Sarah and I took a trip into London one evening to watch a Bulls-Jazz NBA exhibition game at the O2 arena. The Chicago Bulls were my favorite team back when MJ was stroking it; I got chills when the Bulls entrance theme began. I guess that the Utah Jazz are my favorite now because my boy Deron Williams (University of Illinois) is their star player.
Overall the crowd was very enthusiastic, although it was clear that they did not understand the rules very well. People were harshly criticizing the refs at the end of they game when the teams were fouling on purpose (“Crumbs! Let ’em play!”).
The crowd was very partial to the Bulls because they have a Brit (Luol Deng) on the team, however they would applaud every good play. At the end of the game when the score was close they were booing the Jazz players shooting free throws because they wanted the Bulls to win. But the boos would quickly turn to raucous cheering when the Jazz player hit the free throw. Then the Bulls won on a last second shot and the crowd went berserk. It was definitely the most unusual sporting atmosphere I have ever witnessed
There is a tradition of “Painting the (Assembly) Hall Orange” at University of Illinois basketball games where all fans attend wearing the bright orange of the team colors (orange and blue). It is very impressive and certainly strikes fear and visual impairments into opposing teams.
To support Deron and show my Illini spirit, I decided to Paint the O2 Orange. It was, ah, not so impressive.