How Large is Jordan’s Shadow?
The difficulties that come with being an all-in supporter (or die-hard fan, if you will) of a few NBA teams has come with some cost. Some fans have yet to experience that glory, and some have in angst of the rest of the basketball world.
A few years ago, the Seattle Supersonics moved to Oklahoma City. Breaking the hearts of many and with empathy of the league, the Sonics came as one rare exception to any fan. Even as a Bulls fan, with a few years of a short rivalry between us, it was easy to put aside difference, as Seattle in its own metropolitan character, shares a lot with a native Chicagoan.
The “Mecca of Basketball” or New York City has had a long drought, in terms of an NBA champion. Basketball by its nature, is unlike other sports with teams twice as large, caters much more of an advantage to large markets. The Knicks have had opportunities with many strange failures. The support of the fans has grown tired on top of impatient, while the franchise still profits each year with no hiccup.
Then you have the Bulls fan. Some still argue that the Chicago Bulls have had the last NBA dynasty. Some fans still argue that the era or Jordan was the best of the NBA. To be a Bulls fan, regardless if you are young, and missed the experiences of the 90s, you find yourself carrying some of that weight on your shoulders. Regardless if you are old, and remember Boozer(Bob, not Carlos). How do you defend your current team, and do you treat your best players fairly when the bar is raised so high?
Being a Bulls fan in general has become more difficult than most teams in sports. Right now we are at a crossroads where the Jordan era is considered recent memory, while not being entirely recent. It’s true we should remain grateful to witness an NBA champion, something 14 NBA teams have failed to do in their respective histories (19 have won 1 or less.)
It’s all gravy, until you meet with other fans. Maybe you’re saying to yourself, but every die-hard fan will give other team’s fans a hard time. While very true, every team that Michael Jordan beat, and took down crushed a young fan of many teams at some point. The Bull’s fan experiences a pride that can only be shared with the Lakers and Celtics. It’s only fit that the Lakers and Celtics meet up in the Finals, to save the two most decorated franchises from making even more enemies. Let’s be real, once you get butt-hurt after losing in the Finals, but you aren’t bothered beforehand just means you’re a Grade-A bandwagoner anyways. Bandwagon fans count still, because that is how many fans find themselves interested in the NBA.
Talking about the current Bulls with other fans often leads to a Kobe versus Jordan debate. The last sentence you made out was, “Wow, the Kurt Thomas pickup is paying off,” and the next thing you know your Knick fan friend says, “We got you in 94.” Back and forth about the olden days, and there isn’t much you can do. It’s a bend-over-card, pay your debts for winning in the past.
It’s almost as if the NBA understands the value of fans supporting multiple teams. When your team is out of the NFL or MLB playoffs, you quickly pick up another team to cheer for in the meantime. It’s not so easy in the NBA, at least for the Bulls, Knicks, Lakers, Celtics, and maybe the Spurs and Heat fans. Maybe Lakers and Celtics match-ups were indeed a David Stern conspiracy; to save us all more of this added nagging. There is enough bad blood in the NBA to where you would be crucified for cheering on most other teams. You get stuck supporting the team that does the least amount of damage to the Bulls records and players like Jordan, Pippen, ect. In some cases, maybe those without the scars, or gentlemen-like individuals, have no problem rooting the Pistons or Knicks on because they like their style of play. Yes, people will question their support, but some people are classy enough to pull it off. I, for one, couldn’t do it.
Write some comments bellow on your experiences with other fans, both in real life, or through social media. Feel free to join the forums and further discuss.