The Bulls were out of town when the stories began before the book was available, which is why I stayed away. But when they came back, I walked into the locker room and right up to Jordan and asked if he had any issues, I was here and he could address them to me. He didn't say anything and that was that. I had good relationships with the rest of the players, and there never was an issue.
I felt it was like when Ball Four came out and I saw Willie Mays on TV condemning the book, though admitting he'd never read it. If you read "The Jordan Rules" now you'd wonder what the fuss was, which wouldn't have been good for sales. I liked Michael and still do. I think what he was most upset about was I think he liked me as well and felt what I had done was a betrayal. I think it's one reason he keeps his distance from the media now. But I also felt it was a sympathetic portrayal of Jordan and depicted him as more like us. Perhaps the public didn't want that, but I always believed him to be a likeable, decent man and never felt I wrote anything, which would hurt his career or family. And nothing in the book did.
I have to give him credit. I no longer could make small talk with him, but he always was professional and answered my questions as he would anyone else's no matter how he might have felt. It spoke to the true decency in the man. I never have talked with him about the book and he never asked me, and I doubt it ever will come up. I still feel good about the book and wouldn't change a thing. Jordan seems to have done well for himself as well. The Kobe Rules? Nah.
Grant Hill just said he wants to come back next year and not necessarily with the Magic. Where do you think he'll go? Do you think he'd be open to coming to Chicago and how would he fit in? He might be a calming veteran force coming in off the bench at the 2 and 3 spots. Add a post player to the mix and the Bulls would be looking pretty good next year to make a run in the East. --Nate, York, Pa.
I think he still wants a lot of playing time, but also a team that is close. His wife is from Canada and I can even see him going there before Chicago. I don't think he's ever wanted any part of the Jordan legacy or comparisons.
Detroit is old and fading, Cleveland is really only the LeBron show (let's face it, the supporting cast is far weaker than what Jordan had), Miami is done and the Nets are a mess. Aren't the Bulls the only team in the East that is really improving and becoming a contender to challenge the West? --P. Hopson, Newcastle, Australia
There'll be changes, and despite what the Spurs did to James, he is a force. And Wade will return and if he is healthy with Shaq and they add someone, they'll be OK. The Bulls will be in the mix, as they were this season, but not quite yet head of the class.
Can you name the last NBA championship team to start TWO small guards? The answer is probably the Philadelphia 76ers with Mo Cheeks and Anthony Toney. An argument could be made for the Pistons with Thomas and Dumars, but Dumars played much bigger than his 6-3. My point in this is that the Bulls, as much as anything else, need a big guard and probably one with more experience or more skills than Thabo. This is why a guy like Corey Brewer may make sense if they could move up a few slots to take him. I know he technically played three at Florida but he's a two in the NBA. --James Douglas, Toluca Lake, Calif.
Yes, they have needs and no they are not a championship team yet. Clearly Paxson has acknowledged that by saying post-season they need to be bigger in the backcourt. The talk around the NBA is Brewer doesn't get past Charlotte at No. 8 and it will be hard to trade up in this draft without giving up too much.
Would you trade for Randolph for some of Rodman's hair dye and a bottle of Gatorade? --Scott, Portland, Ore.
Now that seems fair value. I know Zach feels the love out there.
Could you see Tony Parker coming over to Chicago sometime in his career? His dad, Tony Parker Sr. once played at Loyola and his little brother, Pierre, plays at Loyola Chicago right now. His family lives here so it makes it likely he wouldn't mind playing for the Bulls. --Philip Khalily, Chicago
I suppose it's possible once Duncan retires, but by then the Bulls probably will be drafting one of Jordan's kids and we don't know how Tony would feel about that. You get the feeling with Tony and marrying Eva Longoria that he's not exactly the homebody type.
You are dead on in your assertion that Noah would be a great fit for the Bulls. Fans around the country seem to be missing the boat on him. Yes, he has an ugly shot but he also can bring the ball up the court and has great court vision. He also can drive to his left or right, allowing him to operate out the high post very well despite his shooting woes. Add in his obvious defensive and leadership traits and you have a great fit for the Bulls and what I feel would be a bargain at the No. 9 pick. --Jeff, Orlando, Fla.
A. I'm starting to have second thoughts. Sorry. I was looking at the measurements from the draft camp and he is short armed, about six inches shorter than Oden for about the same size. I think he'd make himself a pest with his size and activity and could step in, but I think there's concern of putting him, Wallace and Thomas in the game and being shut out for a quarter for the first time in NBA history.
It's reported that the stock of Colorado State's Jason Smith has risen to equal or surpass that of Noah, Hawes and Yi because of his workout with the Bulls. If he equals Yi, for example, who is projected to go fourth, and Noah, projected to go eighth, then the Bulls better make sure he does not make it past number nine. -- Walter E. Schroeder, Indianapolis
I haven't exactly heard that, though his stock seems to be rising quite a bit.
Will you please tell me (if you know) what the difference is between Jason Smith and Yi Jianlian? Both are 7-footers, skinny, athletic, with a good shooting touch, good hands, face-up game more than post-up, so why is Yi rated so highly and Smith rated nearer the mid- to late-first round? --Bradley, Northbrook, Ill.
Sounds more mysterious. I'm told Yi is a better shooter and more appealing prospect, but the history of the draft is guys get it wrong. Karl Malone was about the fifth power forward that season behind Oakley, Ed Pinckney and Keith Lee. Though I'm hearing Smith moving up. I like the sound of that, personally.
As I sit here watching Tiger Woods move up the leaderboard at the U.S. Open, I find it so remarkable the similarities he has with Michael Jordan when he was in his prime. Physically gifted, always focused, and without a doubt, intimidating to all of his competitors. I don't think Tiger has ever been in a field and not favored to win that tournament, kind of like Jordan and his Bulls during the title runs. Who do you think is/was more dominant in their prime? Tiger today or MJ back in the late '80s and '90s? --Nate E., Ames, Iowa
Ask Sam Smith
The Tribune's pro basketball reporter answers his final batch of reader questions
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