The end of an era, Taj was the last member of the 10-11 Bulls that made it to the Eastern Conference Finals (lost to LeBron sigh) and had the best record in the league. It was the last magical season for Bulls fans, Derrick Rose’s MVP season as well. Taj exuded class and was professionalism personified. It truly was a sad day for Bulls fans and we truly need to appreciate this no nonsense big man who started 40% of his games for us.
Taj was one of the oldest players in the 2009 at 24 and really didn’t do too much to impress Bulls fans. He was undersized and didn’t really show much skill other than dunking. Needless to say, fans weren’t very excited about this pick especially with younger power forward, Tyrus Thomas, who was coming off his best season of his career. The Bulls also drafted James Johnson earlier in the draft and fans were much more excited about this bouncy forward’s potential. Johnson went on to only appear and start only 11 games, while Gibson played in all 82 games, starting 70 of them, and making the All-Rookie First Team.
What did the Bulls do after Taj’s incredible season, signed Carlos Boozer to a ridiculous contract after not getting LeBron (shudders).
Taj didn’t complain and made the most out of his role coming off the bench pairing with Omer Asik and the rest of the Bench Mob. New coach (should be current?) Tom Thibodeau showed his liking for Gibson’s grinding style of play as he often played him in the 4th quarter over the Alaskan A**hole, Carlos Boozer. In the playoffs of this year is when Taj Gibson had is greatest moment as a Bull and probably the best play by a player in a Bulls uniform since Jordan hit the jumper with 6.6 left in ’98. As the Bulls were cruising to a win over the arch-villains of the NBA, the Heat, Taj threw an absolutely monster dunk over Dwyane Wade on a fastbreak:
Taj wasn’t done, a monstrous, one-handed put back dunk but an exclamation point on the win over the Heat and was the greatest moment for Bulls fans in the last 2 decades (although we got destroyed the next 4 games). The future of the Bulls was bright and exactly a year later, the light was all but gone, Derrick Rose tore his ACL.
Over the next few years of the Wilted Rose Era, Taj shined off the bench and was always in discussion for 6 Man of the Year, and would’ve won it if it wasn’t for that meddling Jamal Crawford.
What did the Bulls do? Sign Pau Gasol after not being able to lure Carmelo (LaLa) Anthony away from the Big Apple.
Once again, Gibson’s hard work is not rewarded, but did he complain? Of course not, he just did what he always did, work hard. Hard hat and fricken lunch pail
Gibson continued to be productive off the bench and when Joakim Noah went down with multiple injuries he filled the starter role with no problem. He had an ever improving offensive game and of course held it down on the defensive end.
Taj was great as a player but don’t let this distract you from Taj the man. He has a wonderful personality that will fit perfectly in Oklahoma City. This man never complained, never said anything stupid to the media, and was never a distraction to the team. Every Bulls fan should miss him and respect him for everything he did on and off the court, they dont make many like Taj Gibson anymore.