Chicago turns in Paris for the Bulls


Lamingo Tomlin was excited to see Eiffel’s famous wrought iron lattice round work offering its unique service to the world. There were the famous museums to see, such as the Louvre Castle which was built to fend off invaders and then became home before the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo resided there. And oh my gosh, there are so many sidewalk cafes that they hardly ever serve crepes after a while.


So the world comes to Paris for culture, art, cuisine, and life in the slow lane.

Not Tomlin. He comes for the bulls.


“It’s the first time we’ve had the opportunity as a couple (with Yolanda’s wife) to go to Paris,” Tomlin explained. “You both spend a lot of time working and you invest a lot of time in the kids, what do you do for yourself? Bonus; we’re here to see the bulls.”

Just a part of the world’s most engaged NBA fan base.

Tomlin may have joined hundreds of Bulls fans who traveled to Paris this week to watch the Bulls take on the Detroit Pistons in a regular season game Thursday.

No, most of them still don’t suffer from the ’90s championship team hangover. They represent for the NBA team that for many years has been perhaps the most famous and popular all over the world.

The late NBA commissioner David Stern delighted in discussing his role as the NBA’s Richard Nixon — certainly not political — in China’s opening and shaming of NBA games. When he first went in, Stern said, officials asked him about the only NBA team they knew, the Red Bulls.

The Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, and, most recently, the Golden State Warriors, may be the most popular teams homegrown. But internationally nobody really competes with the bulls. Much of that is thanks to Michel Jordan’s legacy and the most dominant decade in the modern NBA. But even if that ended more than 20 years ago, the Bulls still have a lot of blood left.

During every Bulls road game, television cameras will focus on fans in Bulls jerseys strewn around the arena. They talk about well-traveled fans of college football teams; In Europe they are football fanatics. Bulls fans do a good job of showing up in droves wherever the Bulls play, even in France.

When the United flight I was on landed in Paris earlier this week, the flight attendant went through the usual series of announcements and added that there was an event this week, Bulls and Pistons. Closed with “Go Bulls”. Probably more than twenty riders started cheering.

Christian Tabares is another Northwest Side native who played basketball at Van Steuben High School and recently earned his certification to teach K-12. His birthday is coming up, so he, his fiancee, and a few friends figure out that the perfect way to celebrate is with Paris and the Bull.

“I’ve never been to France before, but we come to see the Bulls play,” said Tabaris. Ben was my favourite, I wish they kept it for Derek (Rose).

“I participated in a match in Memphis last year and Miami with my friend Manaf Mousa, who is also a difficult person and on this journey,” Tabaris said. “He was building. When he found out he wanted to join. There are six of us. My family is from Colombia, so they don’t understand going to Paris to watch a basketball game. My team is the Bulls, and then that’s just guys like Dee Rose, Damian Lillard, Mexico City going to That game. Love the Bulls.”


So did Akiva Babel, who decided with her husband that this would be a way to spend some dreary January days, Paris and Taurus not necessarily in that order. She’s from the Albany Park neighborhood and runs an Asian restaurant in town.

“I played basketball in high school,” Babel said. “My uncle always watched the Bulls and I got addicted to it. I became a Scottie Pippen fan. All the guys wanted 23 when the jerseys were distributed for our team. So I chose 33. We decided at the last minute to go, and you can’t lose; Paris and the Bulls, though The Bulls were definitely the first thought.”

Every time I go to UCLA, every time they come out of the tunnel, I feel like I’m seeing them for the first time.

Lamingo Tomlin, Bulls season ticket holder

Tomlin is from Gary and works in Gary’s health district. He’s a Bulls season ticket holder who grew up with his grandmother, Mary Parks, where he fell in love with a lot of Bulls youth he loved a lot, like Orlando Woolridge, Reggie Theus, and pre-Jordan Bulls in the early ’80s.

“I saw Michael in my first game on the field in Chicago and I still have the program for the game,” he said. “I just love the Bulls. We used to go to the games every year, but we decided to light it up and go for more.”

“Someone asked me if it gets boring going to a lot of games[with season tickets],” said Tomlin. “I tell them every game is like the first time. Every time I go to UCLA, every time they come out of the tunnel, it feels like I’m seeing them for the first time.”

“The excitement of UCLA is a lot different than just watching it on TV,” said Tomlin. “It’s a great time.”

Chicago also turns in Paris for the Bulls.

The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the Chicago Bulls. All opinions expressed by Sam Smith are solely his own and do not reflect those of the Chicago Bulls, Basketball Operations Team, parent company, partners or sponsors. His sources are unknown to the Bulls and he has no special access to information other than the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA-certified member in the media.

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