Melissa Isaacson

Melissa Isaacson is a columnist for espnW.com, ESPN Chicago and ESPN.com. The award-winning writer has covered Chicago sports for most of her 31-year career, including at the Chicago Tribune before joining ESPN in 2009. Isaacson has also covered tennis since 1986.

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Bulls and Pau Gasol a perfect fit

As a mentor, veteran leader and deft scorer in the paint, Pau Gasol is a welcome addition to the Chicago Bulls.

Kukoc: Mirotic set up to succeed

Former Chicago Bulls great Toni Kukoc believes rookie Nikola Mirotic is set up to succeed in the NBA.

Proof 2-0 is a most dangerous lead

After staking a 2-0 lead in Game 2, the Chicago Blackhawks blew their chances to pull away, and the Los Angeles Kings pounced to score six straight and knot the series.

With door wide open, Bears fall flat

The Bears still can win the NFC North, but they looked nothing like a playoff team in an embarrassing loss to the Eagles, writes Melissa Isaacson.

Lance Briggs prepares for return

The Bears' depleted defense will get a lift when Lance Briggs returns to action.

Strange loss creates hurdle for Bears

The Bears face an uphill battle after a bizarre loss to the Vikings.

Football a return to normalcy here

For the victims of the Washington, Ill., tornado, a high school football game represented a return to normalcy after an emotional week of healing.

Long brothers to share rare meeting

When the Long brothers meet on the field, it won't be easy on their parents.

Standing down suits Marshall well

Walking away from a verbal clash with Brandon Meriweather is the latest example of Brandon Marshall's growth.

Right on message

Jon Bostic's dad, a former NFL player himself, has prepared the Chicago Bears rookie linebacker to make the most of his chances.

Bulls a winning choice for Dunleavy

With nine playoff games in 11 seasons, Mike Dunleavy is excited for chance at a title with the Chicago Bulls.

Unfurling great expectations

As the Chicago Blackhawks raised their Stanley Cup banner, they appear much better prepared to avoid the post-championship letdown that dogged them after 2010.

In the Bears he trusts

It takes a lot to earn D.J. Williams' trust, and the Chicago Bears did just that by sticking with the veteran linebacker.

Urlacher's star will continue to rise

Brian Urlacher may be retired, but his imprint on the Bears remains and his public profile might even grow larger.

Stakes high for Cutler this season

There's more than money on the line for the Chicago Bears' Jay Cutler in his contract year.

Keeping old habits

Marian Hossa will be playing in his fourth Stanley Cup finals in the last six years.

Finishing touch

Patrick Kane regained his goal-scoring mojo while helping the Hawks eliminate L.A.

Scrappy Bulls season a step back

The Bulls' scrappy Derrick Rose-less season feels like a step back.

Rose needs to make a decision

Derrick Rose needs to make a decision and stop the uncertainty that is taking away from the Bulls.

Risks vs. rewards

Bears GM Phil Emery is not oblivious to character issues, but he understands he has a job to do.

No idea he would be 'Superman'

Jerry Reinsdorf reflects on Michael Jordan's epic run with the Bulls.

Emery can't wait too long

A thorough search is fine, but Bears GM has to act fast when he finds his man.

Glimmer of hope not very hopeful

The Bears' glimmer of hope doesn't feel very hopeful.

More than a stat line

Jay Cutler's value wasn't confined to box score in Bears' win over Minnesota.

Time to step up

Jason Campbell gives the Bears a fighting chance until Jay Cutler returns.

Cutler a Nashville 'legend'

Cutler didn't have to win to leave a lasting mark on Vandy and Nashville .

This one is different

Bears fans have seen quarterbacks struggle before, but at least Jay Cutler can triumph in the end.

Tillman's rise continues in Year 10

The Bears' Charles Tillman seems to be getting better with age.

Still waiting

The Bears' offense looks like it's stuck in the past.

Tipping the balance

Matt Forte demonstrates he deserves a big part in balanced Bears offense.

No need to sugarcoat situation

Urlacher still can be plenty effective for the Bears at less than full strength.

Bears ponder life after football

The Bears are aware that their earning potential as players is limited.

Bears make a mess of good football

The Bears underwhelmed in their most important preseason contest.

Jeffery ready for impact

Bears rookie receiver Alshon Jeffery is ready for impact.

Jay Cutler well-armed for success

Jay Cutler could do big things with this stocked Bears offense.

Williams endures back to the top

First-place Sox have surprised thanks to Kenny Williams and his "hybrid rebuild."

MJ responds to Rose comparison

Michael Jordan responded on Monday to Chicago Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf comparing Derrick Rose's injury situation to the one Jordan experienced with the Bulls in 1985.

Finally, a backup who's got their back

Bears can finally be confident in backup quarterback with Jason Campbell.

Papa Bears tackle fatherhood

With several players expecting their first child, veteran Bears dads share advice.

Not in a rush

The bar shouldn't be set too high for Bears' first-round pick Shea McClellin.

Bears tackling expectations head-on

The Bears aren't shrinking from high expectations as training camp begins.

Bulls go back in time with Hinrich

The Bulls have gone back in time with the addition of Kirk Hinrich.

Santo earned baseball's top honor

Ron Santo was an all-time great at third long before the Hall made it official.

Bears, Matt Forte both winners

Matt Forte's new deal is the latest move in a great offseason for GM Phil Emery.

At their core, Bulls may have enough

The Bulls face a future of uncertainty, but who doesn't in the ever-changing NBA?

Running into problems

Irvin and Carter warn the Bears about the danger of not signing Forte.

For one night, Floyd in control

Gavin Floyd's mastery of the Cubs bodes well for the Sox moving forward.

A friend of the people

The majority of Orlando Woolridge's life was full of the joy he brought to others.

Tackling the tough question

With offensive expectations high, the Bears need Gabe Carimi to bounce back.

Season's greeting from Halas Hall

With no title contender this spring, Chicago's focused on the new-look Bears.

Cubs' future seems so far away

The Cubs look like they're in for a long season after a sweep by the White Sox.

Down, not out

Another injury can't prevent the Bulls from surviving a Game 5 scare.

Now what?

The Bulls' goal of making the NBA Finals was shredded by Rose's injury.

Hawks lack punch in Game 4 loss

The Blackhawks aren't hanging tough against the Coyotes.

No rest for the weary

The Bulls aren't performing at playoff-ready level down the stretch.

Plenty of value in Bulls' latest win

The Bulls showed their biggest advantage on the Heat is power in numbers.

Captain comeback

The Blackhawks are ready to test their playoff mettle.

King calls for calm among Bulls fans

Stacey King isn't overly concerned with Derrick Rose's latest setback.

Beating Boston just the beginning

Thursday's win against Celts hardly solves all the Bulls' problems.

Emery puts rep on line with Marshall

The Bears' trade for talented but troubled Brandon Marshall is not without risk.

Style vs. substance

Consistent Bulls not distracted by flashier Knicks.

Howard's primary priority: himself

While Dwight Howard builds a brand, Derrick Rose hopes to build a dynasty.

Winning solves a lot of problems

The Blackhawks' troubles fade into the background as the wins keep coming.

State of desperation

Bruce Weber can't land quality in-state players, and it could cost him his job.

2012 a season of survival

The grind of this season could catch up to the Bulls at the wrong time.

A Reinsdorf for the next generation

Michael Reinsdorf is making his own name as Bulls president and COO.

By declaration of the King

Bulls color commentator Stacey King is on his way to becoming a Chicago icon in the booth.

Hardly a clean slate for Phil Emery

Phil Emery will have to work with Lovie Smith to succeed.

White Sox make first pitch of new era

This year's SoxFest is about the team selling fans its new look.

Injuries not hurting Bulls' bottom line

The Chicago Bulls continue to win despite injuries to their top players.

Carlos Boozer in a tough spot

Carlos Boozer still has a ways to go to win over Chicago Bulls fans.

Anthony Rizzo can handle adversity

Anthony Rizzo equipped to handle any adversity that being a Cub can bring.

Game-changer

Jerry Reinsdorf makes an impact by focusing on diversity.

Bears coach positively maddening

Bears coach Lovie Smith favors relentless optimism over hard truths.

Stellar D will buoy the Bulls

The Bulls will go as far as their defense takes them.

Still the one

Packers clinch home-field advantage after allowing Bears a chance to dream.

Cutler's legend grows from the sidelines

Jay Cutler's value is obvious. But let him prove his legend on the field.

Two guard won't solve Bulls' 'big' issue

The Bulls need to add depth to their injury-prone frontcourt.

Boozer talking, looking the part

With his health intact, Carlos Boozer is giving reasons for optimism in Chicago.

Rebuilding now a White Sox reality

If Kenny Williams is going to rebuild, he needs to go all out.

If Matt Forte is out, playoffs may be too

The Bears playoff hopes are in big trouble if Matt Forte misses much time.

Hanie learns lessons the hard way

Caleb Hanie's less than stellar debut shouldn't be his only chance as Bears QB.

Reports of Bears' demise exaggerated

Chicago Bears can still make playoffs with Caleb Hanie replacing Jay Cutler.

From broken thumb to broken dreams?

Jay Cutler's thumb injury could prove more painful for the Bears.

Cubs have 'unflappable' new leader

Dale Sveum's toughness is a good match for the Cubs.

Will just enough be good enough?

Jay Cutler does enough to get wins on the board, but needs to play better.

Cutler having fun with it all

Cutler is on his game off and on the field, and that's great for the Bears.

Rocky's upset victory

Chicago Blackhawks continue to carve niche on Chicago sports landscape.

Blackhawks powerless against rivals

The Blackhawks' bad game was even worse coming against the Canucks.

A reason to rally

The Bears are rallying behind Matt Forte's quest for an extension.

'He was going to be GM someday'

There's a lot more to new Cubs GM Jed Hoyer than statistical analysis.

A pressure-packed challenge for Theo

Andy MacPhail says Theo Epstein will face more pressure to win than he did.

Bears' Martz experiment should be over

The Mike Martz experiment should be coming to an end.

'Hopefully that's who we are'

The Bears should be grateful the Vikings made it easy on them.

Last line of defense failing

The Bears are suffering a rare defensive letdown, allowing too many big plays.

Solitude suits marathoner Ryan Hall

Ryan Hall placed fifth in the Chicago Marathon. Can he win an Olympic medal?

1985 Chicago Bears still buzzworthy

White House visit a reminder that 1985 Bears are still worth all the fuss.

Can't fault Lions' swagger

Detroit washout Roy Williams is happy for the Lions' success.

An honor 25 years in the making

The Bears' Super Bowl celebration finally gets its day at the White House.

'We have to get better'

Urlacher knows Bears won't match 2010's success unless defense improves.

Return elicits memories

The Bears' defense still hasn't returned to where it was under Ron Rivera.

Out of control

Bears' lack of possession game is putting too much stress on their defense.

Identity crisis

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is leading an offense without an identity.

Martz system could be Cutler's downfall

Mike Martz's system could lead to Jay Cutler's downfall if it doesn't get fixed.

Hilgy knows: It's not that bad

Former center Jay Hilgenberg actually sees promise in Bears offensive line.

Finding perspective

Chicago Bears support Brian Urlacher as he mourns after loss of his mother.

Chicago off-course as a major golf city

Chicago golf fans losing out as PGA finds greener pastures.

Don't get carried away

The Bears can't get carried away with their Week 1 victory.

Bears' defense right from the start

The Bears' defense was right from the start against the Falcons.

Are Bears contenders? It's complicated

History, luck and the team up north show Bears have a lot to prove.

Bears' newest safety a low-risk addition

At end of an oft-criticized offseason, the Bears made a shrewd move.

Dane Sanzenbacher not letting go

Dane Sanzenbacher made another convincing case for a roster spot.

Podlesh kicked cancer, 'little things'

A cancer scare gave the Bears' Podlesh new perspective on his life and career.

Another blunder by bumbling Bears

Chester Taylor incident is just the latest blunder for the Bears.

Don't sweat the small stuff

Chicago Bears fans shouldn't sweat the small stuff.

In preseason form

Should Chicago Bears fans be worried or just chalk it up to this time of year?

The only positive that matters

The Bears didn't accomplish much, but they did escape New York healthy.

Second chance

Jason Kipnis has grown from personal, family controversy into a budding star.

Barber content as silent partner

Season looks bright for Bears' ground game, so why does it feel so glum?

Tough to buy the company line

As feared, the Bears' maligned O-line is picking up where it left off.

He can't be serious ... can he?

If he retired, Carlos Zambrano would be doing the Cubs' bottom line a favor.

Richard Dent's journey ends in Canton

Richard Dent's long football journey ended at the Hall of Fame.

The skinny on greatness

The Bears found gold in the eighth round in 1983 when they drafted Richard Dent.

Mike Martz: From feared to flexible

Mike Martz's offense has gone from feared to flexible.

Bears to Forte: It's complicated

Watching the Kreutz talks play out shouldn't instill confidence in Forte's.

No. 1 in Chicago, No. 1 in China?

Rose has all the makings of a superstar in the NBA's biggest market.

Mike Quade has security problems

The time for changes to the Cubs might be now.

Twins pile on to White Sox's woes

The pesky Twins piled on to the White Sox's woes.

For Cubs, Sox, the defense never rests

Cubs, Sox keep sticking up for their guys and fighting for wins.

Anatomy of a slump

White Sox DH Adam Dunn, the current poster boy for baseball slumps, has admitted that he has put pressure on himself to help his new team and -- while not mentioned but assumed -- to live up to his four-year, $56 million contract.

Kukoc's stories have familiar rings

Kukoc doesn't wear his title rings, but he carries the memories of the dynasty.

After ugly start, Sox don't look half bad

The rejuvenated White Sox have plenty of reasons for optimism.

Put away rose-colored glasses

After a great regular season, the Bulls can't gloss over their fundamental flaws.

Breaking down the Bulls' meltdown

A stunning turn of events ended the Bulls' season Thursday night.

From swaggering to staggering

Derrick Rose is discovering just how tough a deep playoff run can get.

Heat's D has Rose looking for answers

Easy baskets have been few and far between for Derrick Rose.

Bad moment for a (usually) good guy

Joakim Noah is a good guy who still has some growing up to do.

Bulls keep cool about cold Kyle Korver

The Bulls are wise not to give up on a slumping Kyle Korver against the Heat.

'One of those nights'

Derrick Rose wasn't at his best in Game 2, a luxury the Bulls can't afford.

On second thought

The Bulls' second-chance points "demoralized" the Heat in Game 1.

Bulls harbor no hate for Heat

Don't expect the Eastern Conference finals to be a grudge match.

Perfect time for peak performance

Carlos Boozer's Game 6 performance finally lived up to fans' expectations.

Fewer shots, greater impact

Derrick Rose scored 33 points in Game 5, but he had help in beating the Hawks.

Lower the volume -- of criticism

Chicago Bulls fans shouldn't worry about Derrick Rose's shot total as much as his teammates' production.

It's time for the Bulls to get offensive

Stops are nice, but the Bulls must start making more shots to advance.

Are Bulls better off without Booz?

An Ex-Bulls post player doesn't like what he's seeing from Carlos Boozer.

Derrick Rose's MVP speech a slam dunk

With moving MVP speech, Rose continues to amaze Bulls fans.

Rose met own challenge for greatness

MVP Derrick Rose answered his own challenge for greatness.

That one hurt

As news broke that Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose is the MVP, he didn't have his best night.

Worst losses don't happen on court

Taj Gibson battled personal losses while helping the Bulls to a winning season.

Pick and roll

Bears GM Jerry Angelo should not play it safe in the draft and trade down.

Rose beat up but not beat down

Derrick Rose is doing everything he can to play and put away the pesky Pacers.

Bulls save best for last versus Pacers

After a surprisingly tough series, the Bulls saved their best for last.

Series turns into unexpected delight

The Blackhawks' series against the Canucks keeps bringing the unexpected.

Resurgent Hawks far from satisfied

The Hawks are riding high for the first time in a long time.

Paco Rodriguez dreamed of being a hero

Boxer Francisco "Paco" Rodriguez had dreams of being a hero before suffering fatal injuries during a title fight in Philadelphia. Through organ donation, his dream was realized.

Much too close for comfort

The Bulls lead 2-0, but the Pacers have shown they won't be easily dismissed.

Blackhawks' Cup about to run dry

The Hawks certainly don't look like a Cup contender against the Canucks.

Experience counts -- a little

The Bulls aren't that inexperienced -- not that it's all that important anyway.

A return to glory

After several false starts, the Bulls are back on the title track.

Talking a good game

The Bulls may make the Pacers' Danny Granger eat his words.

Jackson sizzles in a blustery opener

Edwin Jackson's hot start is one of many reasons for optimism on the South Side.

Triangle mastermind coached from heart

Exemplary six-decade service to game earns Tex Winter spot in Hall.

It's time for Boozer to earn his keep

Carlos Boozer is paid like an All-Star. He needs to start playing like one.

Success not always measured in titles

A contented Doug Collins is teaching the Philadelphia 76ers how to win.

Not Bulls' best, but good enough

Derrick Rose and the Bulls found a way to gut out a win on an off night.

The evolution of Derrick Rose

With increased confidence, Derrick Rose has had an MVP-caliber season.

Bears' Gould tees off on owners

Robbie Gould believes the owners have been showing their true colors in recent weeks.

Present catching up to the past

Bulls' performance was worthy to be witnessed by the '91 champs.

Bulls' title mettle forged in Detroit

The Bulls' championship mettle was forged in a losing locker room in 1990.

Quade shows he's in control

It would be wrong to portray Mike Quade's Cubs as being in disarray.

Fear not a factor in Peavy's return

Jake Peavy is determined to recover from an unprecedented injury.

For Konerko, reflection can wait

With his future secured, Paul Konerko is determined to tune out distractions.

Derrick Rose rises up after Thibs talk

Derrick Rose responded to a challenge from his coach with a career night Thursday.

Gone too soon

Former Bears safety Dave Duerson was found dead in his Miami home.

Hawks are running out of time

Either the Blackhawks get it by now or they don't.

Dent's 'proud papa' saw potential

Bill Tobin's discovery paid off with a Hall of Fame career.

Healthy Packers a scary thought

The Packers are going to continue to make life difficult for the Bears.

Better safe than sorry with Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose has learned to protect himself. The Bulls must follow suit.

Like it or not

When it comes down to it, Jay Cutler is picked on because he is not well-liked.

Bears come up small on big stage

The Bears lost a huge opportunity against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

More than just Devin Hester

Dave Toub presides over one of the top special-teams units in the NFL.

Never a better time to 'Beat the Packers'

From Day 1, Lovie Smith's top priority has been to beat the Packers.

Cutler's real fun comes with another win

The Bears' X factor, Jay Cutler, is a step closer to elite status.

Tillman master of takeaway

Charles Tillman embodies the thieving ways of the Bears' defense.

For Olsen, the end game is elsewhere

For his sake and the team's, the Bears should move Greg Olsen this offseason.

No need to worry about Cutler

The Bears' postseason success rests on Jay Cutler, and that's a good thing.

Bears' success story written by players

Talent -- not the GM or the coaches -- restored the Bears' credibility.

No need to get defensive

One series cost the Bears' D, which regained its stingy ways.

This one matters ... really

The Bears should approach Sunday's Packers game like a playoff game.

Bears find another way to win

The Bears find another way to win against the New York Jets.

No rush on Lovie Smith extension

The Bears shouldn't extend Lovie Smith's deal until they see the postseason results.

Bulls can be good enough minus Noah

The Bulls can be good enough for two months without Joakim Noah.

Don't look back, keep eyes on prize

Bears must forget bad loss and turn their full attention to beating the Vikings.

Yep, they're that good

The Bears and blizzard conditions were no obstacles for the New England Patriots.

Saying goodbye

Few athletes become part of the fabric of the community like Ron Santo did.

Becoming Brady

Can Jay Cutler be the next Tom Brady? Sure, if he follows these steps.

Nothing easy about this Bears season

The Bears' luck continues against the Lions but there's no need to apologize.

Cubs fans lost a friend in Ron Santo

Chicago Cubs fans lost a friend in Ron Santo.

Bears go according to plan

Everyone else might be surprised the Bears are 8-3, but not Lovie Smith.

Confident Cutler leads Bears

Big stage, big implications, big opponent. None of that fazed Jay Cutler on Sunday.

From mockery to magic

Illinois RB Mikel Leshoure restored the focus to football at Wrigley Field.

A familiar recipe for success

In registering its first shutout in 63 games, the Bears' D showed its potential.

Dailey's legacy more than controversy

Quintin Dailey was more than just negative headlines.

Miami: Reality check or building block?

Heading into a national game, the Bears have an edge to them. But will it last?

Happy returns

On Sunday, Devin Hester reminded us how devastating of a weapon he can be.

The hands-on approach

Appearing on the reality show "Undercover Boss" gave Todd Ricketts a unique look at how Wrigley works.

Idonije thriving in starting role

A series of unlikely events helped lead to Israel Idonije's NFL success.

'I'm the real Jay Cutler'

The Bears' Jay Cutler could learn from the "other Jay Cutler."

A happier, healthier Deng

A trip to his native Sudan and a new coach give Luol Deng a new outlook.

Cutler tries to rise above heat

Critics are lining up for Jay Cutler, but he says go ahead -- he's not listening.

Giant egos blocking Bears' progress

The giant egos of Jay Cutler and Mike Martz are blocking the Bears' progress.

Mike Quade can handle the heat

Having thick skin to handle criticism should be no problem for Mike Quade.

Bears' hopes rest on maligned O-line

A shuffled-up O-line carries the heaviest burden for the Bears' struggles.

For Bears, it's not that simple

From protecting Jay Cutler to running the ball, offense is a struggle for these Bears.

Jay Cutler's condition tied to his word

The extent of Jay Cutler's recovery from a concussion is tied to his truthfulness.

Bears' offense suddenly has options

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Hawks set to step out of Cup's shadow

As the Hawks finish their Cup party, it's too early to judge the new team.

Peppers sacking perceptions

Julius Peppers probably didn't deserve the rap he had with the Panthers.

Bears should count only blessings

The Chicago Bears should be counting their blessings for their 3-1 record.

Harris hardly in the clear

It's unclear how Tommie Harris will respond to his well-earned benching.

Lovie Smith, Bears make a statement

Lovie Smith made a statement by sitting underperforming players.

'There's always hope'

In the face of adversity, Devin Aromashodu's outlook is refreshing.

Bears score well-earned comeback

The Bears proved doubters wrong with a surprising win over the Cowboys.

Not-so-happy returns

The Bears must let Devin Hester focus on his role in the return game.

Winning can't cure all this

There was plenty to cheer -- and jeer -- in the Bears' odd win over the Lions.

The pain of prognostication

The forecast for the Bears' season ahead looks murky if not melancholy.

Hazy with a chance of mediocre

What are the Bears made of? It's hard to tell after a winless preseason.

Turco follows in Tony O's footsteps

Veteran goalie Marty Turco is turning to the "kids" to help him win a Cup

Lack of trust at heart of Bears' woes

A lack of trust has plagued the Bears' offense during the preseason.

Another bitter-tweet night

As usual, the latest Guillen-Williams riff takes the focus off the Sox's real problems.

Bears see no need for preseason panic

Despite some areas for concern in first two losses, the Bears aren't panicking.

Lou Piniella was born into baseball

For Lou Piniella, leaving baseball to care for his mother was the only call.

Bears endure the safety squeeze

A safety unit rife with injuries and inexperience could make for a long year in the secondary.

Cubs lose a good player and a class guy

The Cubs' failure to win big shouldn't overshadow Derrek Lee's productive tenure with the team.

Jay Cutler's start: Blink and you'd miss it

Hard to tell much about new offense with Jay Cutler limited to one series.

The agony of anticipation

The Bears' preseason opener will give fans plenty of ammo to jump to conclusions.

MJ's year off gave Pip time to shine

When given the chance to step out of MJ's shadow, Pippen showed his greatness.

Sox show 'write stuff' for Ozzie Guillen

Ozzie Guillen plays up his team, downplays importance of beating Twins.

Camp has an odd charm for Briggs

Lance Briggs realizes that he must cherish the years he has left in football.

Taking offense to the optimism

When it comes the Bears' offense, it's hard to believe the hype.

Outspoken Ozzie Guillen one-of-a-kind

Ozzie Guillen's opinions may or may not be right, but they're worth a listen.

Monster's Ball?

The Bears' defense is looking to get back to its ghoulish past.

Excitement not only thing Smith full of

Head coach Lovie Smith is "excited" about the season ahead. But should he be?

Brenly as manager has nice ring to it

Bob Brenly as Cubs manager has a nice ring to it.

Ryno in waiting

Cubs fans love Ryno the player, how about Ryno the manager?

Blackhawks' facelift getting painful

The Chicago Blackhawks' facelift is starting to get painful.

The curious career of Carlos Boozer

Some of Carlos Boozer's prior antics didn't endear him to hometown fans.

Disappointed but not deterred

Although the team missed out, the Bulls took the professional approach to recruiting LeBron James.

Bulls can still be contenders in East

With the addition of Carlos Boozer, all is not lost for the Bulls.

Steady as Paulie goes

Even-keeled Konerko is leading the White Sox's surge back to contention.

Cleveland holds it together for James

James' loyalty -- as well as his hometown team -- shouldn't be dismissed.

A trade that makes cents

The Bulls have put themselves in position to land two franchise-changing players.

Thibodeau's best good for Bulls

Arne Duncan says the Bulls got it right with Tom Thibodeau.

Cup's keepers see it all

Chaperones are with the Cup trophy for every step of its excellent adventure.

Chicago's new lovable ... winners

The Blackhawks are 'brothers for life' and the city's new sports legends.

Bulls coach comes with questions

The Chicago Bulls' hiriing of Tom Thibodeau leaves plenty of questions unanswered.

Byfuglien's greatest hit

Dustin Byfuglien and the Hawks showed a newfound intensity in Game 5.

Hawks don't blink after two losses

Have no fear, Blackhawks fans, because your team doesn't.

Whistles aren't a worthwhile distraction

The Hawks must try to act as if this Chris Pronger business isn't a bother.

Pronger has Kane in pain

Patrick Kane is sore after getting the Chris Pronger treatment.

A can't-miss series

This thrilling Stanley Cup finals has had a little of everything.

Kopecky's moment worth the wait

After five games on the bench, Tomas Kopecky delivered a winner in Game 1.

Hawks' Kind of Town

The Blackhawks are finally winning over Chicago sports fans.

The growth of Chicago's skating stars

Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are the collective face of the Blackhawks.

Young Chicago's reserve is endearing

The young Blackhawks' muted celebration is endearing.

Bolland having a blast

Dave Bolland is giving opposing stars fits, and loving it.

For Urlacher, the truth hurts

In spite of Brian Urlacher's thin skin, Gale Sayers' opinion is valid.

Hawks thrive again on adversity

The numbers shouldn't have added up for the Hawks, but once again they did.

Time for a change

It's becoming easier to believe LeBron James will join the Chicago Bulls.

Bulls' vacancy has much appeal

The Bulls must hire a coach who will have no trouble winning players' respect.

Brouwer's return lifts Hawks' spirits

The Hawks put together a complete performance in Game 6 in Vancouver.

Canucks learn lesson against Hawks

Vancouver toned down its penalties and took control over the Hawks.

Power trip: Hawks in Canucks' heads

The Blackhawks rattled the Canucks for a Game 4 victory.

In no rush

Antti Niemi has been good enough to get the benefit of the doubt with the Hawks.

Push calls for shove

The Blackhawks let the Canucks push them around in Game 1.

Bulls a star shy of being title contender

The Bulls showed that they are a star away from title contention.

Rough and ready

The Predators were tough, but the Canucks will be tougher.

LeBron: We forced our will

Cavaliers star LeBron James forced his will on a demoralized Bulls team.

Behaving Bradley

As Milton Bradley returns to Chicago as a Mariner, signs of change are few.

Keeping up with the King

The Bulls prove what they've known all along -- that they can play with the Cavs.

For starters, Big Z's move puzzling

Moving Carlos Zambrano to the bullpen is a big gamble for the Cubs.

Security issue

It's too early to call for the head of White Sox hitting coach Greg Walker.

Keep the change

The Blackhawks adapted in beating Nashville in Game 2.

James and Co. hardly sweating Bulls

Even when they're at their best, the Bulls are still no threat to the Cavs.

Face of the franchise

After nearly 30 years, Cubs fans finally know who owns their team.

Be cautiously optimistic about Bulls

The Bulls' rout of the Raptors isn't necessarily a sign of things to come.

Never too early

It's just one game, but the Cubs' opener provided reason for concern.

Opportunity knocks

The loss of Twins closer Joe Nathan casts the White Sox as the AL Central favorites.

Big Z making strides. Really.

Carlos Zambrano imploded but spared us from another tantrum.

Steady as he goes

The Bears will miss the dependable and durable Alex Brown.

Cool at the corner

His composure has made Ramirez the Cubs' best hitter.

Head in the stars

Olympic gold medalist Evan Lysacek returned to Naperville as a hero.

Sean Marshall wants to be a starter

Cubs pitcher Sean Marshall accepts his relief role but wants to be a starter.

A growing problem?

The White Sox may have a growing problem with Dayan Viciedo.

Managing it all

Entering his 46th year in pro baseball, Lou Piniella knows his place in the dugout.

How Tweet it isn't

Ozzie Guillen opens up about his son's resignation from the team.

A fitting end

A shootout loss to the Coyotes was a fitting end to the Hawks' week.

Much a-tweet about nothing

Oney Guillen's departure is an unneeded distraction for the Sox.

Ryan Theriot ready to lead off

Ryan Theriot is looking to have a breakout season as the Cubs leadoff man.

Proof positive

After two forgettable seasons, Andruw Jones is out to prove he's back.

Focused on his future

Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano is embracing a new sense of discipline.

It's been a long, hard fall for Bulls

With injuries to key players, the Bulls playoff chances are fading fast.

Everyone's all in

On the Bears' big day, Julius Peppers silenced his critics -- for now.

Untouchable is unthinkable

Bears shouldn't hesitate to pull trigger on deals for Greg Olsen and Devin Hester.

Scrappy Slaughter not lacking in zeal

Jarrett Payton and Steve McMichael are bent on promoting the Slaughter.

Laughing through tears

A year after their deaths, Johnny "Red" Kerr and Norm Van Lier are missed.

Just having fun

No reason to get all atwitter about Guillen's new way to communicate.

Lesson learned

Jack O'Callahan: Team USA learned 'Miracle' unity lesson.

What about Vinny?

Questions remain about Vinny Del Negro's future in Chicago.

Not the retiring type

Cubs' Lou Piniella facing last year of contract with competitive juices flowing.

A kinder, gentler Davis

Shani Davis seems to be growing up before our eyes in these Olympics.

Bowing out gracefully, at peace

Frank Thomas was an outstanding, if reluctant, Sox superstar.

Competition from within

Some Olympic speedskating coaches are unhappy with lack of credentials.

Processing the aftereffects

Tom Waddle, other former Bears discuss effects of concussions after NFL careers.

'The perfect time'

Saints coach Sean Payton took his sister along for a magical Super Bowl ride.

In his blood

It wasn't hard to spot the coach in Sean Payton from an early age.

He'll put on a show

When it comes to Mike Martz, entertainment is a given.

Back on the (band) wagon

The Bulls return from their recent road trip as a more confident, resurgent team.

No answers, more questions

The Bears' coaching search is becoming a public-relations disaster.

A perfect changeup

A few small changes are making a big difference for Bobby Jenks.

The Kenny and Ozzie show

Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen address fans' questions at SoxFest.

Guillen ready to 'make things happen'

Ozzie Guillen is rejuvenated after a baseball-free offseason.

Sometimes, there are no answers

The death of Gaines Adams raises issues about testing pro athletes.

Adams was 'a great kid'

Those who knew him say Gaines Adams was a passionate family man.

Under new ownership

Cubs fans saw a new sight at the Cubs Convention: real live owners.

One tough (but sweet) mother

Isiah Thomas recalls the life of his tough but sweet mother, Mary.

No closure on steroids era

Closure is unlikely for steroids era if players remain silent.

He fits the bill

Perry Fewell could change the Chicago Bears' defense for the better.

Bears lack in player development

Several former Bears are making their mark on playoff teams.

Buddy system

Jeremy Bates is promising but all wrong for the Chicago Bears.

Blackhawk down

Hawks right wing Adam Burish is looking forward to getting back on the ice.

The right fit?

Mike Martz wants to be the Chicago Bears' OC, but would he be a good fit?

'Major' decisions, minor results

The Bears' offseason moves may not be enough to cure them.

No reason to wait

Why wait? Chicago Bears should start cleaning house now.

Bobby Bowden gave enough

Chicago coaches have plenty to learn from Bobby Bowden.

Team Canada's Blackhawk trio

Hawks trio is rightfully excited about making Team Canada.

Where has this been all season?

The Bears' win on Monday raises questions that deserve answers.

Memorable night, forgettable season

The Bears' Monday night win was a rare highlight this season

Shanahan makes too much sense

Shanahan is reportedly interested in the Bears. Are they smart enough to act?

UC change?

The Blackhawks may be passing the Bulls as the most popular tenant of the UC.

Quitting by degrees?

To accuse the Bears of quitting is almost giving them an easy out.

A statement game

Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said the team's problems will be addressed, but what if Angelo is the problem?

Comeback trail a dead end?

Can Eddy Curry rebound to find NBA stardom again?

No love for the OC

Bears offensive coordinator Ron Turner isn't being defended by his players.

Rose should listen to Bryant

Bulls guard Derrick Rose should take Kobe Bryant's advice.

How a Bears coach gets fired

Comparing Lovie Smith to past Bears coaches.

Nothing to be proud of

The Bears wrapped up their third straight non-winning season in typical fashion.

Kane's weathered growing pains well

As Patrick Kane prepares to play in Buffalo on Friday, he says he has grown from his experiences this summer.

Notre Dame's miracle worker?

New Irish coach Brian Kelly has his work cut out for him at Notre Dame.

No contest

Aaron Rodgers vs. Jay Cutler? It's not even close.

Time for a show of passion

The Bulls' loss to the Nets shows in painful detail what the team lacks.

Weis interested in Bears? Well, duh

Charlie Weis' interest in the Bears should come as no surprise to anyone.

Minor gains for Bears

Benching Gaines Adams was the Bears' biggest statement Sunday.

The song remains the same

Changes for Sunday's Bears' game, but it's not encouraging.

Dealing with disappointment

Bears' veterans Alex Brown and Lance Briggs are down, but never out.

The QB and the coordinator

Jay Cutler's woes aren't completely Ron Turner's fault.

No smoke, no fire in Urlacher's remarks

To interpret Brian Urlacher's latest remarks as controversial is reaching.

No surprise

Bears are who we thought they were; maybe worse

Reality check due for Weis, Notre Dame

Charlie Weis is the latest in a long line of coaches caught in Notre Dame's hubris.

In tragedy, there is triumph

Rodriguez family grieves for fallen boxer but believes organ donation will keep his spirit alive

No more excuses for Bears' defense

The Bears' defense came up short when the team needed it most.

The unvarnished truth about Cutler

Is Jay Cutler who we thought he was? Take a look at the unvarnished truth.

Cutler's night troubles raise questions

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Not in our house

Accusation of poisoning by Bears fans not typical treatment of visiting fans.

Proving it -- again

Even at 47, Chris Chelios couldn't imagine quitting hockey. And the Wolves are happy to have him.

Bears find new ways to falter

The Bears have found new ways this year to shoot themselves in the foot.

View from the middle

The Bears have dragged Jay Cutler down to their level.

Leap of faith

Bears coach Smith wants people to believe, but believe in what?

Midseason grade: Needs improvement

The Bears' midseason grades are in. There's a lot of work to do.

Bad news, Bears

Intensity and confidence aren't enough for the Bears to turn it around.

Believe ... in what?

After another disturbing loss, the Bears' buzzword rings hollow.

Ain't that a kicker

Who are the Bears' most consistent players? The former soccer players.

Will he ever get it?

Will the Bulls' enigmatic Tyrus Thomas ever get it?

Misguided praise

Praising the toughness of Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is misguided.

Hollow feeling

Trouncing one of the NFL's worst teams doesn't clear anything up for the Bears.

Sweet memories

Friends and family remember Sweetness on the 10th anniversary of his death.

Heart of the matter

Charles Tillman is fighting for technology that saved his daughter's life.

The party is just beginning

Could it be that the Bulls' Joakim Noah has matured into a leader?

Curtain needs to come down on Harris drama

It's time for the Bears and defensive tackle Tommie Harris to part ways.

Many questions; any answers?

After Bears' loss to Bengals, are there any answers for Lovie and Co.?

Defeating Boston College? Check

While Saturday's game may not have been one that pulls in the ratings, it was vitally important to the Irish.

Who's to blame?

Is Forte or the offensive line to blame for the Bears' ground game struggles?

It's been a long, winding road for Benson

Bengals running back Cedric Benson has come a long way since his Bears days.

Accentuating the positive

Bears coach Lovie Smith preferred to accentuate the positive on Monday.

A fine mess

The Bears squandered plenty of opportunities to beat the Falcons in a letdown that proved plenty revealing.

Pressure cookers

Bears' defense is making life tough on opposing quarterbacks.

Bears' Olsen still has room for growth

Bears' TE Greg Olsen expects big things from himself, but fans have yet to see that potential

Seriously fun

For 15 years, a group of north suburban fathers have bonded over their love of floor hockey.

Sharing the love

It used to be that the start of the Hawks' season passed without much fanfare. It's much different now.

Growing on them

The trade that brought Kyle Orton to Denver wasn't a big hit with Broncos fans, but Orton's results are bringing fans around.

No trouble here

The Bears say they could absorb a risky player like Braylon Edwards, which says a lot about how far they've come.

Giving the runaround

Bears running back Matt Forte broke off two good runs, but Chicago's ground game still needs improvement.

Every month is awareness month

Chicago Bears players Jay Cutler and Greg Olsen will sport pink cleats for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But why don't athletes use their platform on a more regular basis?

Bears WRs hitting their stride

Chicago Bears wide receivers were maligned in the preseason. But led by Devin Hester and Johnny Knox, they have proved they belong in the NFL.

Nothing to fear here

The debate surrounding Chicago's 2016 Olympics bid never got around to being about the Games. That's a shame.

Bucking tradition

Chicago Bears find themselves in the unusual position of looking to their quarterback to win games.

Standing firm

Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng has dealt with two seasons of injury and doubt, but now he's ready to prove his play is worth the big contract he signed.

Kicking it up a notch

Bears kicker Robbie Gould is the one sure thing on the offense.

Cool runnings

For a team that claims its offensive game is in fine shape all around, the Bears are awfully defensive about it.

On the level

Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith has assumed play-calling responsibilities, and the defense has appeared to adopt his level-headed personality.

Not great, but good enough

The Chicago Bears didn't bring their best game to Soldier Field, but it was good enough to defeat the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers.

Heard this story before

Hunter Hillenmeyer knows he can't replace Brian Urlacher, but he's familiar with the position.

Under the microscope

Jay Cutler was gracious on Wednesday, but his maturity will always be under scrutiny by Bears fans.

Worst-case scenario

Chicago Bears face a huge obstacle with season-ending injury to Brian Urlacher.

Finishing school

The Chicago Bears didn't have the closer mentality against the Green Bay Packers.

Play hard, practice harder

Michael Jordan didn't disappoint the paying customers, but he didn't need an audience to put on a show. His practices were also the stuff of legend.

Friends now rivals

The Chicago Bears-Green Bay Packers rivalry didn't need it, but the friendship between quarterbacks Jay Cutler and Aaron Rodgers adds another dimension.

Stoking the flames

With Chicago sports fans checking out of baseball season as September begins, it raises the stakes on a Chicago Bears team already bursting with expectations.

Bears-Browns exercise in boredom

What did Thursday's game between the Chicago Bears and Cleveland Browns prove? Not much.

Sharing the load

If the Bears want the kind of season for which they're hoping, the offense must help carry the load.

'Innocent bystander'

NBC announcers Cris Collinsworth and Al Michaels express sympathy for Kyle Orton, caught in the middle of the Jay Cutler-Denver Broncos storm.

Jump-starting tennis talent

The USTA is hoping a new Midwest Training Center will help foster new American tennis talent.

It doesn't count, but it matters

The Chicago Bears' preseason game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday doesn't count, but it does matter.

Check, check and check

Jay Cutler, Matt Forte and the Chicago Bears' offense used their second preseason game to answer questions raised by the first.

No easy answers

There are no easy answers to the Chicago Cubs' problems, including who should be the closer.

Reputation on thin ice

Chicago Blackhawks' Patrick Kane addresses controversy in a limited, sincere fashion.

Excitement wanes quickly

As Jay Cutler's unspectacular debut as Chicago Bears quarterback proved, preseason games are a lot less fun to watch than to discuss.

Mentoring his replacement

Desmond Clark took fellow Chicago Bears tight end Greg Olsen under his wing, and is now below Olsen on the depth chart.

Idonije's loss could be Bears' gain

Chicago Bears defensive end Israel Idonije lost 40 pounds in the offseason, which could help him bulk up his playing time.

Walking wounded

The Chicago Cubs are battling injury, ineffectiveness and a season that is running out of games.

One down, one to go

Devin Hester proved quickly that he is one of the greatest kick returners ever, and now he's out to prove he can be as good as a receiver.

Image conscious

Bears linebacker Lance Briggs has a good reputation on the field, and wants one off the field to match.

Cubs should stand by Castillo

Though Julio Castillo was found guilty by an Ohio judge, it's fair to wonder whether the punishment will fit the crime.

Teaching old Bears new tricks

Brian Urlacher heads a veteran group of Chicago Bears still willing to be taught new tricks.

Reverence in word, not in deed

The Chicago White Sox spoke like a team in awe of the New York Yankees but played more ferociously.

Dempster rocked in return

Tuesday night's game against the Astros was not what Lou Piniella had in mind when he talked about needing to rest the Cubs' bullpen.

Survival new Cubs' watchword

The Cubs can't seem to wake up without another player on the DL. Survival is the North Siders' new watchword.

Parque loses the crowd

Former White Sox lefty Jim Parque was currying sympathy for HGH use, then mentioned the money he wasn't making.

Rash throw could exact high price

Cubs call charge "unique"

A long way to go

Sixty years after the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, women's sports haven't come too far.

For young Hawks, loyalty matters

Kris Versteeg was in the middle of the restricted free-agent snafu, but said he never thought about leaving.

It's a matter of trust for McDonough

Fiasco with restricted free-agent contracts may have cost Tallon his job.

Sick children show superstars' humanity

While winning in baseball may seem like the only thing, for some star players, there are more important battles to be won at home.

Soriano's hard hitting can't break slump

Cubs fans want to know why their $136 million left fielder can't buy a hit. Alfonso Soriano is trying hard to find an answer for his recent slump.

Sox crowded out of trade talks

The White Sox have won eight of their past 10 games, but no one seems to notice or to care.

Bradley bringing out Lou's sour side

Although the younger Lou Piniella also showed flashes of temper in his playing days, there is no similarity between him and Milton Bradley.

Promotional consideration

In an excerpt from her new book "Sweet Lou," Melissa Isaacson recounts Lou Piniella's first spring training with the Cubs.

Book excerpt from 'Sweet Lou'

In an excerpt from her new book "Sweet Lou," Melissa Isaacson recounts Lou Piniella's first spring training with the Cubs.

Book excerpt from 'Sweet Lou'

In an excerpt from her new book "Sweet Lou," Melissa Isaacson details the origins of Lou Piniella's famed temper ... and the perils it has caused.

Sky clearing, only partly cloudy

Winning basketball isn't just good for the Chicago Sky's standings. It (hopefully) will be good for business.

"Theismann as in Heisman"

However you pronounce Joe Theismann's name, it still spelled quarterbacking excellence at Notre Dame.

Chicago baseball just might be fun

Wins will be hard to come by on both sides of town, but there's plenty to enjoy.

Santo phenomenon lands in Hall

Ron Santo landing in Cooperstown is the most important thing, not the timing.

Lou had a way with his Boss

Lou Piniella had a special relationship with the Yankees' Boss.

Chaos to champs can happen

Lou Piniella told the tale of the 1978 Yankees to try and fire up his team.

Wait will be long for same old Rose

The wait will be long to watch the same old Derrick Rose we're used to.

Bulls' big reveal is yet to come

The Bulls are better at the break, but are they good enough to win a title?

Rose ready to carry burden again

Derrick Rose says he has to get better, and that bodes well for the Bulls.

From domination to despair

Here are 10 burning questions facing the Bulls going into the offseason.

Collapse could have lasting impact

Weird things happen after losses, and it could get really weird with a 76ers' upset.

Actually, the Bulls can win

The Bulls can win without Derrick Rose. For real.

Do Bears have room for another boss?

Bill Polian reportedly has interest, but would he fit into the Bears' hierarchy?

Briggs, Urlacher again look to next year

Another Super Bowl run with Briggs and Urlacher will take a lot of work.

Burden finally too heavy for Bears' D

After carrying Bears post-Cutler, the D finally caved versus Seattle.

Forte trying to keep his balance

With three straight subpar games and a new QB, Forte is trying to find his place.

Surprise just way Emery liked it

Phil Emery bypassed bigger names at DE to select Shea McClellin at No. 19.

First draft: Mystery, science, theater

Phil Emery's first draft leading the Bears could be a revealing weekend.

Proud Wirtz gladly embraces trophy

Proud Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz gladly embraces Campbell Trophy.