Friday, February 27, 2009

A Sad Day in Chicago Basketball

When you are as dominant as the Michael Jordan era Bulls were, its natural that outside of Chicago you develop a lot of haters. Those that root for the underdog in anxious anticipation of David slaying Goliath. So not everyone will appreciate this post but the Chicago basketball community is deeply saddened today by the passing of two icons of the franchise.

The Bulls first ever coach and long-time announcer Johnny "Red" Kerr succumbed to cancer yesterday. Casual fans might remember him as the person that Michael Jordan "clapped" the chalk on for good luck before each and every Bulls game. Kerr was also a player and is depicted here in his 1957 Topps rookie card.

In addition to the anticipated and eventual passing of Red, Stormin' Norman, Norm Van Lier was found dead in his apartment yesterday at the age of 61. Heralded as one half of one of the best and most tenacious back courts in NBA history, Norm Van Lier teamed up with current Utah Jazz coach, Jerry Sloan, to provide one of the most smothering defensive tandems the league has ever produced. Interviews yesterday on Chicago sports radio featured Jerry West, Rick Barry and other players of that era and all to a man, repeated the same thing, they hated playing Chicago because of Van Lier and Sloan.

Norm Van Lier was a long-time studio analyst for the Bulls who can unabashedly be described as a "homer". However, he was the first to rip his team for playing without heart, passion, and energy when doing so was warranted.He is pictured here in his 1970-71 Topps RC card.

They were both loved and respected members of the Bulls family and will both be missed for their colorful insight into the game, their undying love of their team, their senses of humor and being all-around class acts.


Anonymous said...

very sad.

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