(Welcome to the first in a series of previews for the 2020-21 NBA Season. Over the Next week or so, we will have previews for every team. “But Corbin,” you say, “The season will have started by then and the season will have already mutated into something else!” To which I say: I wouldn’t worry about it too much.)

ONE: Yes. Your owner is a cheapskate weirdo and he stuck by two of the worst front office guys in the universe like decades after they should have been kicked out into the Chicago cold. Excellence in the NBA is a matter of smart, hard work and the Bulls have mostly been content to cash in year after year. Sorry, man.

TWO: This summer, like you, I watched The Last Dance, a documentary about an alien from a planet where the only honor comes from victory. It was an overwhelming experience, taking in Jordan’s maddeningly acidic competitive streak, the scope and depth of the Bulls’ domination over the league, the scattered corpses of their many enemies, the sheer massiveness of Jordan’s superhumanity and fame. 

Since Jordan left, the Bulls have either sucked or been vaguely tragic. Even during their brief run at title contention as the anti-Heatles, Tom Thibodeau and the team’s medical staff conspired to physically destroy their All-Stars’ bodies. There is a real possibility that this is not the fault of any player, coach, or organization. Reinsdorf might be a cheapskate weirdo who threw a dead underling under the bus to keep himself out of the official narrative of his team’s collapse, but plenty of teams have succeeded with weird and bad owners. I mean, the MAGIC made the finals with DWIGHT HOWARD. There must be some more powerful force at work here. 

That force? 

Jordan himself.

Matter can’t be created or destroyed, only transmuted, drained and reappropriated. Jordan could not be that frighteningly dominant, a beautiful angel and a hideous demon man in one body, with only the maximum amount of energy accessible to a single man. Jordan took all the energy out of the Bulls and used it to further the pursuit of his own wealth and glory, an exchange that worked out fabulously for the organization for a while. But when he left the building it was all gone forever, residing forever in the body and the spirit of his airiness, only to occasionally leak out into the soul of noble golf hustlers across this beautiful big blue marble we call Earth. All of the Bulls attempts to regain that energy seem utterly pathetic. Please observe:

It’s just so fucking cool. Laser show shit, that wild ass announcer bringing unbelievable grind, a whole arena full of people really butting their dicks into honoring Luc Longley, the way people go fucking apeshit when he says FROM NORTH CAROLINA, the just pure heat coming off Jordan, draped in Alan Parsons Project like Arthur receiving Excalibur… It’s perfect fucking stuff man. Even Phil Jackson looks cool as shit, like a 45 year old Wizard inhaling the Smoke of Power. 

After Jordan left, the Bulls kept the song. But even in good times, it just felt… sad. 

Look man… some of these guys are great. Noah, in particular, fucking ripped and rolled. But there’s just no way you’re getting the same rush out of fucking Derrick Rose that you do from Jordan. They added drumline ass drums to the APP original class, but it’s just sad. There’s also this: 

The camera looking through the banners and then observing the empty space trailing after, as if to convince you that maybe this basket of injured guys, Jimmy B., and the Boozeman are going to ADD ANOTHER BANNER that will mean AS MUCH OR MORE THAN THE ONES WON BY THE NBA’S GREATEST PLAYER LEADING THE NBA’S GREATEST TEAMS. Acting like the Bulls will capture the fucking magic this year, we swear!

Even if they won the title at this point, the banner would end up looking freakish. They would still be imprisoned by Jordan, even more than the rest of the sport. It’s even sadder with their current roster, yes:

ZAAAAAACH LEVINE! C’mon man. Jordan’s ghost just keeps feeding. They need to run from that era if they want to find a new battery, instead of making pathetic attempts to recapture Jordan, who will always take his revenge, so long as you’re not goading him into betting too much on a blackjack hand.

THREE: Possible alternate source for the team’s pathetic showings, year after year. You might recall me mentioning Jerry Reinsdorf doing everything in his power to shift blame for the Jordan team’s early demise and other shitty management moves (mostly regarding Pippen) onto Jerry Krause, who was a terribly awkward man and is also dead. He doesn’t deserve most of the shit he gets, Reinsdorf does. If there is any justice in the afterlife Krause is haunting the team with ghost crumbs all over his ghost shirt. 

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