Season 1 – Episode 3

Guest: Siera Santos

NBC Sports Chicago’s Sports Broadcaster & White Sox Reporter, Siera Santos, joined me on “The All Day SJ Show” this past weekend.

We discuss Year One of the White Sox rebuild, the development of Yoan Moncada and other young players and the futures of Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia.

Also, what should you expect on the South Side in 2018? How will the pitching staff look and where does Carson Fulmer fit into their plans? And finally… how did the Jose Quintana deal between the White Sox and Cubs come about?



Season 1 – Episode 2

Guest: Tony Andracki

NBC Sports Chicago’s Web Producer, Writer and Cubs Reporter, Tony Andracki, joins “The All Day SJ Show.”

We recap the Cubs 2017 season and what went wrong this postseason. We also discuss the futures of Jake Arrieta, John Lackey and Wade Davis. Also, will the Cubs part with one of their young players to land an elite starting pitcher? And finally… Bryce Harper to the Cubs in 2019? Not so fast…

The All Day SJ Show (S1, EP1)


Season 1 – Episode 1

Guest: Mark Schanowski

On the debut episode of “The All Day SJ Show,” NBC Sports Chicago’s Bulls Pre & Postgame Host, Mark Schanowski, talks the Bulls current rebuild & goals for 2018 free agency and the NBA Draft. Schanowski also touches on the Nikola Mirotic & Bobby Portis situation and whether or not it is the right time to trade Robin Lopez.

Grab the Bulls by Their Horns: Part I

A 2017-18 Season Preview for Chicago’s latest rebuild

By Steven Johnson

And here we are… another attempt at rebuilding by the Chicago Bulls. No, it is not 1999.

Elton Brand, Tyson Chandler, Eddy Curry, Ron Mercer, Brad Miller, Marcus Fizer, Jamal Crawford, Jay Williams and Kirk Hinrich are not the targets or the ‘Plan As’ of the draft lottery and free agency.

It is 2017 and this is a full-fledged rebuild. We are talking about young talent in-house, a head coach still trying to find his way and a front office who finally decided it was time. The 2017-18 Chicago Bulls are officially “tanking.”

While “tanking” is the popular buzz word for any rebuild, the fact of the matter is the Bulls are not going to be very good this season. The wheels were set in motion with the trade of Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves in June.

JB Timberwolves

The deal, which occurred after Dwyane Wade picked up his $23-million player option, signified the end of an era in Chicago. Butler, Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott were now on other teams with Nikola Mirotic being the sole player left from the Tom Thibodeau-era.

Butler was dealt for several young assets from Minnesota. The Bulls acquired point guard Kris Dunn, a high-flying and athletic scorer in Zach LaVine and the #7 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. In addition to giving up Butler, the Bulls also gave up their own 2017 first round pick.

Reaction to the trade was mixed. Fans and the media were split on confusion as to why the Bulls decided to unload one of the best two-way players in the game for what was perceived to be unequal value.

travelle gaines

There was also the segment of fans and media who felt the option of a rebuild was put off for far too long and that the Bulls were fortunate to get back what they did for Butler.

Either way, a decision was made. The Bulls front office picked a direction for the franchise and the wheels were set in motion for the future. The Bulls drafted Lauri Markkanen with the 7th overall pick.

Markkanen, a legit 7-footer, offers an intriguing skill set. A big who can shoot from inside and out, the Bulls hope he can be their version of Kristaps Porzingis.


Dunn, who the Bulls were intrigued by during the 2016 Draft, brings a ton of potential with him as he prepares for more playing time (something that was not afforded to him under Thibodeau in Minnesota).


LaVine, a proven athletic monster and Slam Dunk Champion, will take over the starting shooting guard spot when he is cleared to play. LaVine suffered a torn-ACL last season. It was horrible timing considering he was averaging 18.9 PPG and shooting nearly 39% from three.

Adam Silver

LaVine’s situation is an interesting one to watch. He will be a restricted free agent in 2018 and one has to wonder how the Bulls will play this situation when the time has come.

With LaVine coming off a serious knee injury, the Bulls might take a “wait and see” approach when it comes to discussing a contract extension or a new deal.

Regardless, the Bulls added three new young pieces to their core of young players. That is ideal for a rebuild as it allows the young players to grow with one another. It also allows Hoiberg to finally implement the style of play he has been craving on offense.

There is definitely more shooting ability with this group as LaVine, Valentine, Portis, Markkanen and Zipser have all proven they can shoot from beyond the arc. In what will surely be a difficult season, it is important to continue to develop as well as grow the games of each individual young piece.

The potential distractions are all out of the way.

Lopez is an intriguing case. He is a productive big on a cheap contract and brings a lot to the table in terms of rim protection, energy and post/midrange game. If the Bulls can flip him for a late first-round pick or a young player with upside, that would be ideal for the front office and team.

robin lopez

While rebuilding is not something Bulls fans have been used to for quite a while, the fact remains that it should have been done after the 2014-15 season.

The Bulls were in the best position to win an NBA Championship since Derrick Rose’s injury in 2012. However, the team could not get past LeBron James yet again… even with several breaks going their way.

With the decision made to fire Tom Thibodeau, the team should have committed to a major overhaul. The team built in Thibs’ image could not compete, so a new blueprint was needed. Instead, the front office brought back the same team and put Hoiberg in an undesirable position.

While the front office definitely deserves the majority of the blame for several lost seasons, they deserve credit for finally committing to a rebuild and picking a direction for a franchise which has been directionless since the 2015-16 season.

Whether the timing of the rebuild is appropriate is up to debate. There are analysts and fans on the side of both opinions. While appreciative of knowing what the direction of the Bulls will be going forward, I was in the camp of committing to the retool…

Grab the Bulls by Their Horns: Part II… Coming Soon.

new bulls jersey

Follow me on Twitter: @lAmSteveJohnson

And Still the Best Player in the NBA… Kobe Bryant

As a casual NBA fan, you are probably looking at the title of this piece and are either thinking: a) this guy is crazy, LeBron James is the best player in the NBA, b) this guy is just another bias Lakers fan or c) this guy does not know anything about basketball. Well, just like every other truth in the world, there are facts to back up my sentiment that Kobe Bryant is still the best player in the NBA, today.

In terms of popularity, Kobe Bryant has more  Facebook fans than LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. LeBron James boasts the title of “best-selling jersey” over Bryant and Wade. According to Bleacher Report’s Hadarii Jones, internationally, Kobe Bryant is the most popular athlete in the NBA. While these are nothing more than interesting tidbits, the other facts are a lot more telling.

Most NBA fans agree that LeBron James or, as of right now, Dwyane Wade, is the best player in the NBA. Both Wade and James are very talented players, however, Wade is the only one that can make a case at being the best player in the NBA when compared to Bryant.

Kobe Bryant is still the most complete player in the game, today. Bryant is an unstoppable force offensively, whether it is from mid range or beyond the three-point arc. He is also well-revered for his defense where he has been named to the NBA All-Defensive team nine times. Kobe also posseses what many sports analysts like to call “the clutch gene” or “killer instinct.” According to Henry Abbott of, Bryant is considered to be the most clutch player in the NBA. The general consensus is that when the game is on the line, Kobe Bryant would be preffered to take the last shot before LeBron James or Dwyane Wade.

The beautiful thing about sports is that there is always a debate. Everyone loves to argue who is better, Kobe Bryant or LeBron James? Kobe Bryant or Dwyane Wade? In the Bryant-James argument, the key point that fans make, according to NZSportsLife, is that LeBron has done more statistically then Kobe. However, Kobe fans and other casual fans in general, like to point out Kobe’s championships and ability to close out games better as their main point according to

While LeBron might have the edge statistically, Bryant has the edge legacy wise. The biggest number that stands out of course is Kobe’s five championship rings to LeBron’s zero. The lack of championships continues to be LeBron’s main criticism and recently, his inability to close out games in the clutch. LeBron has also recieved a lot of backlash when he chose to join the aforementioned Dwyane Wade and fellow all-star Chris Bosh to form a superteam. Many thought LeBron took the easy way out to win a championship and by doing that, as Johnathan Abrams and Catherine Skipp of the New York Times noted,  he damaged his legacy by not winning a title by being “the guy.”

Kobe Bryant, on the otherhand, has built a reputation as someone who can lead a team to a championship. Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski wrote that Bryant himself noted that this was a personal goal of his. Besides his five championship rings and overall popularity in the game, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are similar, I admit.

Both are former Most Valuable Players, multiple-time all-stars, well-renowed defensive players and they both are entertaining. However, I feel that what separates Kobe from LeBron is Kobe’s all-around game and leadership ability.

Kobe has more offensive weapons than LeBron and will lock down an opposing team’s best player. While defensively, LeBron is just as strong as Kobe, he has yet to master a reliable mid range or long range jumpshot and has not developed a post game, something Kobe has mastered. Teams can live or die by LeBron James beating them with his jumpshooting ability, while it is considered foolish to let Kobe shoot anywhere from the floor unattended. For those little but huge reasons, Kobe Bryant is the better overall player than LeBron James.

Deciding who is the best player in the NBA between Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade would be a better debate, in my opinion. When looking at both player’s respective careers, there are many similarities. Both are NBA champions, NBA Finals MVPs, multiple time all-stars, former NBA scoring champions and acclaimed defensive players. Most importantly, they have both demonstrated the ability to be “clutch” and will their team to victory, specifically in pursuit of an NBA championship. For the record, Wade has said that Kobe is still the best player in the NBA. However, respected sports analysts, such as Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless, have gone on the record making their cases as to why Dwyane Wade is the best player in the NBA.

To be perfectly honest, Wade is the only player in the league who can rival Kobe for the “best player” title. Not just because they play the same positions or because they have similar accolades, but because Wade truly means everything to the Miami Heat just as Kobe Bryant means everything to the Los Angeles Lakers.

If you take Dwyane Wade off of the Miami Heat and leave them with just LeBron James and Chris Bosh, they do not make the NBA Finals this past season or win their only championship in 2006. If you take Kobe Bryant off of the Los Angeles Lakers, it’s debatable if they even make the playoffs or have the five championship teams that Kobe was a part of. Both players are their’s respective organizations “franchise players.”

So, what truly separates Bryant and Wade for the title of best player in the NBA? I can point to Kobe’s experience, multiple championships and playoff experience in a debate while noting Wade’s two NBA finals appearances where he is 1-1. I can also point out that Wade has only made it out of the first round of the playoffs four times compared to Kobe’s twelve times. However, this is truly the toughest debate in basketball. Right now, I give Kobe the slight edge over D-Wade because of his experience and longer track record.

In conclusion, the facts do not lie. Kobe Bryant has accomplished everything there is as an NBA Player. While LeBron James definitely can match Kobe stats-wise and Dwyane Wade can make a strong, legit case as to why he is the best player in the game, at the end of the day… Kobe Bryant has just done more than both of those terrific athletes. As the best player in the NBA, “The Black Mamba” reigns supreme.