Everywhere the Chicago Bulls go in Paris, excitement follows.
“I can’t understand what they’re talking about, but there seems to be huddles and crowds of people,” coach Billy Donovan told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
The Bulls are checking off every tourist’s list of milestones throughout their first three days in Paris — a trip to the Eiffel Tower, plenty of wine and even a peek into Fashion Week. The team also participated in a basketball clinic for girls in the Paris area on Wednesday.
“These kids don’t have a chance to see us as much in person, so it’s great for them and great for us,” center Nikola Vučević said. “It means a lot to them and we try to give back as much as we can, spend the time when we can.”
But by Wednesday, the team’s focus shifted back to basketball. With a 20-24 record, 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 jockeying for the last spot above the playoff line, every game counts for the Bulls — even if it’s taking place half a world away.
The Pistons almost went down a man in Paris after 19-year-old center Jalen Duren misplaced his passport before the team took off from Detroit.
Duren was not with the Pistons when they arrived Monday as he wasn’t allowed onto the team’s charter flight. The Athletic reported the Pistons were working to get Duren on a new flight on Tuesday. The center finally arrived and rejoined the team Wednesday, just in time for Thursday’s game.
The Bulls arrived in Paris amid the hubbub of Fashion Week — which runs from Jan. 17 to Jan 22 — and featured in a fitting collaboration between the team and Off-White, a fashion house created by revolutionary designer and Chicago native Virgil Abloh.
Abloh founded Off-White in 2013. After his death in 2021, his legacy has lived on with the connection between high fashion brands and streetwear styles.
With help from Abloh’s family, the brand partnered with the Bulls to honor his love for Chicago sports with a new series of Bulls designs for Off-White’s 10-year anniversary. The entire Bulls roster received new Off-White Bulls varsity jackets created by streetwear designer and Chicago native Don C.
Regardless of Thursday’s game results, at least one Bulls player is coming back home from Paris with a W.
Backup forward Derrick Jones Jr. took the opportunity during a dinner for players, coaches, family and friends to propose to his longtime girlfriend Shakara. Jones received an immediate and emphatic answer: “Hell yeah.”