Sport The Last Dance: Luc Longley - The man in the middle during the Chicago Bulls' 1997/98 season
Chicago mom who is visually impaired mourns fatally shot teen son who helped her get around
Brittany Benson, a Chicago mother of three children who has trouble seeing, will no longer be able to depend on her 15-year-old son to help her get around after he was killed in a shooting on Wednesday, according to a Chicago Sun-Times report. "I told him, ‘You are my eyes,'" she told the local newspaper. "This was one of my biggest fears… I told him, I love you and I don’t want this to happen to you. One of the worst calls a mom can get is that their son is dead." Benson's story is one of many tragic episodes that are playing out across Chicago on a daily basis.
Headlined by Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman, the Chicago Bulls were the juggernaut of sports in the 1990s.
Among the star-studded team, Australian big man Luc Longley was holding it down in the middle, starting 58 games at center during the 1997/98 regular season and 15 of their 20 playoff games, featured in The Last Dance documentary, chronicling their championship run that season.
After being drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the no.7 pick in the 1991 NBA Draft, Longley was traded to the Bulls during the 1993/94 season following their first three-peat, as Jordan retired from the NBA to try his hand at baseball.
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After mainly being used as a backup big, Longley became the team's full-time starter in the 1995/96 season — Jordan's first full season back in the league, but it took time to find their footing.
“I’d have to say after he came back, I really didn’t like the guy,” Longley wrote in his 1996 book Running With the Bulls. “I found him difficult to be around and he and I obviously didn’t see eye-to-eye. We were at each other’s throats in practice and … that was a case of frustration from both of us, mostly from him.”
“Perhaps if I was more of a Bulls fan and had read up on him I would have realised what he was, what he is.”
Things quickly changed as the 7'2" giant proved to be a critical piece in the Bulls' success, priding himself on doing the dirty work — grabbing rebounds, playing hard-nosed defence, protecting the rim and setting screens, the latter which Jordan missed the most
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“That was when Michael’s and my relationship went to the next level,”“He realised, at that stage, how good my screens were — how useful I was.”
Just a few weeks prior, Longley put on a show in a win over the Detroit Pistons, scoring 16 points, all coming in a dizzying first-quarter performance.
Longley went on to win three championships with the Bulls and was the team's fourth-leading scorer during their record-setting 72-10 season in 1996, averaging 9.1 points per game and 5.1 rebounds.
Throughout The Last Dance season, Longley averaged a career-high 11.4 points per game, adding 5.9 rebounds, and 2.8 assists.
After the Bulls broke up in 1998, Longley was traded to the Phoneix Suns where he played two seasons, before injuries limited him to just 25 games in his final NBA season for the New York Knicks in 200/01.
Luc Longley's documentary One Giant Leap is set to air Monday August 2 on ABCTV, with Part 2 the following Monday, August 9.
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Chicago violence: 5 dead, 50 shot amid bloody weekend .
At least 5 people were killed and 50 others were injured in shootings across Chicago this weekend, according to authorities. Chicago police said one man was killed and another was wounded early Sunday in a shooting in the city's Near West Side. The two men – ages 30 and 36 – were outside around 2:56 a.m. when they were hit, Chicago's WBBM-TV reported. The 30-year-old was pronounced dead after being shot multiple times in the chest and abdomen. The other man was shot once in the chest and was listed in serious condition.