Joakim Noah Bought an Incredible Home in Chicago’s Lincoln Park

JoShout out to all my DePaulians and Lincoln Park dwellers, Joakim Noah may be your new neighbor…or you can at least wander the streets of LP to creep on his sick new pad. The #messybunswagger just upgraded to another level of “swag.”

The Chicago Bulls center and reigning defensive player of the year just purchased a $3 million ridiculous home in Chicago. Previously Jo-No had lived in the suburbs to conveniently commute to practices at the Berto Center, but now that the Bulls training facility is smack dab on the West Side, it makes sense to be the official coolest Chicagoan living in the city.

The entire home is stunning. It includes but is not limited to: seven bedrooms, five and a half bathrooms according to the Sun Times, an elevator, grand center circular staircase, and fireplaces galore. My personal favorite the Rooftop deck. We all know there is no better way to experience the limited beautiful weather we get in Chicago than on a rooftop. 

Rooftop deck

I feel like Lincoln Park is the perfect laid back neighborhood for Noah. He wouldn’t fit in with the uptight yuppies at Trump Tower (sorry DRose don’t mean to disrespect), but I’m sure all the city hipsters are sad he didn’t choose Wicker Park to settle down and rock his custom necklaces.

You can check out all the photos of Jo’s new pad at Curbed Chicago.

Hopefully I’ll be getting my invite for the “stock-the-bar” party soon 🙂

Confessions of the NBA MVP: Kevin Durant Plays ‘NBA 2K’ as Lebron James

Kevin Durant, the reigning NBA MVP, made a recent appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. During the interview, KD shared two important facts with his many fans.

First, he’s an avid ‘NBA 2k’ player – 15 years of practice should do that for you. You need someone to join your ‘NBA 2k’ tournament, I think KD would expect an invitation.

Second, he doesn’t play as himself in the game, that would be “too arrogant.” So who does the NBA superstar choose to be in the video game (mind you, the OKC stud is on the cover of the 2015 edition)…the one and only Lebron James – a player Durant has been chasing his entire career.

I think he just likes Bron Bron’s sweatband 🙂

Derrick Rose Knows What Matters, Donates $1 Million to ASM

DRose ASM

Derrick Rose was the talk of the town Tuesday when he donated $1 million to the After School Matters organization. The NBA superstar, NBA MVP and three-time All Star is an Englewood native and knows the importance of supporting Chicago’s youth.

“To have a strong community of people who believe in your potential can make all the difference in the world,” said Rose, “so many people have invested in me and I want to do the same for Chicago’s teens.”

Can we get a round of applause for this guy? Way to be a role model Mr. Rose.

drose & kidsEver since enduring his first knee injury in 2012, DRose has been under scrutiny for sitting on the bench too long, not stepping up for the team, potentially never being the same player (haters gunna hate), but one thing you can’t disrespect is his dedication to Chicago and specifically the city’s youth.

“My message to our kids is simple – you matter, you deserve every opportunity in life, and you can and should dream big because dreams can come true,” said Rose via NBA.com.

ASM M Daley

ASM Teens with Maggie Daley

This news really hit home for me, as I have been fortunate enough to work directly with After School Matters professionally (also known around town as ASM) and it is truly an amazing organization. They continue to create innovative ways to develop Chicago’s youth.

The non-profit was founded by Chicago’s former First Lady, Maggie Daley, over two decades ago and has touched the lives of over 200,000 teens living in the city. Mellody Hobson, President of Ariel Investments, assumed the role of Board Chair in 2012 following Mrs. Daley’s passing. ASM has many different unique programs that include the arts, communications, sciences, sports and technology. Those participating in ASM programs are almost entirely minority and living at or below the poverty level.

The Chicago Bulls have been long supporters of the After School Matters organization and shaping teens in the city. Bulls’ Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and President and Chief Operating Officer Michael Reinsdorf sit on ASM boards. Although Chicagoans know the Reinsdorf family, it is always humbling to see a superstar athlete give back.

Derrick’s generous donation is a representation of his commitment to the Chicago community and is both touching and inspiring. I commend you DRose.

If you’d like to learn more about After School Matters, visit their website!

Confessions of a Bulls Fan: Why I Don’t Hate Lebron James as a Cavalier

Lebron instagram

via KingJames instagram

It was just a normal Friday morning until LBJ blew up the sports media world with a personally written Sports Illustrated article announcing, “I’m Coming Home” to Cleveland. Lebron James is one influential man, but I guess it comes with the territory of being the best basketball player on the planet.

I commend you Bron Bron, “the decision” round two was a much classier affair. After the frenzy that ensued when he made his free agency announcement, plenty of people talked and speculated, he kept his mouth shut and instead of a corny television broadcast he used the most respected sports publication to announce his choice. It seems the King has learned some tact during his time in Miami (must have been all the sun and Vitamin D).

Although he has some cry baby tendencies (flopping, cramping etc), I don’t hate James as a Cavalier. Coming back to Cleveland means “The King” also moves back into the Eastern Conference Central Division with the Bulls, but I still don’t mind. I like Lebron James the Cleveland Cavalier.

When the Bulls played the Heat throughout the last four years, I have to admit he made my blood boil. He played a big ‘ol media stunt and took his talents to South Beach to win some titles for his newly acquired “white hot Heat” fans. This time around he is going back to the place he calls home and he wants to win titles for HIS city. He wants his little boys and baby girl on the way to grow up in Northeast Ohio just like he did. He also didn’t hold a grudge against Dan Gilbert for his super mature letter in 2010 or Cavs fans who literally burned his jersey when he left for Miami. His choice was based on what’s best for his family and his city; a city that could really use something to brag about when it comes to the NBA (zero championships ever). This choice isn’t greedy as it’s certainly not for instant Championships. Don’t get me wrong, the Cavaliers are exponentially better with Lebron on the roster (check the Vegas odds), but they’re still a young team with some work to do.

When you take it all in, you can’t hate any of it.

After four years of saltiness, I’m letting my Lebron James grudge go. Way to show the world you’ve become a better man King James.

I’d also like to give a warm welcome to the return of the Bulls and Cavaliers rivalry 🙂 Bring it Bron Bron.

 

Bulls Free Agency Moves: Melo on My Mind

Ready, set, let the Carmelo Anthony courting begin! Free agency started at 12:01 AM Tuesday morning and the Chicago Bulls got the first shot at securing the restricted free agent.

Mother Nature seems to be on our side giving Melo a beautiful Chicago summer day for his Tuesday tour, now we just need GM Gar Forman and the front office to pull out all the stops because this dude is definitely the belle of the free agency ball this 2014 off season. His list of possible suitors seems endless and the money is flowing.

After his visit in Chicago Tuesday, Anthony will head to Texas to meet with the Dallas Mavericks and the Houston Rockets and later to Los Angeles to hear out the Lakers. He will be wined and dined by each ball club and after his travels could ultimately crush some hearts and re-sign with his Knicks in New York for a fat contract.Despite the risk, it looks like the Bulls are all in on Sir Anthony after decking out the UC with the “We want Melo” signage and pictures. Chicago drafted and traded for Doug McDermott to clear cap space last week, head coach Tom Thibodeau is on board for bringing in the small forward with the hot shot, Joakim Noah has been recruiting the sharp shooter since January during the All-Star game and the city of Chicago has been wishing for a scorer since the Michael Jordan-Scottie Pippen era.

If you’ve missed the rumblings about Carmelo, here are some important factors to consider:

Why Should Carmelo Come to Chicago? 

For a better lack of words, the Bulls have been scoring challenged over the last two seasons. They are desperate for a superstar scorer and Anthony could be that guy. He’d be an instant offensive savior for this Bulls team. He averaged 27.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 3.1 assists last season.

Melo understands legacies are made by championship rings and not necessarily how many points you score a game. The Bulls want to win a championship right now. They don’t want to wait a year to clear out cap space to bring in better players. They have a strong core and know they need a solid scorer to complete their puzzle.

The Bulls are in the Eastern Conference – the Mavs, Rockets and Lakers are all in the Western Conference which is most definitely a tougher crowd. Think the reigning champion San Antonio Spurs, Kevin Durant and the OKC Thunder, Blake Griffin/Chris Paul and the Clippers – the talent is honestly ridiculous. Other than the Miami Heat, the East is up for the taking. Your odds of at least making it to a NBA finals is far more likely in the Eastern Conference.

What Could Hold Melo Back?

More money more problems – Under the collective bargaining agreement, the Knicks can offer Melo a maximum contract of $129 million over five years. Any other potential teams can offer Anthony a maximum of $96 million over four years. Thats a hefty pay cut.

Derrick Rose has been injury prone over the last two years. It may be difficult to sell a team with an uncertain superstar piece of the puzzle. Rose could come back stronger than ever this upcoming season, or he may not. It’s all up the air at this point and we know Melo isn’t interested in hanging around to wait and see.

Stroke the Ego: Other stars have openly recruited Anthony. Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler are ready for Melo in Dallas, Dwight Howard and James Harden are waiting in Houston and his good buddy Kobe Bryant is ready to chat man to man in LA. Melo and Lebron James even have a bro-mance happening that could hinder his decision. The Bulls superstar, who hasn’t suited up in quite some time Derrick Rose, thinks it’s not “his job” to recruit star players. However, he may not have been openly recruiting Melo, Rose did attend today’s meetings in Chicago.

Brooklyn Born: New York is Melo’s hometown and I’m sure he feels a connection to his city. It would mean more to win a championship in “his city” rather than some other location. It’s going to take some serious schmoozing for Anthony to move his family out of his fancy life in the Big Apple and run with the Bulls.

Be prepared to hear quite a bit about Carmelo and his free agency journey across the US over the next few weeks. This is only the beginning as there are quite a few quality free agents available this off season.

Just remember, it’s only speculation until Melo officially accepts an offer – hopefully he’ll keep things classier than BronBron’s “The Decision” on ESPN a few years back. No need to nationally broadcast your choice, but if you take your talents to Chicago Melo, I promise we’re better fans than you’ll find in NY. #letsgo #Bullieve

via Bulls Free Agency Moves: Melo on My Mind | SportsDivas, Inc..

First Round Playoff Preview: Chicago Bulls vs. Washington Wizards | SportsDivas, Inc.

chicago-bulls-vs-washington-wizards_zps36d6b91fWell, hello there Chicago Bulls, the playoffs look so good on you.

After another whirlwind of a season, the ever resilient fourth seeded Bulls are preparing to take on the fifth seeded Washington Wizards in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

You may be thinking this all feels vaguely familiar; a Rose-less Bulls team attempting to claim the East and finally make it to the NBA finals. What’s different this time around? Should we even get our hopes up? The answer is, YES.

For the first time in forever Chicago is heading into the post season completely healthy – say WHAT? Yep, the Bulls have had the same starting rotation for the last 40 games of the regular season. Considering the past few injury prone seasons, this is remarkable and a healthy roster has allowed continuity for our favorite guys. We’re not sure if it’s just luck or different team strategies, but we’re happy with the outcome.

This first round match-up with the Wizards is about as ideal as a first round series can get. Chicago avoided another first round showdown with the Brooklyn Nets and if successful, are hypothetically lined up to take on a struggling Indiana Pacers ballclub in round two. The Bulls have the advantage on paper, but never underestimate a team come playoffs when the intensity sky rockets. Here are all the essential details to cheer on our men in red through the first round.

PLayoff preview

What You Need to Know:

Two Totally Different Mindsets: The Bulls are a team who’s roots are embedded in defense. They smother their opponents and refuse open shooting opportunities. Despite their stifling defense, they can struggle to produce points. On the opposite end of the court the Wizards are young, aggressive on offense and showy. If Chicago can control the tempo the series is theirs. If our guys get sloppy and struggle to get the ball to the hoop, Washington will thrive in transition and snag the advantage.

Post Season Primed: The Bulls are experienced in the post season. They’ve made it to the playoffs the last five seasons and advanced to further rounds in 2013 and 2011. Their opponent hasn’t won a playoff series since they beat the Bulls in the first round in 2005 and their guys are baby ballers.

Regular Season Recap: The Wizards were 2-1 against the Bulls this season. However, both of their wins were back in January when the Bulls’ roster was in shambles, they’d just lost Derrick Rose and Luol Deng was traded to Cleveland. Later in the season the Bulls gave the Wizards a a beatdown in Washington, so don’t let the record fool you.

Key Players to Watch on the Wizards:

beal_wallPoint Guard, John Wall is a 23 year-old stud. The PG made his first All-Star appearance this season and averaged 19.4 points and 8.8 assists per game. His offensive tenacity poses a threat to the Bulls who will be challenged with guarding the quick and talented Wall.

Shooting Guard, Bradley Beal is in his second NBA season and shined as one of the Wizards top dogs. The up and coming star averaged 17 points a game and is ready to demonstrate his talents on a bigger stage.

Key Players to Watch on the Bulls:

Noah and ButlerCenter, Joakim Noah IS Chicago Bulls basketball this year. He humbly begs to differ, but this two-time All-Star’s play generally determines if his team sinks or swims. He’s had the best season of his career collecting an insane amount of triple doubles all while averaging 12.6 points, 11.3 rebounds, 5.4 assist and 1.5 blocks per game.  JoNo has had an unbelievable season and there’s no doubt his talent and intensity won’t shine in this playoff series.

Shooting Guard, Jimmy Butler needs to shine in this series. Butler will be tasked with defending Beal all while producing offensively. He got off to a slow start this season, but we know the Butler has it in him. He averaged 13.1 points per game during the year, but more importantly played the most minutes per game. His defense is clutch to the Bulls success in this series. If he can trap and frustrate the Wizards’ rising star guards Chicago gains the upper hand.

First Round Schedule:

Game 1: Sunday, April 20 at Chicago, 6 p.m., TNT and CSN

Game 2: Tuesday, April 22 at Chicago, 8:30 p.m., TNT and CSN

Game 3: Friday, April 25 at Washington, 7 p.m., ESPN and CSN

Game 4: Sunday, April 27 at Washington, 12 p.m., ABC

Game 5*: Tuesday, April 29 at Chicago, TBD

Game 6*: Thursday, May 1 at Washington, TBD

Game 7*: Saturday, May 3 at Chicago, TBD, TNT and CSN

* if necessary

What’s Next:

milwaukee_022212_172Where you at Bulls-bandwagon? If you fell off throughout the season it’s time to climb back on because things are about to get real. The playoff party begins Sunday at the UC and will only continue to rage on throughout next week.

The Wizards are young and talented, but if Chicago can consistently find their offensive rhythm, their relentless defense will prove too overwhelming for the young studs and force them to crumble under pressure. Prediction: Bulls in 5.

via First Round Playoff Preview: Chicago Bulls vs. Washington Wizards | SportsDivas, Inc..

Bulls or Bust: 10 Things to Know Before the Playoffs

Calling all Bulls babes: the NBA playoffs are right under our noses! If you took a backseat after Derrick Rose went out for the season or Luol Deng was shipped off to Cleveland – we don’t blame you, but it’s time to brush up on your Bulls basics because we’re gearing up for a playoff party.

The league is wrapping up their regular season tonight and our Bulls have secured the role of “most dangerous underdog” in the post season this year. No one expected much out of Chicago after Derrick rose went down with the doom and gloom of a second knee injury. Many suggested the team tank the season and collect themselves a nice lottery pick in the draft. Instead, the Bulls are prepping for the 2014 post season and are easily one of the biggest threats to the top seeded dogs in the East.

What You Need to Know:

1. The Perfect Playoff Positioning? They’re either playing the Brooklyn Nets or the Washington Wizards in a first round show down. It all depends on the outcome of the final games tonight (The Bulls snag a four seed and Indy’s bracket with a loss or a Raptors win. They take the three seed with a win and a Raptors loss). Rumor has it the Nets don’t want to meet the Bulls in the first round after we knocked them out last year. The Pacers clinched the top seed in the East so technically we want the 4th seed to avoid the Miami Heat’s half of the bracket. Let’s not face BronBron and his title contending friends until the Eastern finals por favor.

2. It’s all about the messy bun swagger and the heart hustle and muscle of Joakim Noah this post season. His energy propels the emotional stability of the entire roster. JoNo has been absolutely stunning this season racking up career high stats. Triple-double is basically his middle name. He leads the team in rebounds, blocks, and assists (yea our center is the best passer on the team, deal with it). Noah’s health and consistent performance is essential for the Bulls to advance to the second round.

3. Crazy Cool Coach: Thibs may look like a Disney evil villain or maybe you get the used car salesman vibe from his fashion sense, but one thing proves true; Tom Thibodeau knows how to coach an NBA team. It doesn’t matter who’s on his bench, NBA players ride or die with their boy Thibs.

4. Defensive Titans: By now we are all aware of the Bulls defensive mindset. Tom Thibodeau has his teams eat and breathe defense and the Bulls are peaking (minus the loss to the lowly Knicks) at the right time. We’re looking your way Jimmy ButlerThey’ve been ranked in the top 5 defenses all season and are about to take the physicality up a notch.

butler and gibson5. X-Factors: Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler. Gibson is in the running for Sixth man of the year and there is no time like the present for him to whip out all the stops. I want ego-smothering dunks and I want dirty defense. Jimmy Buckets had a slow start on the year, but has picked things up since the All-Star break. We need a big burst from Butler to solidify some offense and defense for the Bulls.

6. Down and Dirty Delivery: The Bulls are primitive in their strategic play and do not possess the same finesse as power houses like the Heat and Pacers. Sometimes they barely have much offense at all; it can get ugly. However, the Bulls find other ways to beat you. They’ll physically and emotionally wear their opponents down.

Jimmer7. Jimmer Fever: From the second Jimmer Fredette stepped foot onto a Bull’s bball court, the media and the fans went into their usual Jimmer Fever frenzy. Think Brian Scalabrine White Mamba style, but not a super old NBA veteran. Jimmer is a bench mobber who may not see heavy minutes, but can make an impact emotionally – plus he’s got a nice mid-range shot. #jimmerfeverforever

8. D.J. Augustin is the best pick-up the Bulls could have hoped for. Chicago snatched Augustin after the Raptors put him up on waivers (the NBA equivalent to being homeless on the street). The Bulls were a team who needed a backup point guard, they took Augustin under their wing and he instantly made an impact off the bench. He’s currently the Bulls’ leading scorer.

Brewers-back9. Roster Updates: Ronnie “brew-ha-ha” Brewer is back on the Bulls. We were sad to see him go a few years back, but his return to the bench mob is a happy one. Brewer knows Thib’s intense defensive ways. He plays tough and can give the Bulls a pick-me-up when they need one.

10. No DRose: Derrick rose isn’t making a superhero return to whisk his team off into NBA happily ever after. Let it go, Let it go. (Yes, I went there, Frozen style)

Per usual any playoff advancing is going to take an entire Bulls team effort. Kirk, Boozer, Butler, Dunleavy and the whole gang are going to have to play their hearts out and maybe, just maybe, our Bulls may upset the entire conference. It’s time to #BULLieve.

Be sure to check out all my post season pieces at SportsDivasinc.com via Bulls or Bust: 10 Things to Know Before the Playoffs | SportsDivas, Inc..