Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Chi Town Does Work: The Legacy of the 90s Bulls & the Zen of Cool Competition

Its been a minute since I posted something, and I apologize for that. While I was taking my comprehensive exams for CSS at Wesleyan I looked to Derrick Rose for inspiration. Then, last night while I was watching the Lakers vs. Nuggets game, I got into an argument with my friend Alicia about the extent to which Phil Jackson's coaching style has changed in L.A. First, let me make it clear that I believe that while L.A. has a unique relaxed vibe, Chicago's is cool in an entirely different animal. Chi town cool is a Zen style applied to the art of competition. It's cold sweat pouring off of Scotty Pippen at the free throw line. It's Ben Gordon draining a three in Paul Pierce's face to send game five in to double OT. It's the Dark Night's vigilance in the rain atop the Prudential Building. It's Barack Obama walking into Iowa unknown and away from November the leader of the free world. It's Anthony Braxton's Jazz in the house of the triangle. It's Carl Sanburg's account of the stockyards in the City of Big Shoulders. It's Studs Terkel's examination of race. It's what this country's leadership has missed for the last eight years. It's back it's badass as ever.

"I'm calm tellin ya'll how I did it like Derrick Rose, it's no sweat"

The first line of the Pennies (Updated Roster Remix) off the Cool Kids x Don Cannon mixtape, Gone Fishing, perfectly describes the supreme zen of the Chi Town State of Mind which Rose brings to each and every competition. I contend that this reflects the philosophy of team play articulated by Jackson in Sacred Hoops. Without any question, Michael Jordan was a badass motherfucker who wanted the ball more than anyone ever has and maybe ever will. He was the greatest. But he did not necessarily champion Jackson's style despite leading his team. In many ways it is Derrick, who grew up watching the Jordan era bulls, who represents the single purest manifestation of this style of hard nosed yet unselfish play to ever enter the game. The above Adidas video just reminded me yet again why our city should be so proud of its native son. This year we took the White House, soon we will take back the league.

- Stax
The Cool Kids x Don Cannon - Gone Fishin
(Big shout to the Cool Kids for their awesome
performance at Wesleyan's Spring Fling last year)


WordSmith said...

I don't know if Phil's style has really changed since he went to L.A. I think he may have adapted to a different team, a different set of players, and a different dynamic, but he still runs mainly variations of the triangle offense, to which I credit much of his teams' cool and methodical approach to basketball. Kobe's teams are a little less prone to stick to the triangle than Jordan's Bulls, but it's still there.

That said, there is no doubt that the energy in Chicago during the years of the dynasty was totally different than the energy in L.A. Chicago is always hungry for success, and that cool with which they go about attaining it is pretty awe-inspiring. I don't know if I'd argue that Derrick Rose achieved that better than Jordan though. Jordan definitely demanded the ball, but he was also famous for his methodical passing against Detroit in the Bulls' first trip to finals. If you look at a tape of Jordan during the infamous "flu" game in the 97 playoffs, or his final shot in 98 Finals, I can't really think of someone more cool and collected while still remaining explosive. Rose has a little ways to go before he attains that status in my mind. Dope write-up though...I gotta download that Cool Kids tape.

grr_rapture said...
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Stacks Rothstein said...

Don't get me wrong, I was arguing that Phil's style has primarily stayed the same. Alicia said he changed on the left coast. I also agree that Jordan was a great passer and made everyone that played with him better. That said, the comment was really about the approach one takes to leadership. Derrick has won us over with his humble attitude and quiet presence on the court. I think in the coming years he will become more vocal and a better leader. I guess the question I was really trying to hit on is, when you look to your leadership on the floor for example and you stare into their eyes do you see fire or ice behind them?

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