If the fair city of Chicago seems like a more desolate place today than it was yesterday, there's a reason for it. Brian Scalabrine, the ginger-tinted fan favorite of the home crowds at the United Center, will not be returning to the Chicago Bulls next season. Tribune beat reporter K.C. Johnson buried the nugget in his latest filing on the status of reserve center Omer Asik. While Asik is likely also gone according to Johnson, it appears self-evident that the dismissal of Scalabrine will cause more distress among the fanbase than the exits of Kyle Korver, C.J. Watson, Ronnie Brewer and the "Turkish Hammer" combined.
It's a little embarrassing in the humble opinion of this pasty sports blogger, but it's the cold, hard truth: Brian Scalabrine was one of the most popular athletes in Chicago for the last two years. He rarely played because he wasn't very good, but he had red hair, gave the occasional funny quote and possessed the right skin color. Sometimes, that's all it takes. If nothing else, Scalabrine was the most relatable sports
star person this city has seen in a long while. I suppose that counts for a lot for some people.
Scalabrine will never be forgotten. The Bulls still would have won the most regular season games in the NBA over the last two seasons without him; hell, they may have won even more had they used the roster spot on someone who could actually play. But we can't entirely cast aside Scal's value. Scalabrine was adored by his teammates, and was often lauded for being like another assistant for Tom Thibodeau. Who else doubled as a victory cigar and white flag while simultaneously being the most popular player on the team? 'Twas the gift and the curse of one Brian Scalabrine.
Our favorite Scal moments, after the jump....
1. It's bird! It's a plane! It's....
Oh. Just Brian Scalabrine.
2. Comcast SportsNet knows exactly what position Scal played.
3. I loved the these quotes Scal gave Sports Illustrated's Lee Jenkins on Derrick Rose during his MVP season in 2010-2011:
"They are the guys who get you the need baskets," says Bulls reserve forward Brian Scalabrine, referring to the vital hoops that stop runs and close out games. "I have a different word for killers. I call them mother-------. And right now, Derrick Rose is the baddest mother------ in the league by far. He is the reason we win."
"I'm way cockier than he is," says Scalabrine, "and I never play."
These last two pictures really kill me. Who could possibly hate on that?
It was real, Scal. R.I.P. "White Mamba". May you enjoy a long career as a bumbling sportscaster in Boston or Chicago.