On Cloud 9 with Chicago Sky!

Notes from the 10/28/21 issue

On Cloud 9 with Chicago Sky! 

Thunderous roars heard out of Chicago a couple of weekends ago did not come from Soldier Field; they came from a packed Wintrust Arena as the Sky, Chicago’s WNBA team, won their first title in franchise history. The only reason they didn’t dominate the airwaves until the last minute was because that’s what tends to happen with women’s sports leagues. Hometown heroes Candace Parker (the GOAT) and Allie Quigley, along with Kahleah Copper and Courtney Vandersloot, stomped the opps 5-0 at home in their playoff run. This was Parker’s first season with the team on what could have been her farewell tour. The team also featured perhaps the first married couple as teammates in a professional sport. Many Chicago fans took the CTA Green Line or the Cermak and Martin Luther King Drive buses to the stadium in an unprecedented show of local support for women’s basketball. The city dressed the lion statues in Sky jerseys and held a daytime rally for the champions at Millenium Park.

Ambassador Rahm

On October 20—the seventh anniversary of the murder of seventeen-year-old Laquan McDonald by then-CPD officer Jason Van Dyke—former Mayor Rahm Emanuel appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that is considering his nomination for ambassador to Japan. Only one Senator, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, asked Emanuel about McDonald at the hearing. It was under Emanuel’s leadership that the City attempted to bury the murder; he was elected to a second term while the City’s Law Department was still fighting to withhold video of the murder. (The City later settled with McDonald’s family for $5 million; that deal was finalized the day after Emanuel was reelected.) Once the video was finally released in November 2015, hundreds of protesters shut down the Mag Mile the day after Thanksgiving, and Black pastors later boycotted an interfaith breakfast hosted by Emanuel. The scandal led to Police Superintendent Gary McCarthy being fired and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez losing her reelection bid by nearly thirty percentage points. Rahm declined to seek a third term, but in the eyes of the national Democratic establishment he remains salvageable. His confirmation as ambassador would send a clear message to Chicago and the world: attempting to cover up the police murder of a young Black man is not a disqualification from representing the United States in its diplomatic missions abroad. 

Are the Bulls back? 

After staging a few convincing wins over the Detroit Pistons and New Orleans Pelicans and outlasting the Toronto Raptors away from home, the Bulls have started the season at 4-0 for the first time since the 1996-97 season, a year in which they began their second three-peat NBA Championship run. The beauty of it all is that instead of only being able to attribute the success of the team to one or two players, the team’s recent acquisitions of Demar Derozan, Lonzo Ball, and Alex Caruso, as well as its deep and athletic bench, has the Bulls sharing responsibilities on both sides of the ball in ways we haven’t seen since the team won sixty games in the 2010-11 season. It’s one thing to be able to argue that management and coaching changes marked the start of a new era in Chicago, but to have acquired the talent and be playing at this level barely a year and a half after personnel changes could mean that what was once a slow-rebuild project could actually be a conference title chase. Whatever the outcome, it will be a significant improvement, and for that might it be fair to say that the Bulls are back?

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