The Bulls Lose Two Legends In One Day

norm-van-lierred-kerr

The last Bulls game I went to was two weeks ago against the Detroit Pistons. It was the night the organization honored Johnny “Red” Kerr who was not only the Bulls first head coach, but also a Chicago area HS basketball legend, one of the all time greats to play at the University of Illinois and a Bulls broadcaster for over 30 years. He was saluted by some the most recognizable names and faces in the game, as well as the two greatest Bulls ever in Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen who were on hand and spoke during the ceremony. Both David Stern and President Obama saluted Red via  pre-recorded video messages and a statue of him was unveiled that will be displayed inside the United Center. It was a very special night and it was great to just be there and be a part of it all.

My wife and I had seats near the players entrance and at one point in the game I looked over and saw Norm Van Lier. He along with another Bulls great in Jerry Sloan formed arguably the best backcourt in the history of the organization. He was standing just outside of the tunnel watching the game. He was there to salute Red like we all were. Yesterday, they both passed away. Van Lier was 61 years old, Kerr was 76.

My first reaction after hearing about Van Lier’s passing was very similar to the reaction we all have when someone passes away…”I just saw him”! I didn’t find out about Kerr until this morning but my reaction was still the same. It was one thing to lose Van Lier, but to lose Kerr in the same day? It was unreal.

Today is a very sad day in the history of not only sports, but basketball in Chicago and for Bulls fans everywhere. But with their passing I feel good knowing that thay lived and breathed Chicago Bulls basketball…even until their last breaths. I can’t think of a better way to go out. May they both rest in peace.

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