WBEZ | Joakim Noah http://www.wbez.org/tags/joakim-noah Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chicago Bulls get no respect http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-05/chicago-bulls-get-no-respect-107147 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP93894188013.jpg" style="float: right; height: 200px; width: 300px;" title="Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson, left, and Miami Heat guard Norris Cole battle for a loose ball as guard Nate Robinson, far right, watches during the first half of Game 2 of their NBA basketball playoff series. (AP/File)" />When it comes to the Chicago Bulls, I&rsquo;m mad as hell and I&rsquo;m not going to take it anymore. I&rsquo;m not talking about Derrick Rose on the sidelines. Or whether or not Nazr Mohammed should have shoved LeBron James (he shouldn&rsquo;t have; but nor should James have pulled&nbsp; that Al Pacino-worthy bit of overacting on his way down to the boards). I&rsquo;m not even referring to what the Bulls need to do to stay alive in their series with the Heat.</div><p>I&rsquo;m talking about the absolute lack of respect that the Bulls get from the national media covering the NBA playoffs.</p><p>At first it was amusing, watching <a href="http://offthedribble.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/08/on-stubborn-bulls-robinson-is-a-standout/" target="_blank">The New York Times</a> scramble to give props to the team and to players like Nate Robinson, as the Bulls won their first playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets. Or, to hear some commentators, even as the Bulls trounced the Nets, refer to them as having &quot;<a href="http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1629141-chicago-bulls-vs-brooklyn-nets-game-7-score-highlights-and-analysis" target="_blank">outlasted</a>&quot; their Brooklyn rivals.</p><p>Then, the Bulls&rsquo; started their second series against the Heat. And I really started to really get my rage on.</p><p>Late in the fourth quarter, the Bulls trailed Miami by seven. The announcers stopped paying attention, and started a discussion of the Golden State Warriors. Bit by bit though, the Bulls pulled even with the Heat. Then Robinson sank his 20-footer, which put the Bulls ahead by three. But the announcer, thinking nothing had changed since he checked out of the game, updated the old rather than the new score. He quickly corrected himself but it was too late: the game had indeed changed, and the Bulls went on to <a href="http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/recap?gameId=400464356" target="_blank">beat the Heat</a>.</p><p>Of course the game has changed quite a bit since then. The Bull&rsquo;s second match with the Heat was disastrous and the third disappointing. Push has come to shove.</p><p>Some commentators get that the Bulls win <a href="http://espn.go.com/nba/playoffs/2013/story/_/id/9249754/nba-playoffs-2013-miami-heat-need-find-footing-chicago-bulls-game-1-win" target="_blank">wasn&rsquo;t a fluke</a> but a result of their hard work learning how to beat a player like LeBron James and a team like the Heat. But by and large, indifference to their play has been replaced by an insistence, at least on the part of some commentators, to talk about the Bulls in terms of the team&rsquo;s &quot;<a href="http://www.wunc.org/post/can-chicagos-bulls-beat-defending-champion-miami-heat" target="_blank">passion</a>&quot; and &quot;<a href="http://www.nba.com/bulls/news/noah-named-2012-13-nba-all-defensive-first-team.html" target="_blank">grit</a>&quot;.</p><p>And that has me seeing red.</p><p>Don&rsquo;t get me wrong. The Bulls do play with a lot of passion. And sure, with all their injuries, it must be painful duty in the paint right now.</p><p>But these are professional players and this is playoff ball.&nbsp; That the Bulls have gotten this far is because they&rsquo;ve trained to get here, and not just because they care or have passion. That&rsquo;s like saying a nurse is great at his job because he&rsquo;s just a genuinely caring person. That might well be the case, or it might not. Either way, it&rsquo;s entirely beside the point.</p><p>Similarly, the Bulls are a good team because in addition to whatever passion lies beneath their red jerseys, they&rsquo;re also incredibly talented. They have discipline. They work hard. They didn&rsquo;t get to the playoffs because they&rsquo;re gritty. They&rsquo;re got there because they have a phenomenal coach and because they&rsquo;ve learned how to play as a team.</p><p>I don&rsquo;t know what will happen tonight at the United Center.&nbsp; I know the Bulls have the skills to win. And if anyone still doubts that, today <a href="http://www.nba.com/bulls/news/noah-named-2012-13-nba-all-defensive-first-team.html" target="_blank">Joakim Noah was named to the 2012-2013 NBA All Defensive First Team</a>, the first bull to make it since the 1997-98 season, during the so-called Jordan years. Chicago has waited a long time for another basketball dynasty, for what some of us think, even if he&rsquo;s been sidelined all season, are the beginning of the &ldquo;Rose years&rdquo;.</p><p>I just wonder when &ndash; if ever &ndash; the rest of basketball nation is going to catch up.</p><p><em>Alison Cuddy is WBEZ&rsquo;s Arts and Culture reporter. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/wbezacuddy" target="_blank">@wbezacuddy</a>, on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/cuddyalison?ref=tn_tnmn" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and on <a href="http://instagram.com/cuddyreport#" target="_blank">Instagram</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 13 May 2013 16:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-05/chicago-bulls-get-no-respect-107147 Bulls look to bounce back in Game 2 tonight http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-04/bulls-look-bounce-back-game-2-tonight-106761 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_bulls_seth_wenig.jpg" style="float: right; height: 297px; width: 300px;" title="Bulls hope to have a better outcome tonight in Game 2 against Brooklyn. (AP/File)" />Panic for the Bulls? No, leave that reaction to the fans. Concern? Not quite yet.</p><p>On Saturday, the Bulls had an embarrassing 106-89 loss to the Nets in Brooklyn.</p><p>A win tonight is not a must, but to leave New York down 0-2 would be tough when they return to play in Chicago on Thursday.</p><p>It was a surprise that Joakim Noah was able to start the playoff opener after he indicated Friday that he may sit out with his sore foot. Although Noah was limited and is dealing with pain, his effort was noble against the Nets All-Star center Brooks Lopez.</p><p>After Sunday&rsquo;s practice, coach Tom Thibodeau said Noah and a banged up Kirk Hinrich will both make the effort to be in the starting line-up. Hinrich suffered a thigh bruise from a screen set by Brooklyn&rsquo;s Reggie Evans.</p><p>What do the Bulls need to steal a win at the Barclays Center?</p><p>Turn up their defense and try to get the Nets Deron Williams out of any shooting rhythm. The Bulls strongest attribute is their defense. \If they let down that part of their game they are sunk. You cannot allow a team to shoot 55 percent from the field in the playoffs. Williams is not the only Brooklyn weapon, but is their best.</p><p>Lopez is a good scoring center, but he can also be scored on. The Bulls collectively have to make the Nets work on every offensive possession, no easy baskets, otherwise, their confidence will improve as the game and series continues.</p><p>If there is one player the Bulls need to get back on his game, it is Luol Deng. His leadership as a defender and movement without the ball allows the Bulls to score. There is no telling if Deng is bothered by the several injuries he endured over the course of the season. His role is essential if the Bulls want to extend and possibly win the series.</p><p>The only players who had decent offensive stats in Game 1 were Carlos Boozer with 25 points and 8 rebounds and Nate Robinson with 17 points off the bench. They need more production up and down the lineup. Points-in-the-paint is a matter that the Bulls will want to dominate and get to the free throw line.</p><p>Thibodeau needs to &ldquo;coach up&rdquo; tonight. Playoffs are about a series of adjustments, and it is up to Thibodeau to make them. Maybe Noah should come off the bench. The Bulls are a battered and bruised team and they have to go in now as &ldquo;Road Warriors&rdquo;. They have to take the crowd out of the game, attack the Nets and grab the tempo. If the Bulls can make it more their plodding and physical style, it makes it a tougher game for a crowd to get into.</p><p>It doesn&rsquo;t feel right to see Derrick Rose on the bench. It must be a reminder to the team of what they are missing, especially since he has been working out and practicing. Right now mental focus is a factor and having Rose there may be a distraction.</p><br /><p><em>Follow Cheryl on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout" target="_blank">@CRayeStout </a>and Facebook <a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame" target="_blank">Cheryl Raye Stout #AtTheGame&nbsp;</a></em></p></p> Mon, 22 Apr 2013 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-04/bulls-look-bounce-back-game-2-tonight-106761 Bulls' coach Tom Thibodeau has the toughest job in Chicago sports http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-04/bulls-coach-tom-thibodeau-has-toughest-job-chicago-sports-106577 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_thibodeau_rich_pedroncelli.jpg" style="float: right; height: 393px; width: 300px;" title="Life has not been easy for Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. (AP/File)" />Right now, the toughest job in Chicago sports belongs to Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau. Last night the Bulls lost another close one: 101-98 to Toronto at the United Center. Thibodeau admitted after the game that they are struggling.</p><p>You may argue that Cubs manager Dale Sveum has a more difficult gig. But he knew what the circumstances were from the moment he took the job.</p><p>Thibodeau knew a season without Derrick Rose would not be easy, yet he never made excuses. A season with several other starters on the bench may have been insurmountable for other head coaches.</p><p>The first two years at the helm of the Bulls, Thibodeau guided his team to the best record in the NBA. In 2011, the club had an exciting playoff run, including the Eastern Conference Finals. Last year the Bulls looked poised for a long run, but the horrible ACL tear to Rose&rsquo;s knee and Joakim Noah&rsquo;s badly sprained ankle ended all hopes. Most NBA predictors ahead of this regular season figured the Bulls would be lucky to be a .500 team or even make the playoffs. They will participate in the post-season, but are undermanned.</p><p>Imagine a coach looking at the bench and seeing starters Rose, Noah, Luol&nbsp;Deng and Richard Hamilton and top sixth man Taj Gibson wearing street clothes instead of Bulls jerseys.</p><p>Yesterday Hamilton made his first appearance since late February. Marco Belinelli is slowly making his way on the court. Noah has had a set back with his foot injury since playing Sunday in Detroit. There is no known return date for the Bulls All-Star center.</p><p>This depleted M*A*S*H unit have beaten some good teams and won games no one figured they could at this point. But they have suffered some dreadful losses, including the last two games.</p><p>The only constant this season had been the Bulls head coach. People not familiar with the day-to-day routine have criticized Thibodeau. These critics think he is too tough on the team. But he has been careful about scheduling practices, especially after a road game. Thibodeau has given his players the day completely off several times, or scheduled film sessions with light work-outs. It has to be a difficult decision considering this coach loves to teach and practices are where that work is done.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Another thankless aspect of Thibodeau&rsquo;s job has been answering every question concerning Rose&#39;s return. He is asked after every practice, before and after games. With only five games left, the odds of the former MVP coming back are slim. At this point is makes little sense.</p><p>The team&rsquo;s front office made several impactful choices this season due to Rose&rsquo;s status, particularly with the bench. How nice it would have been to have Omer Asik, Ronnie Brewer, C.J. Watson or Kyle Korver to be part of this team. Several players on this year&rsquo;s roster, like Jimmy Butler and Nate Robinson, have been helpful putting the Bulls in the position they are right now. However, this team seems to be running out of steam.</p><p><em>Follow Cheryl on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout" target="_blank">@CRayeStout</a>&nbsp;and Facebook <a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame" target="_blank">Cheryl Raye Stout #AtTheGame</a>&nbsp;</em></p></p> Wed, 10 Apr 2013 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-04/bulls-coach-tom-thibodeau-has-toughest-job-chicago-sports-106577 The Bulls and Blackhawks are on the road again http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-01/bulls-and-blackhawks-are-road-again-105191 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/rsz_bulls_on_road.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In November it was the elephants and clowns taking over the United Center, now the <em>Disney on Ice</em> show takes center stage. This puts the Bulls and the Blackhawks on the road for a couple of weeks.&nbsp; During the &quot;Circus&quot; road trip the Bulls went 2-3, while most of the Hawks were still wondering if they would have a season.</p><p>The Blackhawks are on fire as they begin the shortened season with a 6-0-0 start, the best in team history. They hope is their energy and play won&#39;t cool off with the extended trip starting in Minnesota tonight, but the team is 4-0 on the road to start the season. No one is complaining about fatigue at this point, which is incredible considering they had no lengthy training camp and pre-season game schedule.</p><p><strong>The Blackhawks</strong></p><p>Here is what needs to happen for the road warriors:</p><p>-The penalty killing has been one of their best weapons; they killed six on Sunday against Detroit. It was one of the team weaknesses the past two seasons. This year they are the second best in the league, having given up just one power play goal so far.</p><p>-Corey Crawford in goal, the young goaltender has looked good after the first week in action. The team hopes he has matured into the job. He earned league honors for his play; Crawford posted five of the wins, 1.78 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage. Admitting he had an up and down year last season, Crawford said he figured it out: &quot;You have to every night give your guys a chance, I am paying more attention to that.&quot;</p><p>-It is difficult to just point out any other players, since you look throughout the different lines and see great contributions. There is a nice development with Marcus Kruger and Michael Frolik after they accepted their roles on special teams.</p><p>-Racking up the wins is important with a 48-game season, they will not go undefeated, but it really feels there is a sense of urgency to posting the W&#39;s. &nbsp;</p><p><strong>The Bulls</strong></p><p>During the Michael Jordan era, the Bulls were monsters on the road.&nbsp; For those teams it was like playing at home since it was a pro-Bulls, well actually, pro-Michael crowds in most arenas.&nbsp;</p><p>This season the Bulls have fared well away from the United Center, they hope last Saturday&rsquo;s loss to the Wizards in Washington was a hiccup and not a long range concern.</p><p>Tom Thibodeau&rsquo;s team will play ten of their next twelve games on the road, sandwiched in between are home games with Miami and San Antonio.</p><p>Here is what they need to do:</p><p>-Don&rsquo;t play down to their opponents, after a huge home win against Golden State on Friday they got tripped up in D.C. They begin with Milwaukee tonight, and the Bucks have beaten the Bulls twice at the United Center.</p><p>-Tough weekend, they travel to Brooklyn and Atlanta back to back. These will be a good test with these clubs. The Nets feel Joakim Noah&rsquo;s place on the All-Star team should have gone to Brooklyn Center Brooks Lopez. Atlanta will be looking for revenge. Just two weeks ago, the Bulls held them to 58 points, 5 in the second quarter, in the 97-58 final.</p><p>-Health will be a key, Luol Deng has returned from his hamstring injury, and Richard Hamilton is still limited with his foot problems.</p><p>-One nice dilemma for Coach Thibodeau is getting the minutes for his second year player Jimmy Butler after his success filling in for Deng. He is athletic, can defend and is full of energy- a nice commodity to have to come off the bench.</p><p>-As the days go by and the information is scarce, Derrick Rose continues to work out behind the curtain at the Berto.&nbsp; He has started working fully in practices. It will be interesting&nbsp;on the road in a non-controlling environment if the team will be able to shield what the Bulls guard is up to--especially in New York.</p><p>-When I asked All-Star&nbsp;Joakim Noah why this team has played so well on the road, he said with a wry smile, &ldquo;We cherish the villain role.&rdquo; &nbsp;Since they are leaving because of a Disney ice show, I asked what villain he was, &ldquo;Captain Hook,&rdquo; he said.&nbsp;</p><p>This Bulls&nbsp;team feels pretty good right now and when Rose comes back, expectations will go through the roof.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Follow Cheryl on Twitter @CRayeStout&lt;<a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout">https://twitter.com/Crayestout</a>&gt; and Facebook Cheryl Raye Stout #AtTheGame <a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame">http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame</a></p></p> Wed, 30 Jan 2013 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-01/bulls-and-blackhawks-are-road-again-105191 Bulls center should be an All-Star http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-01/bulls-center-should-be-all-star-104817 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_joakim_noah_-matt_slocum.jpg" style="height: 421px; width: 620px;" title="Joakim Noah has been playing at a higher level this year. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)" /></div><p>He isn&#39;t a fan favorite outside of Chicago, but Joakim Noah should get some fan votes for this year&#39;s NBA All-Star team.</p><p>With the voting ending this weekend, it is highly unlikely he will collect enough of those votes to secure a berth on this year&#39;s Eastern Conference starting unit. It will be up to the league&#39;s coaches to give him a spot. The Bulls don&rsquo;t have the best overall record, like in past seasons, mainly because of Derrick Rose&#39;s absence and the roster upheaval. But the&nbsp;team&nbsp;has played better than most people expected and Noah is one of the main factors.</p><p>There are several reasons why he deserves a trip to Toyota Park in Houston to play in the <a href="http://allstarballot.nba.com/">NBA All-Star Game on February 17.</a></p><ul><li>His numbers have improved year to year and this year has been significant. Noah has averaged over 12 points, 10 rebounds and four assists per game.&nbsp;Noah has 16 double-doubles on the season and 14 games with five-plus assists. His 10 games with a points/rebound double-double and at least five assists are tied for first in the NBA this season with LeBron James. One of the biggest jumps in his numbers is at the free-throw line he entered the year with a 72 percent career mark-this season he at 81 percent. He is also now on the floor an extended time averaging over 39 minutes per game. Joakim&#39;s year to year improvement is not lost on Coach Tom Thibodeau, who said: &quot;He came into camp in great shape, he has gotten more confident with his shot at 17 feet, he has always been a terrific passer, an unselfish player and he plays well defensively.&rdquo;</li></ul><ul><li>Opposing teams no longer think of him as a one dimensional player. Assistant coach Ed Pinkney gave an example from Monday&#39;s Cleveland game: &quot;Typically when there is an active front line player (like Joakim), usually one guy takes him , they (Cavs) were all communicating amongst themselves to keep him off the glass,&quot; Pinkney said. &quot;He does so many other things, he can make plays for you.&quot; The Bulls assistant said Noah&#39;s offense has been &quot;an area of focus&quot;</li></ul><ul><li>This year many NBA &ldquo;experts&rdquo; expected to see the Bulls struggling, as the team&nbsp;waits for Derrick Rose&rsquo;s return from his knee injury. Yes, there are times when they lose games to lesser opponents (like Milwaukee on Wednesday). However, once they got used to the new personnel the core players, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng (an All-Star last year) and recently Carlos Boozer (a former All-Star) put the team in position to be in a respectable playoff spot. There should be a reward for this team&rsquo;s effort and Noah and/or Deng deserve All-Star consideration. If you can only have one Bull, Noah would be a solid choice.</li></ul><ul><li>How about this reason&mdash;he would be a blast to have with the spotlight on him. His energy and ethusiasm for the game is unquestioned.The beauty of a Joakim Noah is he likes to have fun and can be as irreverent as anyone. He will say what he thinks and enjoys the moment.</li></ul><p>On the NBA All-Star ballot there is no longer a category for centers. There is a listing for front court and back court. Forwards LeBron James of Miami, New York&rsquo;s Carmelo Anthony and Boston&rsquo;s Kevin Garnett are the leading vote getters in Noah&rsquo;s category. Bulls General Manager Gar Forman would love to see Joakim Noah selected to his first All-Star game. &ldquo;He has been a big part of our success over the year, he is having a real special year and I hope he makes it,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>You may wonder why I didn&rsquo;t talk to Joakim about this. He is one of those players that doesn&#39;t like to speak about his accolades. So it felt best to let the people that have watched him grow and develop give him the boost for a game that he should be a part of this year. From my vantage point there is no question he belongs . If the Chicago fans can&rsquo;t stuff the ballot box, hopefully the NBA coaches will get it done.</p><p>Follow Cheryl on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout" target="_blank">@CRayeStout</a> and Facebook <a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame" target="_blank">Cheryl Raye Stout #AtTheGame </a></p></p> Fri, 11 Jan 2013 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-01/bulls-center-should-be-all-star-104817 Bulls clinch No. 1 seed in playoffs http://www.wbez.org/news/sports/bulls-clinch-no-1-seed-playoffs-98604 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP120426153561.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>John Lucas III scored a career-high 25 points, Joakim Noah had 13 points and 13 rebounds, and the Chicago Bulls clinched the top overall seed in the NBA playoffs with a 107-75 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers Thursday night.</p><p>Noah said after the game that everything the team has done this year has been in preparation for the playoffs.</p><p>"You know it's not easy, it's gonna be a lot of hard work, there's gonna be a lot highs and lows but we're gonna keep fighting and hopefully that's enough to get the nice, little ring at the end," Noah said.<br><br>With the No. 1 seed in the East already in hand and the playoffs beginning on Saturday, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau took no chances in the regular-season finale. He rested Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and Kyle Korver.</p><p>Chicago will host Philadelphia tomorrow. Tristan Thompson scored 13 points for the Cavaliers, who lost<br>four straight games to end the season, their second straight last-place finish in the Central Division.</p><p>Kyrie Irving, who had a late-season sprained right shoulder and is recovering from the flu, did not play.<br><br>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 27 Apr 2012 13:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/sports/bulls-clinch-no-1-seed-playoffs-98604 Obama raises cash while trying to reassure Chicago base http://www.wbez.org/story/barack-obama/obama-raises-cash-while-trying-reassure-chicago-base-85216 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-15/112214534.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel introduced President Barack Obama at a presidential fundraiser Thursday." class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-April/2011-04-15/112214535.jpg" style="width: 450px; height: 300px;" title="Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel introduced President Barack Obama at a presidential fundraiser Thursday. (Getty/Scott Olson)"></p><p>President Barack Obama returns to Washington on Friday with his re-election campaign a bit richer. The president attended three fundraising events Thursday evening in Chicago.</p><p>Ticket prices topped out at $35,800, though they were as low as $100 at the largest event, on Navy Pier. The president opened his remarks with a joke about how he used to have trouble finding a parking spot there.</p><p>"It is good be be back in Chicago. It's good to be back in Navy Pier," Mr. Obama said. "And I didn't have to pay for parking. I remember driving around that parking lot, taking Malia and Sasha to the Children's Museum. Can't find a spot, you keep on going up, around and around and around. It's a lot smoother these days."</p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483440-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-april/2011-04-15/obama-navy-pier.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p>The president played to the hometown crowd, leading a chant&nbsp; of "MVP" for Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose, who'd spoken earlier. Mr. Obama used his praise of Rose to tease his former chief of staff, Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel, who introduced the president at the rally.</p><p>"Before I begin, I want to pay tribute to a friend who's recently taken over this town. He's become the most powerful man in Chicago. Unbelievable energy - sharp elbows, but has brought Chicagoans a new sense of hope about our future. Give it up for Derrick Rose," Mr. Obama said to cheers. "I suppose Rahm is doing a pretty good job, too."</p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483440-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-april/2011-04-15/obama-derrick-rose.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p>The president also had kind words about Joakim Noah, though he mispronounced the Bulls center's first name.</p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483440-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-april/2011-04-15/obama-noah.mp3">&nbsp;</audio><br> <br> Mr. Obama did eventually talk about his first two years in office. He listed accomplishments, including a repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" military policy, the confirmation of two female Supreme Court justices and passage of health care overhaul legislation. &nbsp;</p><p>The president also discussed an "extraordinary array of challenges."<br> <br> "Along the way we had to deal with pirates. Who thought we were going to have to deal with pirates? That wasn't in my campaign platform," the president said to laughter. "Pandemic, earthquakes...oil spills. I - don't forget oil spills. Golly."</p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483440-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-april/2011-04-15/obama-pirates.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p>This night was about the future, though: bankrolling the 2012 campaign.</p><p>Organizers expected 2300 people at the Navy Pier event, where tickets cost $100, or $250 for what were called "preferred tickets." Earlier, the president attended two higher-priced dinner events at a pair of swank Chicago restaurants, hosting 225 people.</p><p>The visit comes about a week after the president filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission, technically declaring his candidacy.</p><p>As he seeks to build support and attempt to recreate some of the enthusiasm that catapulted him to the office just over two years ago, Mr. Obama is looking to shore up his base. That was reflected in his speech Thursday night at Navy Pier.</p><p>"I know there are times where some of you have felt frustrated because we've had to compromise on some issues," the president said. "People are frustrated because we didn't get everything done in the first two years."</p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483440-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-april/2011-04-15/obama-greyer.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p>Th crowd at the fundraiser included at least a few people who were somewhat frustrated by the first half of President Obama's term.<br> <br> "I guess he knows what he's doing, and maybe we'll see what his grand plan is," said Paul Ciciora of Chicago's Rogers Park neighborhood. "But in the short term it looks like he gave away a lot. It seemed like he had a lot more power than he used."</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Paul Ciciora and Mo Cahill await the president's speech." class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-April/2011-04-15/P1010364.JPG" style="width: 350px; height: 234px;" title="Paul Ciciora and Mo Cahill await the president's speech. (WBEZ/Sam Hudzik)"></p><p>In particular, Ciciora does not like how the president compromised on extending the Bush-era tax cuts. But he and his wife are supporting Mr. Obama in 2012.</p><p>"He's still our president. We're Democrats. We think this is the way the country should be. I mean, we're not going to give up. We're realists," Ciciora said. "What's the alternative, right?"</p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483440-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-april/2011-04-15/ciciora.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p>The alternative is not yet set, though a number of Republicans are at various stages of announcing their presidential campaigns. The field of potential GOP candidates includes - but is certainly not limited to - Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.</p><p>President Obama closed out his speech Thursday evening by asking his donors for more help in the run-up to the 2012 campaign.<br> <br> "I want you to remind everybody else those simple words that summed up what we believed as a people," he said. "'Yes we can.'"<br> <br> The president then put on a Bulls cap, shook some hands and left to spend a night at his home in the Kenwood neighborhood.</p></p> Fri, 15 Apr 2011 06:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/barack-obama/obama-raises-cash-while-trying-reassure-chicago-base-85216