Tuesday, December 06, 2011

The Chicago Sports Conundrum

It is an interesting time in Chicago Sports right now. 

The Blackhawks have one of the best players in hockey in center Jonathan Toews (pronounced tay-ves and not toes) playing absolutely out of his mind. He has 12 goals and 11 assists in the last 13 games. The Bears were off to a great start but are now spiraling down without quarterback Jay Cutler. There are stories of over-the-hill quarterbacks Brett Favre and Donovan McNabb both being interested in lending a hand. Then there are the stories of the Cubs pursuing Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder. As well as the story that Ron Santo finally, finally made the Hall of Fame.

But the story that has really grabbed my attention is that the Bulls might be able to acquire Dwight Howard via trade.*

In terms of full disclosure, I must admit that just Sunday I was telling people that I was indifferent about the return of the NBA. I have become a Derrick Rose fan but I have not really followed the Bulls as much as I had during the "Golden Years." But the thought of Derrick Rose and Dwight Howard on the same team is really exciting. It might be enough to overcome the Big Three in Miami.

But what really grabbed my attention about Howard to the Bulls story is what I heard on sports talk radio. Now for those unfamiliar with sports radio in Chicago is that it is often filled with meatball callers. And they come out of the woodwork whenever trade talk comes up. Far too often the calls go something like this:

Caller: "Uh yeah, I think 'dat the Bullss should trade Moe, Larry and Curly to da Magic for Dwight Howard."
Host: "Those are the three worst players in Bulls history. Why would the Magic want to trade a superstar for them?"
Caller: "Uh well, 'cuz dose tree are underrated. Dey work hard and bring lots of intangabuls and chemistry."

Or like this:

Caller: "I just have to say that I don't think that the Bulls should include Joakim Noah in the trade because he pretty good young player and works hard."
Host: "Yes but you are going to have to trade some very good players in order to get a superstar like Howard."
Caller: "But having a guy that is a hard worker like Noah is important."

It was a call similar to the second example that got me thinking. Joakim Noah has been a good player for the Bulls. He does work hard and can be a real irritant for the other team. But he is no Dwight Howard. There seems to be this mentality that Chicagoans value hard workers over talented players. It comes from the mentality of "playing Bear football." And that means that we play rough defense, run the ball and are pretty much a terrible football team. 

Don't get me wrong. Hard workers should be lauded. We should all be hard workers but there comes a point when we need to value true talent over gritty, try hard player. Jeremy Roenick was a good hockey player that was known for his grit. Wayne Gretzky was a very talented player who was not known for his grit. Following the Blackhawks I really loved Jeremy Roenick but I would have traded him any day of the week for Gretzky.

So if I were the Bulls GM right now I would offer Joakim Noah and what ever other players not named Derrick Rose the Magic wanted to get Dwight Howard.

*Yes I know that I didn't include any news about the White Sox. No matter what they do it doesn't really capture my attention.

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