Marko Jaric made more than $40 million as an NBA player. He's married to supermodel Adriana Lima and could continue to have a nice career in European basketball.
Instead, the veteran shooting guard, who turns 34 Friday, is in Bulls training camp, trying to prove to whatever team is watching that he can still play in the NBA. The natural question is, why bother?
"We all start playing basketball because we love this sport," Jaric explained. "Last year, I kind of tried to take some time off and see if I could live without basketball and it was very difficult, to be honest with you.
"When all your life, all your childhood, every day you wake up to have the feeling of winning and losing and it's a part of your mentality -- you miss that so much. All my life, I've been a competitor."
With luxury tax and hard-cap issues looming, there's not much chance of anyone besides the core group of 13 players sticking with the Bulls beyond training camp. It's possible, though, a strong audition now could lead to a 10-day contract later in the season. That's enough for Jaric, who played for the Clippers, Minnesota and Memphis from 2002-09.
"For quite some time, I've been trying to be part of an organization that's trying to win a championship," he said. "It's up to me to demonstrate to this coaching staff that I can help them."
And sadly, Mrs. Jaric is not expected to make a United Center appearance during preseason. She gave birth to the couple's second daughter last month
"The baby's too young to travel," he said. "She's going to stay in Miami for a couple months, then we'll see."
Second preseason test:
The Bulls will play back-to-back preseason contests this weekend, beginning Friday in Champaign against Cleveland. They'll visit Minnesota on Saturday.
Coach Tom Thibodeau is obviously looking for progress from Tuesday's 92-88 home win over Memphis.
"When the ball was moving, we were playing inside-out, we were getting good shots," he said. "When we went too much one-on-one or we tried risky passes, it resulted in something negative, either a turnover or a tough shots. Then we compounded that by going forward instead of having the discipline to protect our basket. Those are things we have to get better at."
Hinrich feels at home:
Kirk Hinrich got his return-to-Chicago jitters out of the way on Tuesday and is focused on people more than location right now. After being traded by the Bulls in 2010, he spent the past two seasons with Washington and Atlanta.
"The most refreshing part is to be a part of a team that's as unselfish as we are and the way we approach the game," he said Thursday. "It makes it so much fun. I'm excited with any role I have on a team like this. It's one of those things where I'm just glad to be a part of."