Readers who frequented this site during the last off-season will recall the engrossing saga that was Jim’s Decision. Now, over three months later, we thought we’d check in on Jim to see how the re-born Aussie Bulls fan was traveling. Read on.
1. So Jim, we’re halfway through your first NBA season as a re-born Chicago Bulls fan. How have you enjoyed it so far?
I’m really enjoying this season, having a team to follow really has changed my perspective of the game. That, combined with a blossoming sports gambling addiction, has meant that I am following the whole competition a lot closer than I have in years. Following the Bulls has not only meant that I obviously follow them much closer than I used to, but it has also focused me on their competition in the East. When I watch their games I really soak up the detail on both teams far more than I used to.
2. Have you noticed any major differences in the league since you last followed it this closely? Did it take a while to adjust to being a one-man team again?
Not really. If anything, I probably reckon there is a (relative) lack of dominant big men in the league at the moment compared to when I was last really into NBA, which is disappointing given I have always loved the man’s game played inside the paint. On this point – I love the way Noah plays his ball. Obviously there are a few elites out there, but it’s not like the 90s where there were a heap of all-time great 4s and 5s out there at the same time which I was obsessed with. But I dunno, maybe that’s my perception more than reality.
It didn’t take long to adjust to being a Bulls fan, like I said in my decision, I think I had always been a closet Bulls fan so it wasn’t too much of a leap. I still have a leaning for some of the teams I enjoyed watching the last few years, but that’s no different to most people.
3. Do you have any regrets about the Decision you made last October?
No regrets whatsoever. Being an Aussie supporting a team which contains Boozer, Bogans and Brewer is a plus, especially when I wear my recently-acquired Boozer jersey around Melbourne – I don’t think many people realise it’s not a gag. And I am very excited that whilst they’re still a pretty young team they’ve got a pretty good attitude to the game, which hopefully means they’ll be real contenders in a few years.
To be honest, I can’t think of anything that has made me wish I was supporting a different team at any point this season.
4. There was a lot of backlash from Knicks fans after your Decision. Has the reception been hostile when visiting fans from your other short-listed teams?
I was in New York recently and was worried about the reception I would get when I arrived at the airport. Luckily my entourage managed to whisk me through security into a waiting van, as the heaving masses mobbed me on my exit from the terminal. I even received a letter, all in capital letters, from James Dolan, talking of hilarious forecasts which will never have a chance of occurring.
My only concern is that by not choosing the Knicks I may have hurt my chances with Leighton Meester, Blake Lively and the Gossip Girl cast. Actually, on that topic – I would find it extremely difficult to decide between spending a passionate night with either Blake Lively or Blake Griffin. The consequences of the two would obviously be extremely different, injury-wise, but it is a tough call to make to say which of the two makes my heart pound harder. Interesting, the Google auto-fill function brings Griffin up before Lively when you type in “Blake”.
5. The Bulls had their struggles early but are now sitting 2nd in the East. Given the injuries to Noah and Boozer, has the team exceeded your expectations to be in this position?
Yeah, to be honest, I know they were going to be winning games and pushing some good teams this year, but really wasn’t expecting them to be a .700 team (at time of writing)! So yeah, very excited to see what happens over the next few months, and can’t wait to be watching playoffs and actually caring who wins!
6. Are there any Bulls games or moments that stand out for you this season?
Haven’t had a chance to watch as much game time as I would like, but the one I did which has stuck with me was Rose beating the Lakers, that actually got me really excited that I had made a great choice!
7. Do you think Derrick Rose has a legitimate shot at winning MVP this season?
Look, everyone seems to be saying he does have a chance, and like I said I haven’t watched a hell of a lot of ball this year to make the call, so I guess I can’t argue with it. But my reaction is that I would have expected he would need to improve his D to be considered the most valuable player. But having said that, the fact that the bulls have such a strong record without any depth, and with the injuries they’ve had, does show how valuable this man is.
8. Have you adopted any players as your favorites so far?
I had liked Boozer for a while, and he looks like being a good rock for this team. Obviously Rose is the man, but the one that excites me probably more than most is Deng. Love his versatility.
9. A couple of weeks ago Amare Stoudemire said “no one’s afraid of the Heat”. Which teams out East are you most wary of? Who would give the Bulls trouble in the playoffs?
Haha, I would be afraid of the Heat, definitely. But I guess the team I have put my money on to win the title is the Celtics. I don’t know whether that is still a hangover from living with a Celtics supporter for too long and seeing them winning too often, but I still expect them to tear into teams with ferocity come post-season.
10. Do you have any words of advice for NBA fans who don’t follow a team?
Pick one! I was skeptical and perfectly happy being a “fan of the game”, but your appreciation/dislike for teams and players steps up a notch when you’re heart’s in it!
Thanks Jim. And best of luck to your Bulls for the rest of the season.