Bleacher Nation Bulls - The Bulls still went on to finish with the victory in true clutch fashion. And, according to Smith, that is exactly what Zach LaVine said the team would do before the game even tipped-off.
“Zach LaVine did come up to me before the game: “I know you want us to lose tonight, but it ain’t happening.”
And then he went out on the court and showed me why. Zach LaVine is a star. DeMar DeRozan is a star. Billy Donovan is a hell of a coach. They got a damn good team in Chicago,” Smith said.
I have mountains of respect for Stephen A. Smith simply because he's rich as fuck from talking sports. So let me get that out of the way to start. He's so much richer than nearly everyone reading this and he got there just by being an asshole as I define the word. Opinionated animated and sometimes uninformed, but never the lame duck. For all the shit you can give Stephen A. Smith, he's been at the forefront of this kinda shit for what seems like my entire adult life. As such I will not be serving your run-of-the-mill This Guy Fucking Blows sentiment for lunch today. If anything, his existence and (more importantly) success should be a simple reminder that America is the greatest country in the world where anyone can accomplish anything.
Even so, I still derive immense pleasure from watching him be soooooo wrong about the Bulls. This isn't just a little pregame dust up concerning the best player from the league's biggest story. This rivalry has been in the making for months going back to Stephen A. Smith trashing the DeRozan signing because it wouldn't work with LaVine.
So many Bulls fans in Chicago want to see Stephen A. Smith eat shit. Credit where it's due - he has a gift and knack for getting attention. But in this case it's not so much about Getting Attention as it is Waking Up A Disturbed Fanbase And Starting A Fight. No need to throw such heavy haymakers about the Bulls when we've sucked for about a decade. The disrespect at AK's attempt to fortify the perimeter and share clutch shots could not be simply overlooked. Stephen A. Smith marked his territory with the Bulls.
That's why I love this small yet powerful Fuck You from Zach LaVine. It's not your textbook "We're gonna win" guarantee but it's not far from that truth either. It's the easy-going swagger we've come to love and embrace as we've watched him mature into a tier-1 NBA player over the years. Easy to forget now but LaVine started at the absolute rock bottom of a historically embarrassing NBA rebuild. Maybe one of the worst of this century. And now years later he's brought the Bulls so far back that we're doing pregame courtside grudge matches at The Garden.
This is how it should always be with the Bulls. Feels so good to be back.
More next week on Red Line I'm sure.