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NBA Rising Stars Game — US vs World (8 pm, TNT)
Northwestern at #13 Penn State (11 am, BTN)
#22 Illinois at Rutgers (3:30 pm, BTN)
DePaul at #23 Creighton (6:30, FS1)
NBA All-Star Saturday night (7 pm, TNT)
Blackhawks at Flames (9, NBCSCH)
NBA All-Star Game - Team LeBron vs Team Giannis (7 pm, TNT)
Blackhawks at Jets (7:30, NBCSCH)
No bull, this weekend is a bit of a downer
NBA All-Star Weekend is here and it feels like things are finally heating up.
Stars have already been doing events all over the area from D-Rose’s book signing on Thursday to Anthony Davis and Dwyane Wade making appearances at their old high schools. As the PR people in my inbox tell me, it’s only going to get crazier as Zach LaVine, Kemba Walker and Giannis will be pushing JBL speakers at Water Tower Place on Saturday while Giannis will later make his way toward a “fireside chat” with Kevin Love, Chris Paul and an old Bulls fan named Barack Obama.
I got an application for an invite to that last one, but I had to decline it. I really hated turning down Barry and the Greek Freak, but I’d already made a prior commitment — the sold-out No Dunks live podcast at Schuba’s on Saturday. (If you’re there and see me, tell me you’re a #frentofthenewsletter and I’ll buy you a Daisy Cutter.)
There’s also the basketball, of course, with the Rising Stars game kicking things off tonight, followed by All-Star Saturday Night and the game itself on Sunday night.
I find the less I think about the basketball part of it, the better though. Because all of these All-Stars flying into town is just a reminder of how bad things have gotten with the Bulls.
For the third straight year, the team doesn’t have an All-Star. And from the looks of things, it might go at least another three. If LaVine can’t squeeze his way onto a team when the game is in his own gym, I doubt he’ll do it any other year. As for someone else on the roster breaking out? Please.
So instead of feting one of our own, we’ve instead been limited to telling a bunch of stories about the 1988 dunk contest before politely getting out of the way so the current stars can do their thing. As Sun-Times columnist Steve Greenberg wrote in his welcome column on Thursday: “We’ll be on the outside looking in if you need us.”
Steve, as always, is absolutely right. This must be how Dolphins fans feel when the Super Bowl comes to Miami.
Having the game in town is still pretty cool though. Especially if you can afford tickets. (A rep from Vivid Seats told me on Friday that their average sale price to Sunday’s game was $1,565. The get-in price at that time was $777.)
For one night, we can watch LeBron and Anthony Davis do their thing while all of the stars pay tribute to Kobe Bryant.
We can watch Giannis beat up on someone in the United Center who isn’t wearing a Bulls uniform.
We can watch Luka Doncic and wonder what might have happened had the lottery balls fell the Bulls way that year. (Spoiler alert: We’d probably be stuck with DeAndre Ayton or Marvin Begley like the Suns and Kings are.)
But none of it will happen with the overarching feeling that Chicago should be taking a much bigger part in the game than just rolling out the balls and making sure the All-Stars get to their sponsor events without freezing to death. It’s almost enough to make you want to ask Adam Silver if Chicago can pass on its turn until we’re really ready.
Closer Craig Kimbrel met with Cubs media on Thursday and described his 2019 season as “terrible.” He said his right knee is fully healthy and that there shouldn’t be a repeat of the 0-4, 6.53 performance that he posted after joining the Cubs midseason. Time will tell.
As his old Astros teammates were put in the crosshairs over in Florida, new White Sox pitcher Dallas Keuchel also had to answer for the 2017 sign stealing controversy when talking to beat reporters in Arizona. He did about as good of a job as his old teammates did (which is to say, not very good at all.)
"We’re always going to be World Series champs because we were talented and, to me, we earned the right to be World Series champs,” Keuchel told reporters. “Just because stuff came out about the 2017 Astros doesn’t mean other teams weren’t doing illegal stuff. It just means we were the ones that were caught.”
• Eddy Curry finally opening up to tell his side of the story of his turbulent NBA career is equal parts gutting, infuriating and just outright sad. But it’s one of the most honest and incredible things I’ve read from an athlete. If you only have time to read one thing today, make it this piece. (Players Tribune)
• This is a great article on the old Chicago Stadium by Darnell Mayberry and he brings up a point I never realized. Whenever anyone refers to it, it’s always “the old Chicago Stadium” even though, of course, there’s no “the new Chicago Stadium.” I’ll try and figure out why that is once I get back from shopping at the Jewel. (The Athletic)
• 10 moments from the 1988 All-Star Game. (Tribune)
• “I’ve been very disappointed in the Bulls. I have no idea what they’re doing.” — Charles Barkley (USA Today)
• These girls rock. Also, that team name is 🔥. (Block Club Chicago)
• Congratulations soccer fans! You have the city of Chicago pushing forward a plan to sell alcohol earlier than usual on Sunday mornings. (Tribune)
• Don’t worry everyone, we ended up getting Dick Jauron. (Twitter)
• Lester Wiltfong Jr. looks at NFL.com ranking Mitchell Trubisky 30th in its QB index as well as some of Trubisky’s potential replacements. (Windy City Gridiron)
• Sam Fels on how this dismal Hawks road trip should turn them into definite sellers. (Faxes From Uncle Dale)
• This is the first Tik Tok video I’ve ever seen and I … didn’t hate it? Although, does it count as a Tik Tok video if I saw it on Twitter? Social media is weird.
That’s it for today. Stay warm, enjoy the weekend and see you back here on Monday!