The Bulls have taken over the Midwest. And Alaska.
OK, so that probably needs some context.
According to a study done by the New York Times in which it tabulated NBA fandom by "likes" on Facebook, Bulls fandom dominates Chicago and Illinois (duh) while also spreading into significant areas of Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Indiana, Missouri, Kentucky and, yes, even Alaska. In most rural areas, too, the Bulls finished second or third behind one or two of the Lakers, Celtics or Heat.
The map below, courtesy New York Times, doesn't reveal too many surprises across the board, other than there's no question that the Lakers (all that purple out west and scattered across rural America) are America's Team and that cities with fewer pro teams (Oklahoma City, Portland and Utah) have superb fan support. You can see the complete interactive map here.
In Illinois, specifically, the heart of Chicago and its surrounding suburbs had the highest percentage of "likes" for the Bulls. Kendall County led the way with 69 percent of "likes" for the Bulls, while McHenry (68 percent), Kane (67), DeKalb (67), DuPage (65), Grundy (64) and Lake County (62) were all among the strongest shades of red on the chart. Ironically, Cook County, where the Bulls play, had just 51 percent of the likes.
Nearly all of Iowa was covered by the Bulls, and the slivers of Kentucky and Missouri were noticeable, too. But the areas in Indiana and Milwaukee, both homes of Bulls division rivals in the Pacers and Bucks, were interesting.
Then there's Alaska.
While the Lakers dominated most of the state, Southeast Fairbanks, Nome and Northwest Arctic, Alaska had the most Bulls "likes" of any NBA team.
Now, those areas have less than 19,000 combined residents (or roughly 3 percent of Lake County), but just know the next time Joakim Noah brings out the finger pistols, Taj Gibson throws down a huge dunk or Derrick Rose goes coast-to-coast, there's a group of fans in parkas cheering right along with you.
Are you from outside of Chicago and cheer for the Bulls? Let us know in the comment section below.
(All screengrabs courtesy of the New York Times)