Every chance he’s gotten, DeMar DeRozan has gushed about the Chicago Bulls.
The 32-year-old took a chance on the retooling organization one offseason ago, and the decision led to his fifth All-Star appearance and second All-NBA Team selection. He also finished the year with the second-most total points scored in the league, as well as by far the most buckets made in the 4th quarter. However, funny enough, it may have been one of the clutch shots he missed this season that taught him the most about playing in his new city.
In a recent appearance on The Draymond Green Show, DeRozan disclosed the very moment he realized how special taking the United Center court truly was. And you’ll never guess it.
“The moment when I really realized you got to bring it every single night in that arena – I’ve never spoken this on media or nothing – I think we were four or five games into the season, we were playing the Knicks. I took the game-winner, I air-balled, I just felt the whole vibe of everything like, ‘what the f––!? What was that!?’
You know what I mean? I felt like I disrespect the aura of what these fans are used to seeing from obviously MJ hitting game-winners. You live for those moments. And, then, to be in that moment for the first time in my fourth/fifth game and I take that shot, it was like I told myself I would never be in that situation again. To let that same feeling happen for these fans,” DeRozan said.
Excuse me as I bask in these chills.
I remember this missed bucket like it was yesterday. The Bulls were going for a perfect 5-0 start to the season, and they used a 13-2 run to put themselves in a position to steal the game. After Julius Randle missed both free throws, the Bulls called a timeout and had four seconds to find a shot. Instead of feeding a weaving LaVine, DeRozan opted to take the switch onto RJ Barrett off the dribble. He pump-faked once as his feet slipped. Then, rising with Barrett easily in his face, the ball touched … nothing.
Bulls fans were mad, and I guess so was DeRozan.
“I swear to god, I never told that, it was that game to where it was like, ‘every shot that I take in the clutch, I’m going to make it count every single time,’” DeRozan told Green. “So you look back at all the moments that I had in the arena, it was more so like, ‘yo this is the ghost of Michael.’ I’m trying to inherit the ghost of Michael shooting this fadeaway with the clock running down. I carried that to heart after that moment.”
In case any Bulls fans needed one more reason to love DeRozan, I think we found it.
Anyway, if you want to catch his hour-long interview with Green, make sure to watch via The Volume’s YouTube channel below. He talks way more about his first season in Chicago, as well as about his recent appearance in the Drew League with LeBron James.