Offended By Needless ‘Big Mac’ Points? Find A Way To Stop ‘Em Earlier

CHICAGO – The problem with the end-of-game, scoreboard-related promotion at United Center isn’t that fans can turn their ticket stubs into Big Macs after any game in which the Bulls score 100 points.

The problem is that a giveaway more in line with the team’s character would be better suited. Say, fans qualify for said burger whenever coach Tom Thibodeau‘s hounds hold the opponent to 85 points or less.

But we live in a big-round-numbers world, so scoring 100 points it is. Which, in the aftermath of the Bulls’ 99-93 home victory over Orlando Tuesday, shouldn’t be any problem at all – or source of controversy — for Chicago or center Joakim Noah. Or, for that matter, any Magic personnel who have their shorts in a bunch.

So Noah launched a needless 3-pointer in the waning seconds of the victory (he explains what went wrong with it above), rather than letting the clock run out. So he was embarrassed, maybe, over missing a free throw 20 seconds earlier that could have clinched the fast-food menu item for the 21,216 sellout crowd – and the fact that teammate Kirk Hinrich missed two foul shots with 10 seconds left to further disappoint the fans.

So the Orlando Sentinel sought out Magic players like J.J. Redick, who felt Noah’s heave was “unnecessary.” And Ish Smith, who said the Orlando players “noticed.”

So what.

Noah apparently got an earful from Thibodeau, though the coach wouldn’t tell reporters after practice Wednesday what was said. After the game, Noah — who plays passionately and connects with fans in ways many of his peers do not — already was sounding more sheepish, as per an ESPNChicago.com report:

“I got caught up in the moment,” Noah admitted after the game.

Despite the fact the Bulls had won, many fans booed the team as the final buzzer sounded.

“I regret it a little bit,” Noah said. “It wasn’t a good shot.

“You have to respect the game because you never know what can happen in a game. I just got caught up in the moment and I was trying to get the people a Big Mac. They really wanted a Big Mac [judging by how loud the crowd was getting] and I felt like, not only did I take the shot and miss the shot, we didn’t even get the Big Mac. Next time, I won’t take that 3-pointer.”

That’s fine. That’s a personal call or might even qualify as a team rule — though some fans surely will boo and go home grumpy after that decision, too.

What isn’t needed is scolding or chiding of Noah or any other player who similarly “goes for it” at such a silly scoreboard threshold. Management cut that 100-points sponsorship deal for a reason. The revenues it brings in from McDonald’s all go in the big pile of money of that NBA owners, staff, coaches and players divvy up. This isn’t anything new, by the way; this correspondent attended a Suns-Jazz game in New Orleans in 1977 where the Superdome crowd began chanting “FRENCH fries! FRENCH fries!” when Pete Maravich & Co. got close to what back then surely was 120 points or so as the goal.

It gives fans who pay royally for tickets something extra for which to cheer — especially in games where injuries keep Derrick Rose or Jameer Nelson and other names out.

In this case, it all backfired, as noted in The Point Forward blog on SI.com:

The funniest part here: Noah goes home with everyone mad at him. The Magic think he’s a poor sport. His coach thinks he should know better and show more professionalism. And, perhaps most importantly, Bulls fans go home upset that he didn’t even hit the shot to deliver the goods. Brutal.

Enough, though, with these so-called “unwritten rules” designed only to save face for the losing team. They stop trying, so the winners are required to stop trying as well? Yeah, that’s great competitiveness.

If a team puts such a promotion in — and cashes the checks — it ought to honor and go for it. Keep the fans’ feeling a part of things, and throw ‘em a burger for their troubles. As for the Magic or any other losing side getting all sideways, they’d do well to heed the view of a longtime respected NBA coach.

Asked how he felt about the alleged insult of a late 3-pointer in a lopsided game – or any perceived attempt to run up a score that no longer matters – his response was: “Stop ‘em then. You ought to feel worse about the points that got them there.”

Orlando lost again 24 hours later in Minnesota. It got beat by 15. But at least the Timberwolves only got to 90.

47 Comments

  1. U-Nugget says:

    LMAO, Thats the best thing ive heard all year. good on ya noah. with out fans there is no NBA. Id rather have a dude wanting to give out big macs then a guy like artest wanting to blue with your fans LOLOLOL.

  2. William says:

    With all the poor people in Chicago ,come on you could do better they are starving!!

  3. Maf says:

    Funny how almost everyone thinks it’s ok, yet journalist will make case of it… I watched Detroit at Denver game and fans very pretty upset Andre Miller didn’t try to bring them tacos for 110 points. And not to forget. There are teams with problems to fill up their arenas. Like Hawks first home game? It looked half-full at most. Make your fans happy. Show effort and bring them free food! :)

  4. Whatever says:

    The problem here is that the fans then get a big mac. that is so ridiculous. something like 70% of americans
    are obice. they should get a carrot. american culture is so….. ah, why even bother.

  5. eee says:

    hey jj and ish realise who pays your wages you di**heads

  6. jeff says:

    I’m a Magic Fan and support him. He didn’t do it to run up the score or pad his states. He did it to get the fans a free Big Mac. Good for you Noah……Makes me like you more…

  7. Dixie Eli - TN says:

    y’all’re only here becausa the fans, for the fans
    enough of this politicaly correct bulls**t

  8. Steevo says:

    It’s funny when you read the comments, everyone likes what Jo did. Maybe it’s time to realize that most journalists, players and coaches just write/coach/play for themselves and therefore don’t realize that what Joakim did was nice. But hey, you know, not playing the last 20 sec is more important thant respecting the fans.

  9. Kamote says:

    The problem here is that Noah took the shot, and he ain’t a three-point shooter. If Deng, or anyone else who shoot threes took that same shot and missed it, there wouldn’t be any issue. The Magic players would’ve done the same thing if the situation was reversed. I think Thibs was just pissed that Noah even tried to shoot the three (much like when Bynum did it last year). There’s just so much hype in this issue, just effin’ nonsense.

  10. bulls and heat fan says:

    Joakim Noah still the best guy … who cares man … your sincerity will be rewarded ! Peace out!

  11. wynnfab says:

    The game isn’t over until its over, its supposed to be played until the last second runs out. I don’t see any problem with a player shooting the last shot if there is still time even if the outcome of the game wont change. Why put a time clock if it is not meant to be played?

  12. bu says:

    Can’t blame Noah. We can’t expect him to balance interests for his team, coach, players, opposing team & media because their mktg dept think up this swkward & useful promotion. It’s the organization’s responsibilities to let the players focus on doing what they’re supposed to be doing, i.e. winning games. Creating some fun with it together with fans is fine but not like this.

  13. Drifty says:

    Has everyone forgotten the shambles of last year’s reduced playing season and the damage it did to the fan base? You’d think the players would be more concerned about continually improving the relationship that was under severe stress between players and fans at the time…Once again, players (magic) thinking only of themselves…Have a bit of fun, show the fans that they are and will always be the core of the game’s success.

    Typical, you’d think they would have learned…

  14. Le2e says:

    The only bad 3 taken that night was the desperation 3 big baby took with plenty of time left on the shot clock and they were only down 3-4 points with about a minute to go. Big baby ruined a very winnable game for orlando.

  15. Chicago Bowls says:

    I don’t care what any of the talking heads have to say, at the end of that game me and all my buddies were not only grinning ear to ear we were rooting for the guy to take it! Barring a 6 point play with 3.6 seconds left, I think it was the best shot on the floor – for entertainment value.

  16. Bob Slydell says:

    It’s time for the Bulls to start losing and let other teams in the playoff picture. They’re not going anywhere this year without D-Rose, so it really irks me to see Bulls fans boo their team when their team is annoyingly winning game after game. Tom Thibodeau cares way too much about his regular season record and doesn’t know how to manage his players’ minutes.

    • Sangers says:

      Your comment is so funny. It’s so ironic that you are saying that the Bulls should not try to achieve the best regular season record they can since they will not wni it all without D.Rose; so they should lose to the point of not making the playoffs and let a team who could win it all get in. …this is the exact attitude that is being debated on this wall. That people should stop trying once the game is out of reach. Ludicrous!

      Furthermore, if the Bulls dropping out of the playoffs opens the door for a team that would have otherwise been #9 in their conference …that team really has a worse chace of winning it all than the Bulls. Maybe that team shouldn’t bother trying to win either? So absurd!

  17. Rooney says:

    The orlando magic, its fans, the organisation and team are all babies

  18. Trebor85 says:

    Fans pay the money to pay you… Why not show them appreciation? Douche bag players and coaches! Grats to Noah for trying…

  19. sam says:

    In the end the NBA is a form of entertainment.. Give Noah a break, we all want a free big mac after all.

  20. If you’ve ever been to the United Center, you know the fans wanted him to take the shot. It didn’t cost them the game, no big deal.

  21. Nuggs Fan says:

    Ha! Gallinari did the exact same thing the other night against the Pistons.. The crown was chanting “we want tacos!” so he went for it, and nobody kicked up a stink!

  22. Philly says:

    Amazing that the issue here is the running of the clock and not the handing out of rubbish food.

  23. Jorge says:

    That’s actually pretty cool on his part. He did it with good intentions. Only 1 more point and the fans had it. He knew the fans wanted it, as stated in this article, so he did what he could. The Orlando squad should understand that and stop crying about it. They’d probably do the same if the could.

  24. mtroy19189 says:

    As a Magic fan I have to agree with the player for the Bulls…The game was not a blow out, the Magic were only down 4 with a few minutes to go. I would call out noah for his antics during the game..the pistol shooting holster thing which frankly look like his having some sort of conniption fit or a Turrets attack. Act like you’ve been there..Typical Gator

    • Edub says:

      Only because you’re on the losing team’s side you feel like this. Are you saying that if it were a blowout then it would more appropriate? If you were in the crowd on the winning teams side if Orlando ahd a deal with some restaurant then you would want the player to score. It’s an unwritten rule and I feel as if your one of thos hypocrites that feel that if you already know you’re going to lose then the other team should “save face” for you.

  25. Say what? says:

    Why did the fans boo? At least someone was looking out for them.

  26. James Bates says:

    In the 80’s the Dallas Mavericks had a promotion with Pizza Inn where if the Mavs win and score 125 points the attending fans would get a coupon for a free personal pan pizza. If the score was in the 90’s at the end of the 3rd quarter, the crowd would yell pizza, pizza for the entire 4th quarter. At that time I used to call Dale Ellis “PizzaMan” because he scored the final points to get a free pizza, usually on a three-pointer. But for the most, majority of the players did not like the promotion as it put them under pressure or just did not like it altogether. So I salute Joakim Noah for trying to make a shot to get the crowd a Big Mac. And for people who say no see what the above column says.

  27. zgillet says:

    Talk about being sore losers. I’d take that shot every time and tell my coach to shove it.

  28. Ben says:

    The whole running down the clock out of respect thing should be left in the past. It’s not an issue of respect, its an issue of tradition. A tradition which honestly isn’t important. I applaud Noah for being willing to step outside of the box for just the hope that he could get the fans burgers. The players should be playing for the fans.

  29. steagle says:

    I’m glad he didn’t hit the shot, the last thing we need are more people eating Big Macs in this country.

  30. Luke says:

    Why did the fans boo? Number one: the Bulls won, who cares that much about a stupid burger? Come on. Number two: Jo did his best for you. He just isn’t a three point shooter.

  31. Anthony says:

    Why should he be scorned for trying to give back to a crowd that’s been extremely supportive especially through that bad times at the UC! I love Noah’s message he’d basically do anything for the fans that he soldiers on for every night! Thank you Noah for fighting for your fans Thibbs has to let certain things go! I know there’s a question whereas players can get chippy because your running up the score well then what’s the purpose of being called a professional if that’s not how your going to present yourself even through the most trying of times!?! The fans want a championship ultimately and along the way a burger for 2500 dollar ticket shouldn’t be a problem!

  32. dd def says:

    mad cause you didn’t get to lose with “dignity?” HA you earn that loss and you can revel in it. it’s obsured to ask people not to play cause the other guys are gonna lose. i want to see competition for 48 minutes, not 12.

  33. Jin says:

    Basketball etiquette my butt…

    I applaud you Joakim, thanks for thinking of the fans.

  34. lol says:

    if i were noah, i’ll do it all over again.

  35. beyKrewz says:

    i’d say he had good intentions but it’s basketball ‘etiquette’ to let the time run out when you have an established lead
    (requires 2-3 defensive stops) on the last possible possession.
    but come on, a burger is a burger and contented fans are most important because they keep this league afloat.

  36. MarkJ says:

    dbletech I thought the same thing when I first read it but that paragraph was talking about a question ask of some unknown coach and was not about this game.

  37. larry oconnor says:

    What a bunch of poor sports! GO FOR IT JOAKIM! I love it when players put the fans first. The stupid fans should have given him a standing ovation for sacrificing his shooting percentage to try and get their fat faces fed.

  38. Ro says:

    Wow good on you Joakim! Way to look out for the fans, and show your appreciation for them. Does it really make a difference if they win by 6 or 9? I dont get why its a big deal. People argue its about ‘Respect’. What a croc of you know what. Let them have a little fun and try to help the fans out. Think of how many youngsters that would be thrilled if Noah made that shot and they get a Big Mac on the way home. If the opponents have a problem with it, then play defense until the clock runs out.
    Once again, people in America making a huge deal out of nothing!

    • Erron says:

      I agree, what is the big deal. He was thinking of his fans. People manily the media is blowing the whole situation out of proportion.

    • Le2e says:

      I dont like noah, never had never will AND Im a magic fan but I’m not at all upset by him taking that shot. It was for the fans. It’d be a different story if that 100 points = a big mac deal wasnt in place. The fans and coaching staff should be more upset with the 2 missed FTs from hinrich, you gotta make your free throws!

  39. dbletech says:

    Did you watch the game? It wasn’t lopsided. Bulls escaped with the win.

  40. amitpal says:

    I have no problem in noah shooting the three. He was thinkong of the fans. Man does it matter if u lose by 6 or 9? No a lose is a lose. I dont why the other team gets all uptight about. Its not like noah was trying to insult. Grown men can really be babies sometimes. Its not just magic players but a lot of other teams.