Fun is a start for these Bulls

Chicago sports has been a long, strange trip lately

February 2, 2010, 11:43 AM

By: Marc Silverman

The Grateful Dead said it first, and years later it was repeated by "Deadhead" Phil Jackson after a Chicago Bulls championship run.

"What a long, strange trip it's been"

As February opens in our optimistic sports town, that phrase rings true again. And in more ways than one.

Derrick Rose

Gary Dineen/Getty Images

Derrick Rose's selection to the All-Star team -- the Bulls' first since Michael Jordan -- is reason to celebrate.

Starting with the Bulls, this is the team that lost to New Jersey at home. Blew a 35-point lead to the Sacramento Kings, also at home. Let Jarrett Jack tie his shoe during a live play. Allowed LeBron James to dance all over the court. Then, to start the recently concluded seven-game road trip, the Bulls stumbled and bumbled to losses against the Los Angeles Clippers and NBDL Golden State Warriors. Nobody could have predicted a five-game win steak was in this team's future. A handful of wins, on the road, all against winning teams, an NBA first! Now it's time to give the Bulls a hand.

Five games doesn't make a season, but give credit where credit is due. It's a team that has overcome the flu bug, bouts with plantar faciitis, and even a haunted hotel. What makes the trip even more special is Derrick Rose's selection to the All-Star team. A 12-year drought is over. Add it all together, and for this diehard, but often critical Bulls fan, it's the best week this franchise has experienced since sweeping the Miami Heat in 2007.

Plenty of questions remain: Will the Bulls make a move before the deadline? Will a deal make them better immediately? Will it be a trade to strictly shed payroll for this summer's free-agent class? Don't try to make a prediction. Whenever the rumor mill starts to churn, the Bulls and John Paxson have a habit of going the opposite way of what "sources are reporting."

Who knows if this is a team that is even capable of winning as many playoff games as it did last season? I do know this though: Watching Bulls games are enjoyable again. Baby steps.

Speaking of enjoyable, the Chicago Blackhawks picked up 10 more points on their wacky trip. Have you ever heard of a road trip where game seven is played in California and game eight is played less than 48 hours later in North Carolina? Only in Gary Bettman's league.

We are all expecting something special from this Hawks team who continue to overcome their share of drama. In the offseason, the Hawks fired their general manager and their star player had a taxi cab confession. The regular season starts in Finland, pauses in Vancouver for the Olympics, and has a mini controversy also in Vancouver in the back of a limo. Yet all they do is win. I'm committed and can't wait to see what blooms this spring. Like the Bulls, anything is possible by the trade deadline. Unlike the Bulls, anything less than a championship would be disappointing.

Our final strange trip takes us to dinner between Mike Martz and Jay Cutler in Nashville. After 27 clueless days searching for coordinators, the Bears are just turning to Martz now? Yes, they missed with Perry Fewel on defense, but at least they knew they wanted him out of the gate. If Martz was the guy all along, why wasn't he brought in during the first few days of the search? If Martz was ruled out early, and remember he was recommending Ken Zampese a couple of weeks ago, why is he being hired now? Wonder if Martz and Cutler ordered the duck. In my opinion, Cutler will be a "dead duck" running Martz's system with this offensive line.

  • Attention NFL reporters: Please leave Brett Favre alone. Do not try to get the "retirement scoop." Attention Minnesota Vikings public relations: Do not hold a retirement press conference where the tears will flow.

    Here is what needs to happen. Let Favre go back to Mississippi. Let him wear his Wranglers and debate his decision for the next several months. And just like we have Groundhogs Day -- six weeks before the official start to spring -- we'll have a "Brett Favre Day" -- six weeks before the NFL season begins. Lets make it Aug. 2. Favre hibernates until then.

    Do not try to text him, Ed Werder. Do not call his agent, Peter King. Every reporter travels to Hattiesburg, Miss., on Aug. 2 and Favre emerges. John Madden can emcee the event. If Favre sees his shadow, he plays. I'm serious about this. I love watching Favre from September through January. I hate the circus that "Favre watch" creates from February through August. This is the main reason many dislike Favre in general. Can we get the NFL's competition committee to pass an "ignore Brett Favre rule" until Aug. 2?

  • Took longer than normal, but I finally have a college basketball buzz. Trying to figure out why I wasn't intrigued earlier? Has my consistent Blackhawks viewing taken my eyes off of hoops? Or is it because my Salukis are providing me with nothing but heartburn in another season of underachievement? Whatever the case, an Illinois last-second win vs. Indiana, President Obama watching Georgetown/Duke, civil war between Kansas and Kansas State, and Northwestern battling Michigan State brought college basketball back in the spotlight. March Madness is right around the corner, and I'm starting to get excited.

  • Am I missing something by not watching "Jersey Shore?" Everyone seems to be talking about this show. I have not seen a minute of it. I was an original "Real World" fan. Followed the first seasons in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco ... has there been a better reality show character than Puck? So is this "Jersey Shore" thing something I should get into or avoid at all costs? Looking forward to any tips you may have.

  • So will we be "Lost" no more? I can't wait for the final season of "Lost" and having things explained a little better. I still have a feeling that not everything will be wrapped into a perfect bow -- even after the final episode.

  • Thought my favorite movie of 2009 was going to be George Clooney's "Up in the Air." That was until I saw "The Hurt Locker" this past weekend. Intense from beginning to end. Maybe it's because I don't get out much, but didn't know anything about one of the movie's stars, Jeremy Renner. His was as good of a performance as I've seen in a while.

    Marc Silverman co-hosts "The Waddle & Silvy Show" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday on ESPN 1000.


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