In honor of last night’s breaking news regarding the Chicago Bulls front office…
BREAKING NEWS: #Bulls are finalizing deal with #Nuggets GM Arturas Karnisovas to become Chicago's Executive VP of Basketball Operations, per @wojespn.#FireGarPax #RunWithUs #NBA pic.twitter.com/LVMHR6ta0w
— Sports ON Tap Chicago (@SONTChicago) April 9, 2020
…I thought I might as well dust off a blog that I wrote back on March 1st, 2018 about how I hoodwinked Bulls GM Gar Forman into autographing my shirt calling for his firing. Let’s dive right in.
Gar Forman was in Omaha this past weekend to scout the Villanova-Creighton game, which turned out to be a thrilling OT win for the Jays. I wouldn’t have known the Chicago Bulls GM was in attendance if not for Tommy McLaughlin, so I owe what transpired on Saturday all to him.
What happened? Well, I got Gar Forman to autograph a shirt calling for his firing. Not just any shirt, by the way, but our very own Fire GarPax shirt. They don’t call me a Company Man for nothing!
So, how exactly did I pull this off? To answer simply: knowing the right people, being in the right place at the right time, and a half-truth. Here’s the story.
At about 12:15 on Saturday, Tommy messaged the blog GroupMe alerting everyone that Gar Forman was at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha (now named CHI Health Center Omaha). He – among other NBA scouts – was there to watch Jalen Brunson, Mikal Bridges, Khyri Thomas, and Marcus Foster.
I have season tickets, but I was planning to watch the game from the comfort of my couch for a couple of reasons. The first being that I had a Creighton rugby match to help coach down the road in Lincoln that evening. We were planning to leave around 3:30, before I could have made it back to campus from the CenturyLink Center.
The second reason was that I didn’t expect it to be a good game, much less a Creighton overtime victory. I had listed my tickets on a ticket exchange app in an effort to sell them the previous day. I’m sure glad nobody snagged them.
At 1:00, we got word that our rugby match was cancelled. Within 5 minutes, I had found a Sharpie, pulled my tickets from the app, grabbed my Fire GarPax shirt, and gotten in my car to drive to the arena.
Finding parking was a hassle, so I parked at the edge of campus and briskly made my way to the game. I arrived just after the under-12 media timeout in the first half. Normally, I would have made my way to my seats in the upper bowl. Instead, I stood and watched from the 100-level, straining my eyes to find just where Gar Forman was.
After Marcus Foster sunk a fall-away three-pointer to end the first half, I made my way around the concourse closer to the scorers table until I spotted my target.
“Mr. Forman,” I called out, halfway expecting him to completely ignore me. The next thing I knew, we were chatting like old friends, only a folding table and millions of dollars in net worth separating us. We talked about how excited Bulls fans should be for the future (HA!) and I mentioned how fun Lauri Markkanen and David Nwaba were to watch.
He was such a nice guy that I almost felt bad for what happened next. Villanova jogged out of the tunnel, and I wrapped up our conversation by asking if I could get a picture with him. Harmless enough, right?
I then asked if he could sign my shirt. I began to lift up my jacket, and he noticed it was red. “Oh, is it a Bulls shirt?” he asked. “You could say that,” I muttered in response.
I didn’t want to take my jacket completely off, it would blow my cover. I struggled to pull my jacket high enough to where he could sign it in a somewhat prominent location. Watching me struggle, Gar suggested that he sign it at about my lower back. The gracious Creighton fan who took our picture captured this as well.
That’s an all-time facial expression by good ol’ Gar. If he thought the situation was weird, he sure didn’t let on about it. Due to the odd location of the signature and the general oddity of the encounter, the signature is barely legible. But that’s the Let Me B-Frank charm.
Did Gar Forman autograph my Fire GarPax shirt? Yes. Did I pull the wool over his eyes in order to get him to do so? I sure did.
The guys got a kick out of it, and Brian and Pete discussed it during the latest podcast. It’s at the 20:20 mark.
Gar Forman, I’m sorry, but this couldn’t be a more hysterical situation.