Wherever the Chicago Bulls go in Paris, excitement follows them.
“I can’t understand what they’re talking about, but it seems like there’s a crowd and a bunch of people,” coach Billy Donovan told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
Bulls check off every tourist’s list of milestones during their first three days in Paris — a trip to the Eiffel Tower, plenty of wine, and even a peek at Fashion Week. The team also participated in a girls’ basketball clinic in the Paris area on Wednesday.
“These kids don’t have the opportunity to see us live so much, so it’s great for them and for us,” said center Nikola Vučević. “It means a lot to them and we try to come back as much as we can, spend time when we can.”
But by Wednesday, the team’s focus was back on basketball. At 20-24, the Bulls will have plenty on the line when they face the Detroit Pistons on Thursday.
In the midst of a competitive Eastern Conference full of fighting for the last spot above the playoff line, every game counts for the Bulls — even if it’s half a world away.
The Pistons nearly lost a man in Paris after 19-year-old center Jalen Duren lost his passport before the team flew out of Detroit.
Duren was not with the Pistons when they arrived Monday because he was not allowed on the team’s charter flight. The Athletic reported Tuesday that the Pistons were working to get Duren on a new flight. The center finally arrived and rejoined the team on Wednesday, just in time for Thursday’s game.
The Bulls arrived in Paris amid the buzz of Fashion Week – which runs from January 17-22 – and were presented in a fitting collaboration between the team and Off-White, the fashion house created by groundbreaking designer and Chicago native Virgil Abloh.
Abloh founded Off-White in 2013. After his death in 2021, his legacy lives on with the connection between high fashion brands and streetwear styles.
With the help of Abloh’s family, the brand has teamed up with the Bulls to honor his love of Chicago sports with a new series of Bulls designs for Off-White’s 10th anniversary. The entire Bulls roster received new Off-White Bulls varsity jackets created by streetwear designer and Chicago native Don C.
Regardless of the outcome of Thursday’s game, at least one Bulls player is coming home from Paris with a W.
Reserve forward Derrick Jones Jr. he took the opportunity during a dinner for players, coaches, family and friends to propose to his longtime girlfriend Shakara. Jones got an immediate and emphatic answer: “Hell yes.”