“Two hot dogs please.” – The Yellow Jose first words when arriving at the United Center
I decided to take a break from critiquing the football and food of the VPL, and went to visit Obama’s country for a few weeks. As soon as I arrived in L.A, I became….THE YELLOW CHUCK (named after the great late Detroit Pistons coach, Chuck Daly).
As with most kids during the 90’s, if you loved basketball, your number one hero was Michael Jordan (although for a brief period, Jordan took a back seat to Wesley and Woody (and Rosie Perez for the eye candy) from White Men Can’t Jump as my gods). I never got into the whole Magic and Bird persona, maybe I was too young to enjoy “Showtime” or Bird was just too white for my liking. With Jordan though, I witnessed things I had never ever seen in the sporting world. No AFL, football, tennis, or just any sportsman had the visual and personal impact as he did. He defied gravity, took shots at will, had a ruthless competitive streak and came up with some many highlight reels in which most NBA players would like to have one let alone a million. And with that admiration, I became clothed in Nike for the next few years. I had about eight Jordan t-shirts, a pair of Jordan 6 and Jordan 7, four Chicago Bulls hats and three pairs of Jordan socks. After a run of six championships, Jordan left us (I have no memory whatsoever of his Washington Wizards days, even though I did watch him live playing for this team against the Raptors where he missed a dunk and shot like Ben Wallace). When he left us, the NBA’s popularity dropped and the Chicago Bulls became shit. Obviously, the worldwide support of the Bulls went downhill. I mean who wants to support a team who in the next five years would only win 119 out of the 460 games. Well, I stuck by them. I became fans of Ron Mercer, Elton Brand, Eddy Curry, Jay Williams (why the fuck did you have to crash your motorbike when you explicitly told not to ride it!), Jamal Crawford, Marcus Fizer and Ron Artest (I wish he did his fan fighting antics at the Bulls instead of Indiana, it would of made the season more enjoyable to talk about). And I wanted to watch them play at their home court, the United Center.
So here I was on a Saturday night in front of the United Center. I was finallly going to watch my Bulls. I don’t know whether it was the three pints of beer I had previously, or the mad turkey burger I had at Hackney’s, but I was fucking pumped.
Saturday, 3rd of April 2010 at the United Center
I was so overwhelmed when I entered into the arena. I didn’t know whether to get a beer, food, look at the merchandise, or go for a pee. But I could smell the dogs, and got two of them, along with a Bud. I felt like a true American (just without the American fat). The Uniter Center had an art deco feel about it. Art deco!?? It was an impressive building, which had far more charm than Rod Laver Arena. Armed with my hot dogs and my Bud, I got to my seats up in level 3. I was greeted by a floating Bull. It was hovering above the court. It was massive. Along with the SIX championship banners hanging off the ceiling.
I spoke to the couple besides me (which instantly bought the “Your from Down Under??” question), and was wondering how they could fit in there seats with the amount of weight they had. But they were nice enough to get me a Bud during the game. And on Bud, I find the beer repulsive, along with Bud Light (which is not a light, but a low-carb beer). There was other full-strength beer available, but that entailed me walking quite a bit from where I was (again, I’m a lazy American without the fat).
The players came on court for the pre-match warmup. And there was my Bulls team, Kirk, Rose, Noah, Deng, Miller, Gibson…live in the flesh. Awesome! And it was appropriate that my first Bulls game was against the Michael Jordan owned (plus Tyrus Thomas new team), the Charlotte Bobcats. I didn’t see MJ around, but I think that was because my eyesight is appalling. The Bulls were 2 games out of the final playoff spot. They needed to win the remaining games and rely on the Raptors to lose a few to make it. So this game was huge.
Frank Sinatra’s rendition of Chicago came out of the speakers, and for a brief moment I was sold on the idea of moving to here (this could be added to my Karaoke song list). And then the lights went off and out came the song Sirius by the Alan Parsons Project. If I was fucking pumped beforehand, I was close to blowing off my load during this song. And out came the Bulls. One of these days I will get drafted by them, and be part of the starting five (I have one-game winning streak against Fingers, does this make me NBA ready?) just so I can come out to that song.
The game starts and finally, I can now say that I’ve seen the Chicago Bulls live at the United Center. The game itself wasn’t that great, but that didn’t bother me at all (it helps when you punish a few Buds). The Bulls led all game, with Hinrich and Rose doing most of the damage with 24 and 26 points respectively. They end up winning it 94-88. The one thing that really stood out from this game was Derrick Rose. He may look quick on the tv screen, but fuck he is even quicker live. I don’t think there is a player in the NBA who can keep up with him at the moment. I don’t see him as a true point guard yet, but he definitely can shoot a lot better than most people give him credit for, and soon enough he’ll get the passing game going. Plus, he is an awesome dunker for a point guard.
I left the United Center happy. After waiting so many years for this moment, I felt that it could not get better than this. I was too hyped to go back to the hotel, so I ended up getting annihilated.
Tuesday, 6th of April 2010 at the United Center
‘Andrew Bogut will be out for the remainder of the season.’ – ESPN Sports Center, the morning of the Bulls v Bucks game.
Shattered. There’s always something that’s got to ruin a trip. The Bucks played the Suns, and Bogut had just dunked over Amare Stoudamire, in which Bogut landed on his arm. I think the arm was damaged in five areas of the arm. Shattered. I almost threw the remote at the tv. I was looking forward to seeing him play. He’s had a great season, a beast on the defensive end (which was acknowledged by the NBA, as he made the 2nd all-defensive team). Bogut is the best basketballer that has been produced in this country (apologies to Gaze, Ray Borner, and Larry Sengstock). Again, shattered!
What made it worse is that the Bulls could not beat a Bogut-less Bucks. They indeed fear the dear and got trounced in the final quarter. I’m amazed on how well this Bucks side has played. I cannot believe Scott Skiles (Bucks coach) was dumped by the Bulls (he got fired on christmas eve. John Paxson, you have no heart). I stepped up my seat, and sat on level 2. Best thing about sitting on this level, drink and food service from my seat. Ahhh, a beer, hot dog and chicken strips/fries wench!
One thing that frightened me from sitting on this level, was the Bulls cheer squad. They were armed with T-shirt guns. The guns should be banned. Those things are lethal (though I did imagine a midget getting hit by a t-shirt, now that would be f’n hilarious).
Bulls lose this one 74-79 (see what I mean about dull)
Thursday, 8th of April 2010 at the United Center
“What, that Cleveland really sucks?” – When Joakim Noah was asked whether his dislike for the city Cleveland would motivate him more.
This was the game where I was going to absolutely give it to the LeBron James. He must of heard the Yellow Chuck was in town, because he decided not to suit up for this game. This was different type of disappointment compared to Bogut, as there is nothing like giving shit to a player you dislike. By the way, top five NBA players where hate is the only emotion I have for them:
1. Kobe Bryant (I don’t like convicted rapists)
2. LeBron James (stop thinking about becoming a billion dollar athlete and a spoiled brat)
3. Eddy Curry (the fact that you are earning 12 millions dollars next year for being fat)
4. Rajon Rondo (you’ll never be as good as Chris Paul)
5. Ben Gordon (betrayal hurts)
I decided to take it another step with my seats, and sat in level 1. It was right next to the players entrance. I could give the pound to Bulls players (which I did for Brad Miller). Being like five metres away from the Bulls bench is super. The cheerleaders were top notch (they even had the granny cheerleaders for the GILF lovers). Craig Sager (TNT courtside reporter, and the man with the awful suits) was having photos taking in front of me by fans. He would be a true ladies man, especially in that lovely yellow suit.
The game itself was quality. The Bulls starters were on song, especially Deng, Hinrich and Rose, with each scoring over 20 points. The Cavs had Mo and Jamieson going off. It felt like it was the playoffs, as the noise level was far louder than the previous two games I had watched. I thought the Bulls had it with a minute to go, but Mo kept on landing bombs from outside the arc. He had the chance to win the game on the buzzer but came up short. Free Big Mac for the fans! (each Bulls fan gets a free big mac with each victory and only if they scored over 100 points).
So, after the game finished, I stood up, took one more look at this awesome venue in my oversized Derrick Rose jersey and walked away feeling completely satisfied. And as I left the United Center, I was again thinking, could I move to the land of Obama and watch the whole season of the Bulls live? I might have to.
Notable Attendees – The whole Chicago Bulls team
Number of Hot Dogs consumed – 6
Number of Buds consumed – 16
Number of chicken strips consumed – 3
Number of Hot Dogs consumed – 7
Number of Beers consumed – 21
Number of Souvlakis consumed – 1
Number of chicken strips consumed – 3
Number of food poisonings – 0