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Ready for the challenge of pro ball
Posted on Jul 2
Hey Chicago, this is rookie forward Taj Gibson, native of Brooklyn, New York, and I couldn’t be more excited to be a member of the Bulls. It felt good to be at the United Center this week and it’s definitely a dream come true. It was crazy walking into the arena, and all you see are the banners from the championships, and of course, you have the trophies up at the Berto Center. I’m just looking forward to the challenge of playing pro ball.
I spent draft night at home with my family at a hotel in Manhattan. I was just fine keeping it low key with a few friends and watching as the night went along. I was in contact with the Bulls coaching staff and they eventually sent me a text saying they were taking me at 26 and they were happy I was still there. They had heard other teams were interested, but really didn’t know what was going to happen. When I got the call from them saying it was definitely happening, I was really excited. To be honest, I didn’t think I would end up in Chicago because in my first workout there, I got hurt. I came back, though, and had a good showing against some talented players.
Since then, I’ve been mostly in Brooklyn, spending time with family members who I know I won’t get to see as much once things get going with the Bulls. And I’ve been playing basketball too; haven’t taken a day off yet. We celebrated and had our fun, but we were back on the court playing the next day. That’s just the New York style of how we do it out there.
Following the press conference on Monday, I stopped by the Taste of Chicago. It was my first appearance as a pro and I had a good time. It was fun meeting the fans and people of the city. Other than the NBA Draft Combine, I haven’t spent any time in Chicago and even for that, I didn’t get to see much of the city. I’ve heard so many good things, though, and coming in on the plane, I got excited looking at the skyline and how nice the city looks. I’m a big city guy, born and raised in New York City and doing things like riding trains around all my life. I was actually excited to see Chicago has a train system, because in Los Angeles and around USC, you don’t take trains too often. I’m just excited to be in Chicago. With all these big buildings, I feel like I’m at home already.
I look forward to playing with James Johnson. He’s a funny guy, a really funny guy. He’s easy to get along with and obviously he’s got a lot of talent. We always ran into each other during the NBA Draft Combine, and this week we finally got the chance to get acquainted. Hopefully the two of us will be in Chicago for a long time.
It was exciting to put on that Bulls jersey for the first time. I’ll always remember when they first gave it to me. I’ve never had a jersey with my name stitched in on the back. Being at USC, we didn’t really get into the names across player’s backs thing; it was just our numbers. So it was a wonderful feeling to put that on and then walk on to the floor at the United Center.
It’s unbelievable for me to be in the position that I am. When you grow up, you have so many things that go through your head, but to actually make it to this level is amazing. I can’t wait to get my NBA career going, and next week we take a big step towards that as we get ready for summer league. I’ll check back soon with another post on how that’s going. Until then, I hope everyone has a great holiday weekend.