Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro scored 33 points and added 12 assists to lead an 85-79 win over the Spurs of the National Basketball Senior League in the team’s season opener on Thursday.
“We wanted to mix it up a little bit,” said Del Negro, who played for the Spurs for six years in the ’90s, but hasn’t played in an NBA game since 2002. “Those guys [the Spurs] are all really old, so we wanted to take it easy on them a bit.”
The Spurs, whose roster is filled with players who joined the league when Bulls guard Derrick Rose was in grade school, recently made the switch to the NBSL after acquiring geriatric forwards Theo Ratliff and Antonio McDyess.
“It just felt right to move into the 35-and-older league,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who is no spring chicken himself. “Guys like Tim Duncan, Michael Finley and Manu Ginobili just can’t run with these young pups anymore. My god, they’ll break a hip!”
In addition to have their 43-year-old coach play significant minutes, the Bulls also had the recently injured Rose play while hopping on one foot the entire game. Center/forward Joakim Noah also played with one arm tied to his pony tail.
By Matthew Wood, intrepid reporter