I had the opportunity to go to the Chicago Bulls scrimmage and autograph session last weekend. I'll give you my $.02...

Autograph sessions have been known to cause the average person to suddenly become obsessed with even the most marginal of NBA players. I should know...we can smell our own. Beforehand, I ran to the nearest Wal-Mart and bought two cheesy Chicago Bulls miniballs, secretly hoping Malik Allen's unexpected Hall-0f-Fame career will pay for my vacation home in Cozumel. And I actually considered digging out my copy of Xbox NBA 2k5 (the one with Ben Wallace on the cover), because a copy of an outdated game on an outdated system will be worth MILLIONS if it's signed, right?

What I didn't expect is to get completely shut out at the autograph line. We arrived early and stood outdoors 45 minutes only to find out that the first ~1,500 people would get any autograph at all; each player was only scheduled to sign 300 autographs. The remaining 8,000 are welcome to stand around and bitch.

But it wasn't a complete loss. We roamed around and got a few pics of the players, most of whom had their heads down and were cranking out their scribbles sweatshop-style. Ben Wallace was pratically mobbed and we were shooed away before we could get a good picture. PJ Brown was chatting with everyone and taking pictures with kids. I'm thinking these people were mistaking him for Antonio Davis, but that's a guess.

Then we had the priviledge to watch a 20-minute inter-squad scrimmage! (
We weren't the only basketbloggers in attendance) This essentially gave the starters a chance to publically humiliate a team of rookies and NBDL callups. And the starters didn't disappoint, opening up a 20-point lead in the first 5 minutes, culminated with Ben Gordon posterizing Tyrus Thomas in transition.

Afterwards, players and fans teamed up for a 3-point shootout. Chris Duhon and some kid won the 3-point shootout, Kirk Hinrich totally choked and was outscored by the kid, who was allowed to take 15-footers for some reason.

But that's not the good part! Afterwards the rookies were subjected to
a grueling round of "Simon Says". And no, I don't mean a modified game of "horse", and I don't mean that crappy Dennis Rodman movie. I mean "Simon Says" of the 3rd grade, pat your head and rub your stomach variety. I originally thought this was some frivilous entertainment for the kids in attendance, but when the host is a professional Simon Says-ologist, obviously the losers will fall out of the regular season rotation, or be waived. Tyrus Thomas luckily held on to win, but was in trouble when "Simon Says score in the low post" came up. But don't just take my word for it.
Anonymous Anonymous said...
wow. the fact that that's an actual job. just wow.
bulls shall have a good season tho, maybe not championship contenders yet w/o post-driven offense

Blogger Unknown said...
Seriously now. Where is the NBA headed to? People were actually cheering Thomas when he won the "Simon Says" game. All I could say is wow!

And everybody's asking why the players and the league are getting 'distant' with the fans. The fact that you have a 'fan quota' doesn't help solving that problem.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
@SB, JP: I thought the Simon Says was awesome! How many times do you get to actually witness the rookie hazing rituals? If you said more than once a lifetime, who are you? And how do I get in on that?

@JP: There were 8,000 people there... what do you think the quota should be set at? Do you want Kirk, Ben, Luol, and Ben to start the season with injuries due to the repetitive stress of signing 7,000 mini-balls, hats, t-shirts, and 1,000 sets of boobs?

Blogger Will said...
What do you mean Simon Says is a crappy movie? I laughed my ass off watching that, it even had Dane Cook.