection?) and Kanye West (moved to Oak Lawn at 3) has an indirect connection to Miles Austin, Reggie Bush and Brooklyn Nets forward Kris Humphries in dating Kim Kardashian. But in all seriousness, Brooklyn takes this one in a landslide. ADVANTAGE: Brooklyn


Chicago: Kirby Puckett, Kevin Garnett, Derrick Rose, Dick Butkus, Isiah Thomas, Red Grange

Brooklyn: Michael Jordan, Sandy Koufax, Jackie Robinson, Mike Tyson, Bobby Fischer, Chris Mullin

It’s near-sacrilegious to have Jordan not on the Chicago list, but rules are rules: Jordan was born in Brooklyn. However, the basketball power Chicago touts to counter Jordan — is that possible? — in Rose, Garnett and Thomas is impressive. Bonus points are given for Chicago having an active player in the playoff series on the list, while Butkus and Grange give this group two Football Hall-of-Famers. Plus, Bobby Fischer is a pretty big stretch as a chess champion, and Jordan really belongs on the other side of the list. ADAVANTAGE: Chicago


Chicago: John C. Reilly, Michael Clarke Duncan, Harrison Ford, John/Joan Cusack, Fred Savage, Bonnie Hunt

Brooklyn: Mickey Rooney, Anne Hathaway, Tony Danza, Lou Ferrigno, Barbara Stresiand, Steve Buscemi

It’s impossible to say who has the better group here, but Ford did play Brach Rickey in “42,” while Danza played Barney Gorman in “The Garbage Picking Field Goal Kicking Philadelphia Phenomenon,” which is a stellar movie in its own right. A few bonus points for Chicago: Reilly and Duncan starred with Will Ferrell in “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” and Duncan took part in Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park, which pretty much takes this category for Chi-town. ADVANTAGE: Chicago


Chicago: Giordano's, Lou Malnati's, Gino's East

Brooklyn: Di Fara Pizza, Best Pizza, Paulie Gee's

Well, both deep dish and NY style pizza can make solid arguments, but nothing's as unique as the Windy City's famous layers of thick cheese. ADVANTAGE: Chicago