Chicagoans are a proud bunch. Windy City natives represent their hometown in a diehard fashion no matter where life’s endeavors may take them. It’s no different for Chicago rapper Lil Durk, who hails from the South Side neighborhood of Englewood. He has always been a Chicago Bulls fan and has even repped the red and black in his music videos.
Lil Durk rose to fame in the late 2000s and early 2010s. That time period featured the rise of rappers such as Chief Keef and King Louie popularizing Chicago’s drill music, a subgenre of hip-hop/rap. The era coincided with another Englewood native, Derrick Rose, owning the spotlight for the Bulls. Producing stardom in the studio and on the hardwood brought a wave of attention to Chicago’s South Side.
Since then, Lil Durk has grown in popularity, released multiple albums, made feature appearances on tracks with renowned artists like Drake, and even sold out the United Center for a show. His words carry a lot of weight in the city.
Lil Durk Makes His Claim
With the release of NBA 2K23 looming, the game company set up the NBA 2K23 House of Greatness in Las Vegas. Multiple NBA players and celebrities rolled through, including Lil Durk. Joey Mistretta from Clutch Points approached Lil Durk and asked him to predict the next NBA champion.
With a homer look on his face, “The Chicago Bulls.”
Mistretta followed with another question, “Cause Zach LaVine is coming back?” Durk said, “Cause everybody is there.”
Is a Chicago Bulls NBA Finals Run Possible?
Lil Durk surely has some hometown bias in his pick. But let’s dive into the realistic outlook.
Simply put, the Bulls have not done enough to be a true championship contender. To date this offseason, the team has signed Goran Dragic and Andre Drummond to team-friendly, short-term deals. In the 2022 NBA Draft, Chicago selected Arizona product Dalen Terry with the No. 18 overall pick.
The Bulls fan base largely views these moves as patchwork, leaving a lukewarm feeling behind. The front office brass needs to realize that Bulls fans are past the honeymoon phase of just being happy to see the team compete again.
If healthy, the Bulls will be lucky to earn home-court advantage as currently constructed. But if injuries plague the roster, as was the case in 2021-22, the Bulls will look more like a fringe playoff team and could miss the play-in tournament in a worst-case scenario.
Underachievement on the court will fall back on Jerry Reinsdorf’s hesitancy to encroach the luxury tax. Hopefully the Bulls can stay healthy, unlike Reinsdorf’s other team, the Chicago White Sox. Leading into the 2022 MLB season, the South Siders employed the all-too-familiar method of patchwork signings. They were expected to be an annual division winner for years but currently hold a 40-43 record, leaving them 5.5 games out of first place.
With the Sox middling and the Bears, Blackhawks, and Cubs all rebuilding, the Bulls look to be Chicago sports’ only hope. But when examining the roster on paper, bringing home an NBA title in 2022-23 feels more like a prayer.
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