Rip practiced today and spoke to the media. And boy, is this cat suave! Its like this guy has an answer for EVERYTHING. It is almost as if he is a 12 year veteran and has been coached over and over by an agent about what to say to make everyone smile. Well, NB was on hand to ask questions. It is impossible to say he was answering my questions or someone else’s, but I will write it as it happened.
Judas Pato: I assume you did not talk to former teammates – say Ben Wallace – about your decision to come to the Bulls. Otherwise you would have not signed, right?
Rip: I talked to Lindsey (Hunter) for hours. I talked to Ben Wallace for hours. I even talked to BG (Ben Gordon). They had nothing but positive, good things to say about the organization. So I was happy.
JP: Huh. So, there was that whole mutiny thing last year, any comment on that?
R: I never had an issue with coach Kuester. Everyone said. But if you look in the media you never heard a comment come out of my mouth, you never heard a comment come out of his mouth.
JP: Hm… kings to you! I suppose you are planning on coming in and playing 40 minutes a game and padding your stats, possibly making a run at the HOF?
R: I’m coming here to do whatever coach and organization want me to do. If they want me to come in and play 20 minutes, I’ll do that. If they want me play 30, I’ll do that. Whatever I’ll be fine. My biggest thing is I want to win a world championship.
JP: Suave. Fist bum. [JP goes for an unsuccessful fist bum] Word. Tell me more about the team.
R: [looks longingly toward the ceiling] Rip comes from my dad, small town. I was always looked at as little Rip because my dad was big Rip. It kind of stuck with me as a kid. One time Dick Vitale said it on TV, so now everyone calls me Rip.
JP: So, team first? Cool. I assume you will fall in-line with the whole headband rule then, right?
R: Headband, mask. That’s my look. That’s my cape. I can’t live without it. I can’t play without it. It’s kind of like my twist. I have no idea (if it’s OK with the Bulls).
JP: Twist, eh? Sure. A lot of people say that you look like that slow kid in school who just runs around a bunch, chasing his demons and grows up to be Wesley Willis. Any comment?
R: My game is running around. A lot of it is endurance. Doing things guys hate to guard. I think that will allow me to play for a long time. So I keep working on my craft.
JP: In the end, how do you think you will help this Bulls team?
R: Everyone called me Richard. Now it’s Rip.
JP: What’s wrong with you? Have you lost your mind?
R: The only thing I’ve lost is that trophy when I was 26. Now I want to get that thing back.
JP: Once again, suave, Rip, suave. Anymore suave and you would be walking with a panther.