Sam: Bulls praise Rodman's legacy

Sam: Bulls praise Rodman's legacy

Friday, April 1, 2011
Posted: 6:20 p.m.

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com
AUBURN HILLS, MICH.As a player, Dennis Rodman was reviled by most opposing fans and loved by the faithful in the cities where he was employed. No better example of that is Chicago, where The Worm was hated by Bulls fansand playersduring the Bad Boy Pistons era, during which he was at the forefront of Chicago fans misery, before relocating to the Windy City and playing a major role in three Bulls championships.

When asked about the legendary rebounder and defender, however, the current Bulls are nothing but complimentary about the man whose jersey will be retired at a halftime ceremony of tonights game against the Pistons.

Bulls veteran Kurt Thomas, like Rodman, a native of Dallas, competed against Rodman in the NBA, but he looked up to him from a unique perspective long before he made it to the pros.

As a player, Ive been watching him my whole life growing up in Dallas. I followed his career, thought he was an unbelievable player. To lead the league in reboundingI think it was for six years straightthats an unbelievable feat. The number of championships that hes won in this league, just a tremendous player, Thomas, who grew up in the same gritty neighborhood of Dallas as Rodman, told CSNChicago.com. Just the fact that hes from Oak Cliff, Im from Oak Cliff. Growing up in that area and to see a guy like that make it to the highest level, playing in the NBA. Then, the way he played.

Off the courtI know the real Dennis Rodmanhes an unbelievable person. He has a great heart, hell give you the shirt off his back. Hes a great guy. Hes just an amazing person, he continued. Throughout his career, hes always giving back to the poor. Hes always done amazing things in Dallas, in the area where he grew up. Everywhere hes played, hes done an amazing job of giving back, second to none.

Now 38, Thomas also received on-court advice from Rodman as a young player.

He told me, Hey, young fella, just keep working hard. Never give up and never settle.

Its great to actually be here, to know that all the fans are going to come out, support him because he gave a lot this league and its definitely an honor for me to be here to witness and be in the building, said Thomas. He definitely should be a Hall of Famer, without a doubt.

Joakim Noah, perhaps the Bulls player that most embodies Rodmans on-court spirit (and free-spirited nature away from the game), also gushed about Rodmans influence.

Dennis has always been a hero of mine and Im just really excited for him and its very well-deserved, said Noah, who slyly confirmed hes partied with Rodman a few times and the experience was very fun, before the teams Tuesday morning shootaround. Hell yeah, hes a Hall of Famer. People always talk about his antics and all the other stuff, but I think people forget he was a hell of a basketball player.

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau offered yet another perspective on Rodman.

I coached him two years in San Antonio. Real smart player, very unselfish player, team player and more of a complete player than hes given credit for. Everyone knows about the defense and the rebounding, but he was a great screener, great passer and he could score when he needed to, praised Thibodeau. Fierce competitor. I have a lot of respect for him. He had a great career.

What I remember about him is just how hard he played, added Thibodeau, who said hed try to greet Rodmantime-permittingduring Fridays game. I really like him. Hes a good guy, really good guy.

When asked about Rodmans Hall of Fame worthinesshes been nominated for the upcoming class; many observers feel his off-court antics will prevent him from ever being enshrinedThibodeau was adamant that Rodman is deserving.

I think so. And those things sometimes, you can never tell why. But I think hes deserving. When you look at what he did over his career, he maintained a high level of excellence for a long period of time. Hes one of the all-time great rebounders in the history of the league. He helped you execute, he played tough, he played big in big moments, so you have to give him a lot of respect for that, said the coach. Statistically, its still pretty amazing numbers when you look at what he did, but he wasnt a big-time scorer, so sometimes that goes against you. But hes a big-time winner.

Rodman was one of them best defender Thibodeau ever coached. He could defend multiple positions. Great rebounder, great multiple-effort guy, too. I often think about his rebounding, where he tipped the ball two, three, four times. Hed just keep going until he got it. He was always in great shape and again, hes looked at sometimes in a negative way for the stuff off the court, but on the court, he was fabulous, terrific.

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.com's Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.

Dwyane Wade tweets apology to fans after Bulls' lopsided loss in Atlanta

Dwyane Wade tweets apology to fans after Bulls' lopsided loss in Atlanta

For the opening three quarters in Atlanta, the Bulls were off. 

So off, in fact, that Dwyane Wade tweeted an apology to Chicago fans after the game. 

Thanks to a furious run by the Bulls' bench, the final score ended at a respectable 102-93. In reality, though, the Hawks dominated. 

Wade and company trailed by 29 points at half and 30 at the end of three. The 35-year-old shooting guard finished with a minus-18 and just four points while All-Star starter Jimmy Butler posted a team-low minus-22.

The Bulls will look to shake off their lopsided loss against the Sacramento Kings on Saturday. 

 

Fred Hoiberg after Bulls' embarrassing loss to Hawks: 'We're gonna look at everything'

Fred Hoiberg after Bulls' embarrassing loss to Hawks: 'We're gonna look at everything'

The bus was warm before the game started, as the Bulls looked like they wanted no parts of the Atlanta Hawks.

It was evident from the jump that playing with a full and healthy squad for one of the few times this season wasn't enough to arouse their competitive juices, as they put together arguably their worst 48-minute showing in a 102-93 loss at Philips Arena, dropping them to 21-23 in a game they trailed by as many as 34 points.

The practices have apparently been the sterling jewel of effort and competitiveness for the Bulls but it hasn't carried over through the season as the inconsistency continues to be maddening — one that seems to go beyond the "growing pains" mantra that's been fed by all involved so far this year.

"It could be things but I don't want to share it with the media," a sunglasses-clad Dwyane Wade said outside the locker room, in a rare mood of not being elaborative following a loss.

It appears even the professional's professional has gotten a bit more frustrated than usual — understandable considering the way the starters came out with a lack of energy, with more turnovers (eight) than field goals (six) in the first quarter.

"Continue to try to lead behind the scenes," Wade said. "Can't stop when it's bad, when it's good. You gotta be the same."

Fred Hoiberg, fed up with the starters, ran with the reserves for the fourth quarter and outscored the Hawks by nearly 25 points, bringing the lead to 95-90 with a minute left before a Dennis Schroeder jumper restored order with 52.6 seconds left.

Four Hawks scored in double figures led by Schroeder's 25 points and six assists and Paul Millsap scoring 14 while making all four of his shots in just 22 minutes of run.

[MORE BULLS: Dwyane Wade not buying into the Bosh to Bulls speculation]

Perhaps it's the Hawks being the same kryptonite to the Bulls that the Bulls are to the Toronto Raptors — except the Bulls simply frustrate the Raptors, not embarrass them.

"I have been, we have been, tired of this. I gotta come out better," said Jimmy Butler, who led the Bulls with 19 points in 29 minutes. "I gotta play better from the jump, 48 minutes. That's not the way we're supposed to play. 

"The way we practice is not the way we play in the game. Don't ask me why, I don't know. Starting with me and going down the line, we gotta be better as a whole. Otherwise we'll keep getting our asses beat and it's bad."

The Hawks shot over 60 percent for most of the night until the game devolved into what amounted to a pickup game late. After all, the Hawks seemed to be battling boredom by half, leading 65-36 and shooting 68 percent from the field and hitting 67 percent from three.

"We're gonna look at everything and we'll see how we go out and start tomorrow and a couple days after that, hopefully we figure some things out," Hoiberg said. "They shot over 70 percent in the first quarter and you dig yourselves a hole and it's impossible to get out."

Hoiberg said he would evaluate everything leading into Saturday's game at home against the Sacramento Kings, but Friday didn't seem to present any realistic lineup changes based on performance.

Bobby Portis scored 10 with seven rebounds off the bench, with Jerian Grant scoring 12 and Paul Zipser 10. Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic combined to shoot two for nine, so one wonders where Hoiberg can go.

"I don't know. Practice is good. Practice is great," Butler said. "Practice is not gonna win you games. We gotta take what we do in practice and take it over to the game."

The Bulls weren't about to make it any more suspenseful than it had to be, as they started off missing their first 11 3-pointers, often missing multiple open looks on the same possession.

It wasn't relegated to just shooting as the Bulls squandered easy opportunities in easy situations, like Denzel Valentine turning a three-on-one fast break into an airballed finger-roll attempt that he caught himself — a violation, of course.

"I don't know, I can't put a word on it. Because it's just talk," Butler said. "Doesn't matter what you say, if we don't go out there and do it, what the hell is talking gonna do? We've been up and down all year. If we don't guard and turn the ball over, games get out of hand very quickly."

This one was over a few minutes into it, as the Bulls looked like a lifeless squad with no direction and very little fight, short of a minor dustup between Dwight Howard and Robin Lopez in the third quarter.

At that point, though, all Howard had to do is point at the scoreboard, where a 30-point lead did all the necessary talking.

The Bulls trailed by 20 even before Tim Hardaway Jr. hit a 35-footer to end the first quarter, sending the Hawks off on a high and seemingly demoralizing the Bulls.

Even Butler's 19-point night, hitting six of his eight shots in 29 minutes, rang hollow. The Bulls could've trotted out a D-League team for the second half to gear up for Saturday's game against Sacramento and been better off than how they performed Friday night.

And for the Bulls, they can't simply just go back to the drawing board. There looks to be something fundamentally wrong with this bunch — either that, or the Atlanta night got the best of them Thursday.