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Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Derrick Rose's family to see Oprah

By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com

DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose said his family is headed to the United Center on Tuesday night, but it's not to see anything basketball related.

Oprah Winfrey is taping some of her final shows during the off days of the Eastern Conference finals, and she's expected to fill the UC.

"That's Oprah, man," Rose said with a smile after practice Tuesday. "She can do whatever she wants in this city.

"My mom [Brenda Rose] and family is going to it ... so everybody's hoping for gifts."

Rose wasn't the only star associated with the Bulls who was excited to see Oprah in town.

Michael Jordan surprised Oprah at her farewell show Tuesday night, as one of many celebrities who showed up to support the talk show host.

Actor Will Smith introduced Jordan, describing the United Center as the "house that Michael Jordan built."

Jordan came on stage and hugged Winfrey to loud cheers. Jordan led the Bulls to six NBA championships during the 1990s.

The Bulls and Miami Heat will play Game 2 on Wednesday night in the United Center. There was some speculation that Winfrey's taping precluded the East finals from starting on Tuesday. But an NBA spokesman said the television show had nothing to do with the scheduling, and that the Eastern finals were always scheduled to start on Wednesday. But when the Heat and Bulls finished their semifinal series early, the conference finals started on Sunday, which was originally the plan.

Miami's Dwyane Wade, like Rose, is a Chicago native, and acknowledged the magnitude of the event.

"It's a huge event for Chicago, for Oprah, obviously," Wade said. "We'll take a back seat to Oprah any day. Good luck to her. Congratulations."

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau also weighed in on sharing the arena.

"We love Oprah," he said. "I've got to say that or my mom would kill me."

Nick Friedell covers the Bulls for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.