Chicago Bulls Lockout Tales
How the Bulls spent their 149-day vacation.
by Quinn Peterson / @QwinFNP
One-hundred and forty-nine days is a long of time. Especially for people without jobs. Of course, we all saw what Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Chris Paul and a few others were up to, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Many used the opportunity to travel, get healthy and enjoy their families, which they likely would not have been able to do otherwise.
For others, like Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, it was simply business as usual. At the Chicago Bulls’ Media Day on Sunday, I got a chance to catch up with a handful of players and discuss just that…
SLAM: What did you do during the lockout? Where were you, how did you spend your time off?
Joakim Noah: During the lockout, you know, we had a long time off, so I traveled a lot, spent a little time in Hawaii, saw my family, went to the Grand Canyon, went to an Indian Reservation, which was beautiful. Learning about the natives, the people who were here before us. Learning about the different cultures. I rented a car and I went to the Grand Canyon. I went to the other side of the Canyon, and there’s all reservations. I learned from two different tribes: the Navajos and the Hopis. It was a great experience that put a lot of things in perspective for me.
Carlos Boozer: Obviously we had a little bit of a longer time off than most offseasons, so I was able to get healthy first, I got a chance to enjoy my family a little bit, hang out with my kids, travel and get in the gym and work on my game.
I’ve lived in Miami for eight years, so we’ve got a regular crew. Carlos Arroyo lives in Miami. Raja Bell. Most of the Heat guys, Juwan Howard was there every day. DWade, Chris Bosh and LeBron were down there. It’s basically the Miami crew. We all live there so we all got a chance to work out.
Luol Deng: I played with the British national team in the Euro Championship, had time to spend time with family, went back to Africa and spent a lot of time there with friends and family. I was in Kenya and I was in Sudan. I’ve been to both before and I enjoyed it.
[Playing with the national team] definitely helped me a lot. I love playing, so whether I’m playing with the national team, playing pickup, I always enjoy it. With the lockout being as long as it was, it worked out great.
Kyle Korver: I spent my time working out, and I got married, did a little bit of travel, but a lot of getting ready for the season. We weren’t sure if it was gonna happen, you know, so we worked out for a long time, just in case it was going to.
Jimmy Butler: I was a little bit of everywhere. I found myself in L.A.., at Marquette, in Madison, IMG down in Florida doing a lot of working out with a lot of different people. But most of all, I spent a lot of time with my family.
Tom Thibodeu: Basically, just watching film, working on the playbook, visiting with coaches, just getting ready for the season.
SLAM: How was the lockout for you, as a vet? Frustrating, a blessing in disguise, etc.?
KK: Getting married this summer, it gave us a little time to get used to that and get settled in. That part was really great, actually. We’re on edge like everyone else. They’re saying they’re close, then it blows up, then they’re close again, then they dissemble the union. We never knew exactly what was going on so that was frustrating, for sure.
CB: It was a blessing in disguise with the way it worked out, because we’re able to get back and still get in almost 80 percent of the season. But, the other part of it is that there was a point in time where we didn’t even know if we were gonna have a season, so that was a little scary for everybody. You never wanna miss a whole year, especially when you’re in your prime and your team is one of the best in the league.
Especially for the young guys [it's tough]—I was talking to Kyrie (Irving) about it, because we were working out down at the University of Miami this summer. He just got drafted number one, and wanted to go out there and show his stuff, so he was wondering if he was even gonna get a chance to rock his jersey this year. But the way it worked out, it ended up being a blessing, because we all got a chance have a little bit more free time, with family, friends, a change to work on our games, on some new things. For guys like myself, we were able to get healthy, too.