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 🙂

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!

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..

LET THEM EAT CAKE! Happy 100th Birthday Wrigley Field

Wrigley-Field-2014-banners-front-gate

The ever famous Wrigley Field is celebrating its 100th birthday this fine Wednesday. The very first baseball game was played at the friendly confines exactly this day 100 years ago AND it basically looked exactly the same (hehe).

Over the last century the Cubs haven’t had too much to celebrate, but the field has become an iconic Chicago staple making plenty of movie cameos and providing a venue for some of the most historic Chicago concerts.

What better way to celebrate a centennial than with a 400 lbs cake? If you’ve been around 100 years you don’t have to count the calories any longer, you’re excused. The massive cake was baked by Buddy Valastro of the TLC show Cake Boss. It took a small army and six days to make this bad boy. We’ll call it the Friendly Cakefines.

cakeboss

The cake is currently on display outside the friendly confines for fans and Wrigleyville patrons to admire. According to Danny Ecker of ChicagoBussiness.com guests will get to try the cake during a party at the Field Museum.

cake cake

I have two concerns. Will the cake taste delicious or will the fondant overpower the flavor? And WHO is blowing out the candles?

 

Bittersweet Business: Luol Deng Traded to Cavaliers

NBA: Playoffs-Chicago Bulls at Brooklyn Nets

via Bittersweet Business: Luol Deng Traded to Cavaliers | SportsDivas Inc..

After months of trade rumors, the Chicago Bulls ended an era when they wheeled and dealed their two-time All-Star small forward Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers late Monday night.

Initially, you might be thinking the Bulls front office has lost their marbles. Deng has been the most consistent offensive player on the Bulls the past few years, he’s led the entire league playing a ridiculous amount of minutes, he’s a stifling defender and he has a heart of gold.It wasn’t always pretty, but Lou gave Chicago his all throughout his 10 year journey and embodied the Bulls gritty defense-minded approach. Unfortunately, our love for Luol Deng is not enough to keep him in Chicago. There are plenty of reasons why the Deng-er-ang was sent off to hang with Kyrie Irving and the Cavs. It’s business, baby.

To give the Bulls’ organization some credit, they did try to keep Deng in Chicago by offering him a 3-year, $30 million extension last week. However, Deng declined the offer which then led to plan B – the trade.Deng is 28, leading the team in points scored, but he’s also be ailed by quite a few injuries this season and in past years. The game takes a lot of wear and tear on the body. John Paxson, Chicago’s VP of Basketball Operations, addressed the media immediately Tuesday morning to discuss the big move. He explained just how hard of a decision it was to trade Luol and the amount of respect the organization has for the NBA player.

Chicago has been through the ups and downs with Deng and he has always proven the toughest of soldiers, playing through sprains, muscle tears and spinal taps. The city is forever grateful for his time here and we wish him nothing but greatness in Cleveland unless he’s playing the Bulls of course.

What the Bulls got in Return:

I know what you’re thinking, “ditching Deng better have been worth it,” or maybe that’s just what I was thinking. The Bulls picked up center Andrew Bynum, three future draft picks and the right to swap 2015 first round picks with the Cavs. Los Bulls already have a solid center in Joakim Noah, so they will release Bynum before the Jan. 7 deadline tonight. This will clear up about $12.3 million to go with the $14.3 million they saved by trading Deng.

The draft picks are what really sweetened the deal. The Bulls now have a boatload of draft picks coming their way in the next few years. This is great news because the 2014 draft is deep with talented players and the Bulls could really get some quality guys.

What This Means for the Bulls:

The fun has only just begun for the Chicago Bulls’ front office. This trade absolutely signifies a new era in Chicago basketball and a time for rebuilding, but it’s not going to be a complete overhaul. They still have serious talent in Joakim Noah, Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson. Yes, trading Deng means the Bulls won’t be doing much winning this season, but the goal is to develop the young players we do have like Tony Snell and find the the guys who can truly take the Bulls to a championship upon Derrick Rose’s return.

DRose is still the center of Chicago’s universe. The organization’s goal is to find the best players to compliment Rose. We need a team who no longer plays under Derrick, but rather a team who plays well WITH Derrick.

Expect the Bulls to amnesty Carlos Boozer this summer, this will cut another $16.8 million for the Bulls spending, which would hopefully allow enough salary cap room for the signing of an elite caliber free agent. All these deals give the Bulls quite a bit more wiggle room when it comes to the limitations of players they can sign.These are absolutely long shots, but players like Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Greg Monroe and even LeBron James could potentially be attainable. The Bulls have cap space and with some tempting rookies, Chicago may be able to conjure up some sign-and-trade deals.

Losing Deng is no easy feat. It’s going to take the team some time to bounce back after their silent leader was traded away, but I bet Joakim Noah is even more upset that the poor guy has to live in Cleveland.

Farewell Luol, we’ll miss you and your Dengerous wingspan.

 

Cheese Graters > Cheeseheads

Bears Packers Football

Last night proud Chicago fans headed into enemy territory (also known as Lambeau Field) as they ferociously cheered on the Bears against the Green Bay Packers during Monday night football. The Bears-Packers rivalry is one of the oldest and greatest in the history of the NFL and no matter what’s at stake for the season this game is always taken seriously. Every educated fan can appreciate the history, but let’s be serious, Bears fans and Packer fans hardly get along. 

Per usual Lambeau was a sea of Green, Gold, and cheeseheads, I mean cheese hats, but finally Bears fans had an amazing response to those horrific cheese hats – cheese grater hats. Take that you cheese queens, we can shred you up.

Cheese graters

It was a battle of the back-up QBs and for the first time since 2010 (yup the Packers had taken the last six games) the Bears defeated the Packers 27-20 at their own sanctuary in Green Bay.

Ditka

Da Coach predicted the Bears W

Before last night, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers had won four consecutive games and sat atop their throne in the NFC, but after a serious upset we’ve got a three-way tie going on between the Bears, Packers and Lions. With Aaron Rodgers’ injured shoulder, the Bears injury woes/aging defense and the cowardly Lions, the NFC is anyone’s for the taking. Could our Bears make a playoff appearance this season?

Keep those cheese grater hats handy boys, the Bears end their regular season against the Packers on December 29th. #BEARDOWN

INJURY BUG Plagues the NFL

chicago-bears-quarterback-jay-cutler

What in the world happened on Sunday? I was feeling pretty down and out after watching the Chicago Bears not only lose to the Redskins 45-41, but also their leaders on both ends of the field. And then I watched the highlights from all over the league and I felt a sense of relief for the Bears injury report.

How could I possibly say the Bears “lucked out” when quarterback Jay Cutler is out for potentially 4-6 weeks (it could be longer) with a groin tear and Lance Briggs is out for 6 weeks with a fracture in his left shoulder?

Well, check out this other laundry list of injuries from last Sunday:

Sam Bradford: Torn ACL

  • He’s out for the year and the Rams are currently auditioning quarterbacks – yup it’s week 8.

Brian Cushing: Broken Leg and torn LCL

  • Texans fans were upset when runningback Arian Foster injured his hamstring after the first possession against Kansas City Sunday, little did they know it was going to get much worse.
  • Linebacker Brian Cushing was later carted off the field. This guy can’t catch a break, he tore his ACL in the same knee last October.

Reggie Wayne: Torn ACL

  • This may very well be the end of Mr. Wayne’s illustrious career as a wide receiver for the Colts.

Doug Martin: Torn Labrum (shoulder muscle)

  • This injury requires season ending surgery for the year 2 Tampa Bay running back.

Jermichael Finley: Out of Intensive Care

  • The Packers’ tight end suffered a serious neck injury when he took a blow to the head from Cleveland’s Gipson during the fourth quarter. He’s regained all movement, but football is the farthest thing from his mind.
  • His recovery process it TBD

And that is just the list of season ending injuries. This bad juju better be out of the NFL. I wish all these guys a smooth and healthy recovery.

*Check your fantasy teams friends, if yours is anything like mine you may not have any active players in your starting lineup!