All-star media day: Butler ponders return, AD misses snow
All-star media day at Wintrust Arena featured a little bit of everything.
For starters, the NBA sells tickets for the event, so there were T-shirt tosses going on during interviews. There's the typical wide array of topics, including one person who asked the players if they had a message for people suffering from coronavirus.
But since this the first All-Star Game in Chicago since 1988, we went looking for Chicago stories.
Lakers center Anthony Davis, the lone Chicago native among the all-stars, was asked the broad question of what he misses most about growing up in the city.
"My favorite memory? The snow," Davis said. "I don't get to see the snow as much now. Me and my cousin would have snowball fights almost every day after school. I kind of miss that."
And here most people have been complaining about the cold weather this weekend.
Ex-Bulls guard Jimmy Butler had a lively interview session. He started by declining to bash the Bulls management group that traded him to Minnesota in 2017. He then moved onto Philadelphia, before finding a happy home in Miami.
The question was, is he surprised the Bulls have struggled so much since trading him and launching a rebuild?
"Is that the point or the goal of a rebuild (to get worse)? I would think so," Butler said. "You know what, I've got faith in management here. They have to know what they're doing. I think their decision was right for them. I'll continue to wish them the best. I think they've got some really great young talent. They'll figure it out."
The next question was whether Butler can see himself playing for the Bulls again someday.
"Yeah, of course. Come on, this is Chicago," he said. "This is home for me for a long time, still is home for me. It's a definite possibility, maybe for the end of my career. Who knows? I guess we'll find out when that time gets here."
Bulls guard Zach LaVine got the expected follow-up questions about fans chanting "Fire Gar-Pax" during his appearance on ESPN's "First Take" on Friday morning at Navy Pier. The chant referred to the Bulls management team of John Paxson and Gar Forman.
"You guys know, I'm pretty good with the media and being able to move around that," LaVine said. "I don't speak for the fans, obviously. I think the fans in Chicago have been frustrated. Personally, I'm with the team. I'm the one that puts on the uniform and I stand in front of the fans and I do my job. It wasn't tough. I know Chicago gets rowdy. It is what it is."
Davis took an unusual path to the NBA, since he was a virtual unknown during his junior year of high school. He had a growth spurt, blossomed almost overnight and was suddenly the top-ranked player in the country, who led Kentucky to the national title as a freshman and then went with the No. 1 overall pick 2012.
Davis was at Perspectives High School and decided not to transfer to one of the city's traditional basketball powers. He was asked Saturday which players inspired him back then.
"Actually, Derrick Rose," Davis said. "Derrick Rose is still one of my favorites to watch. Even when I had the thought of leaving Perspectives, it was probably going to be Simeon because of Derrick Rose. He's a guy I think every guy underneath him looked up to, because of the things he did for the city, then him actually getting drafted by the Bulls and that whole run. It was inspiring for all of us."
Chicago basically had one rep for all three days this weekend. Miami's Kendrick Nunn played well in the Rising Stars Game, Clippers guard Patrick Beverley did the Skills Contest on Saturday, then Davis in the main game Sunday.
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