The Bulls are mourning the loss of longtime broadcaster Jim Durham, who died over the weekend at 65 in Tomball, Texas.
Durham was the voice of the Bulls from 1973-91. He went from working solo on WIND Radio during the Jerry Sloan-Bob Love era, to doing radio and TV simulcasts with Johnny “Red” Kerr during the early part of the championship era.
“Jim was a true professional and class act, and I’m sad over the news of his passing,” said John Paxson, Bulls vice president of basketball operations. “Over the years when he would broadcast one of our games for ESPN he never failed to spend a little time catching up on life with me.”
Durham made one of the most memorable calls in NBA history — “Shot on Ehlo, good!” — when Michael Jordan hit his game-winning shot in Cleveland during the 1989 playoffs.
After leaving the Bulls in 1991, Durham did NBA games for ESPN Radio. The Chicago native also worked briefly for the White Sox and the Houston Astros.
“He was the best at calling a basketball game I ever heard,” Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said in a statement. “I loved the energy he brought to our broadcasts, the way he painted a word picture of what was happening on the court which made you feel like you were there, and his sense of humor.
“Most importantly, Jim was my friend and I will miss the conversations we had about the NBA, life in general, and his favorite baseball team … the Chicago White Sox.”
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau reacted to the news following Monday’s practice at the Berto Center.
“That’s too bad. My condolences to his family,” he said. “Great guy. A legend in the NBA. That’s sad news.”
Now from South Sudan:
Luol Deng requested a change in pregame introductions this season. Instead of being “from Duke,” he’s now “from South Sudan.”
Deng made the change to promote awareness of South Sudan becoming an independent nation in July 2011.
“I love Duke. It’s nothing against Duke,” Deng said with a laugh. “Me and Coach K are friends. Everything is fine.
“I wanted people to recognize South Sudan. A lot of times, we say South Sudan and people think it’s Sudan. But we’re our own nation now. It’s a way of recognition. Whoever’s sitting in the crowd or listening on TV, they can go and Google it. South Sudan is it’s own nation, and I’m proud of it.”
According to Deng, he did not clear the change with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.
“I didn’t have to,” he said.
Shooting guard Marco Belinelli is starting to play well after a rough preseason. On Monday, he was asked if he’s working harder on defense now than in his previous five NBA seasons.
“Yes, sir,” he answered. “With (Hornets coach) Monty Williams, we played good defense, I think. But I’ve never played defense like here in Chicago.
“We practice a lot, especially in training camp. Everybody knows if you want to play, you need to play defense. If you understand that, it’s going to be easier.”Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.