Dan Murphy | Thursday, March 5, 2009
This past weekend I had the pleasure of spending an evening with a lovely young lady at a Chicago Bulls extravaganza. I don’t want to call it a game, because that was far and away the least interesting part.
The Bulls won, beating the red hot Denver Nuggets. The score (116-99) was relevant for one reason – Chicago broke the century mark which meant that each fan in attendance won a free Big Mac.
With the shot clock running low and a hand in his face Chicago’s Tyrus Thomas nailed a clutch jumper late in the fourth quarter. The shot gave the Bulls a two-point lead and all the momentum they would need to pull away.
Thomas’s shot was celebrated with smattered applause and a few screams from circular, furry men in the upper deck. A few seconds later the United Center erupted. Fans jumped to their feet and pulled at their hair in excited anticipation. I followed their eyes towards the rafters to see what was going on. It was T-shirts.
During the TV timeout, free shirts attached to parachutes cascaded down from the ceiling. They might as well have been coming from heaven. Thousands of fans groped hopelessly at the sky like newborn birds looking for a worm. When they brought the T-shirt cannon out the growing fervor became full blown ecstasy. People love free stuff.
By this time in the extravaganza, I shouldn’t have been shocked; the biggest cheers all night were coming during TV timeouts. And I have to admit, the sideshow acts were more deserving.
Benny the Bull and his troops paraded act after act onto the parquet. It was the first time I’d ever seen fans wait until the game started up to hit up the snack bar.
Leading the way were the half-cheerleader, half-strip-tease squad known as the Luvabulls. Even during the game they were hard to keep your eyes off of. The girls went through several different dances and four costume changes during the four quarters.
Their moves were second to one, the Swinging Seniors – the only dance crew that you need an AARP membership to join. The seniors didn’t shy away from any booty-bumping, air-humping modern moves during their two minute medley of hardcore rap songs. If you don’t believe me, I’m sure it’s on YouTube.
Other highlights included the Stampede drumline, the trampoline dunk team and a half-time karaoke contest. The guy who lost got booed more than Carmelo Anthony.
The true star of the show, however, was the world’s smallest cowboy. The well-trained monkey complete with his own miniature bandana rode proudly around the arena on the back of an Irish setter steed. He finished at halfcourt by giving a fist-pump while his dog went up on his hind legs.
The cowboy was in town to promote Saturday night’s rodeo at the United Center. Rumor has it Kirk Heinrich volunteered to wear face paint and an empty barrel so he could get some attention.