CHICAGO – There are plenty of former Bulls who were making a homecoming with the Timberwolves on Wednesday at United Center. Luol Deng, Taj Gibson, Derrick Rose and coach Tom Thibodeau all were a part of the Bulls at the same time earlier this decade.
But there is another member of the Wolves with Chicago ties who got to spend some time with family and friends over the holidays — forward Robert Covington.
“It’s always amazing, coming home and playing in the gym that I’ve watched so much history to be a part of,” said Covington, who went to high school at Proviso West in suburban Hillside, Ill. “I’ve been thankful for that, and I’ve always played with an edge when I come here because it’s home.”
Growing up in Chicago, Covington attended games at United Center during the Bulls dynasty, with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen winning the last three of their six NBA championships there.
“As his career went on, that’s when I realized who I really liked and it was Scottie Pippen, since I was young,” Covington said.
Pippen is one of the reasons Covington wears No. 33 and Pippen is one of the players Covington tries to imitate on the floor. Like Pippen, Covington is a taller wing at 6-foot 9 (Pippen is 6-foot-8) with defense as his calling card in the league.
Covington said he left for home right after Monday’s practice so he could spend Christmas Eve and Christmas with his family, the first time he was able to do so since college.
“We sat back, ate, played games and everything, just had a good time,” Covington said. “[We ate] a little bit of everything — some dressing, macaroni, spaghetti, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cake. I’ve went full throttle with stuff — two plates at a time.”
It’s a good thing the Wolves had a game so Covington could burn off some of those calories. Covington wasn’t sure how many people he had coming to the game. When asked if it was a couple dozen, he said, “More than that.”
“Having that support has always been big for me,” Covington said.
Chicago always ‘home’
Rose estimated he got tickets for about 50 people.
“I wish I could bring the whole hood here,” he said. “But I only got 50.”
A lot of the local media attention at shootaround centered on Rose, playing in only his second game at Chicago since the Bulls traded him to New York in 2016.
“This is home for me,” Rose said. “I’ll never leave Chicago. I still have a place here. I’m always going to have a place here. My son is being raised here, so this is home. But you never know in the future. But my attention right now is with this organization that I’m in right now, and this offseason you never know what can happen.”
• The Wolves premiered their “earned” uniforms that came about as a result of their 2018 playoff appearance. Nike designed an extra uniform for all playoff teams. The jerseys were white with pink lettering, in the same theme as the Prince City Edition jerseys. The team will also wear them Friday at home vs. Atlanta.
• Marney Gellner took over play-by-play duties on the Fox Sports North broadcast for Dave Benz, who was visiting an ill family member. Benz will return Friday.