When it comes to overall fan popularity in the city of Chicago, the Bulls fall second to the Bears and Hawks – and depending on the season, probably the Cubs too. Doesn’t seem fair for a team that boasted the best regular and post season record last year and is the most talented and consistent of all Chicago sports teams. But be as it may, you still cannot claim true Chicago sports fan status without knowing the key players on this amazing team. As the Bulls continue to impress and dominate this season, take a minute to learn the key guys below. Only 5 players are on the court at one time in basketball. The guys on our list in RED are primarily the starters, the guys in BLUE are part of the bench – meaning relievers. You often hear people talk about the Bulls “deep bench” – which basically means they have great 2nd and 3rd string guys that can replace the starters throughout the game and can still be dependable to win.
411: If there is one player you remember from this entire roster, make sure it’s Derrick Rose. Rose is a franchise player, and essentially the face of the Bulls organization. Since Rose was selected as the #1 player in the 2008 NBA Draft by the Bulls, things have been improving dramatically each year for the team. Now in his 4th year with the Bulls, Rose is always a leader each game in points, assists and leadership. Rose was named NBA MVP last season, the youngest player ever honored with the prestigious award. Rose is an unselfish player, meaning he doesn’t hog the ball and assists other players in big plays. He is also very humble, soft-spoken and quick to take the blame for losses, which is very uncharacteristic of celebrity athletes, let alone the youngest MVP in NBA history. A Chicago native, Rose is from Englewood and works with numerous charities to help his troubled community.
Luol Deng: Team #: 9 Position: Forward Age: 26
411: Luol pronounced (LEW-AL) Deng is a vet player for the Bulls, now in his 7th year, and he just keeps getting better. Originally from the country of Sudan, Deng is a powerhouse on the court, and next to Rose, is the second best guy on the team. Deng is known as a “lane-runner” meaning he can charge the basket easily with the ball and get past defenders.
He’s also an excellent shot-blocker, using his 6’9” frame to stop opponents’ shots from going into the basket. Deng was drafted out of the college basketball institution, Duke University. In February of 2012, Deng was selected by fans to play in the NBA All-Star Game, solidifying his popularity with fans.
Carlos Boozer: Team #: 5 Position: Forward Age: 30
411: Boozer was acquired by the Bulls from the Utah Jazz prior to the start of the 2010 season for a whopping $80 million over 5-years. But before Boozer even took the court as a Bull, he suspiciously broke his hand as he allegedly fell over his gym bag before the season even began, missing the start of the season.
Many fans cried “BS” on Boozer’s story and later in the season as he failed to prove his worth and ridiculous salary, putting up mediocre numbers in his first season with Chicago. However, this season has been a lot better for Boozer – he’s now the third highest scorer and leads the team in rebounds.
Jokaim Noah: (JO-A-KIM) Team #: 13 Position: Center Age: 26
411: Noah is one of the most eccentric players on the team with his unique style on and off the court, his crazy mop of curls, and his sharp tongue.
At 6’ 11” Noah is fun to watch with his unique mannerisms and amazing energy. As the son of a Swedish beauty queen (not kidding), and a French professional tennis player as a father, Noah was raised in France until he was a teen when he moved to NYC.
Noah was a staple in college hoops from 2004-07 at Florida where he led his team to back-to-back national championships (much to the dismay of my Buckeyes). Noah was drafted by the Bulls in 2007 where he has remained since. A fan fave, Noah was injured last season with a busted hand, but is healthy this year and continues to be a key contributor in the Bulls line up and is one of the best rebounders in the game.
Kyle Korver: Team #:26 Position: Shooting Guard Age: 26
411: Kyle Korver is not a starter for the Bulls, but he is one of the best 3-point shooters they have and is usually put into the game when the Bulls need points quickly. His nickname is “hot sauce”. Korver is also, hands down, the hottest Bull on the team. He looks very similar to Ashton Kutcher, and ironically, is also from Iowa.
Korver’s hair always looks perfectly tousled and with his chiseled face and bod, you would think this guy walked the runway and not the hardwood. But do not write off this guy as a pretty boy in the NBA, Korver is a very humble clutch player who donates a lot of his personal time to charitable work. Korver married singer/yoga instructor, Juliet Richardson in August of 2010.
Richard “Rip” Hamilton: Team #: 22 Position: Shooting guard/forward Age: 33
411: Rip Hamilton was acquired by the Bulls as a free agent prior to the start of the delayed 2011 season due to the NBA Lockout. Hamilton’s trademark look is the clear plastic mask that he must wear due to breaking his nose so many times while playing.
Hamilton played for the Detroit Pistons prior to the Bulls where he was part of the 2004 Championship team.
Omer Asik: (OH-MAR) Team #: 3 Position: Center Age: 25 Bench
411: “The Turk” and/or “Tukish Delight” – Omar Asik is, you guessed it, Turkish.
One of the best professional basketball players to come out of Turkey, Asik was traded from Portland to the Bulls in the 2010-11 season. This guy is huge – at 7 ft, he is the tallest Bull and does an amazing job of rebounding and defending under the basket. Asik will almost always replace Jokaim Noah in games – the starting center.
COACH Tom Thibodeau: (TIB-AH-DOUGH)
411: You absolutely need to know who Coach Thibodeau or “Thibs” is because of the impact he’s had on the Bulls since his arrival in 2010. Thibodeau came from the Boston Celtics, where he was the Defensive Coordinator.
While Thibs was in Boston, the Celtics won an NBA Championship in 2008 and had successful consecutive seasons. Thibodeau is a defensive guru and has been the most successful Bulls coach since Phil Jackson left in 1998 with Michael Jordan. Since Jackson’s departure, there was a string of 8 unsuccessful Bulls coaches before Thibodeau. With his winning record, discipline and respect from players, management and the league, Thibodeau will be in Chicago for a long time, at least until a bigger team steals him away, which only leaves Miami or LA.