One person towers over Chicago with an iron fist, getting news anchors to shake at the knees. A bad word is never said for fear of incurring this person’s wrath and being forever exiled out of the city.
This would seem to be Michael Wilbon’s reaction whenever anyone criticizes league MVP Derrick Rose. But that would be wrong.
No, when you are in the Windy City there are two people you cannot cross: the Daley family and Oprah Winfrey. The Bulls are not in danger of crossing the first group, but the Bulls and Oprah might be in conflict as the Eastern Conference Finals approach.
Charles Barkley and the TNT crew let slip of this potential conflict when they mentioned one of their lead producers was doing a site survey for the Inside the NBA crew’s live show from the Eastern Conference Finals.
The problem is, Oprah is taping one of her final shows at the United Center on Tuesday and her crew needs the stadium on Monday to prepare. That means the Eastern Conference Finals either starts Sunday (if Chicago wins Game Six in Atlanta on Thursday) or it starts Wednesday, May 18 (if Chicago needs a seventh game on Saturday). That is either quite the turnaround or quite the layoff — especially for the Heat who could go a week without playing before the Eastern Conference Finals opener.
Either way, Game Two would have to wait until at least Wednesday because of Oprah’s show.
This is not quite the Denver Nuggets and Pepsi Center politely asking Vince McMahon and WWE to move a taping of Smackdown for a surprise appearance in the 2009 Western Conference Finals. It is more like the NHL nearly being forced to adjust its schedule for the Eastern Conference Finals between Tampa Bay and Boston because the St. Pete Times Forum was booked for “Toy Story 3 on Ice”.
It is hard to schedule arenas this far in advance. You expect your team to make it this far into the postseason, but you can’t just have an empty arena sitting there. Plus, the fact that this is Oprah’s final season and one of her last shows is pretty special for the people of Chicago and the large following she has.
I guess it means the Bulls and the Heat can wait for her to clear out.
Or the Chicago world truly revolves around Oprah. If that’s the case, then the Bulls might have made the right decision stopping their parade to a championship to accomodate her.
Photo via DayLife.com.