HAWL IN: From start to finish, Taj Gibson’s attitude remained true

CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 14: Taj Gibson #22 of the Chicago Bulls goes up for a dunk against the Toronto Raptors on February 14, 2017 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

CHICAGO – There is a simple and easy takeaway from another puzzling day for the Bulls over the last eight months.

If you think I am referring to the direction of the Bulls, well not really.

With the trade of Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott along with 2018 second round pick from the Thunder for Cameron Payne, Anthony Morrow and Joffrey Lauvergne, the team once again gives no indication of a true direction.

The trio of players don’t necessarily represent a foundation for a total rebuild yet don’t provide a significant boost for a playoff run in an average Eastern Conference. Once again, the team is trapped in basketball purgatory which they set out not to be in eight months ago with the trade of Derrick Rose.

On second thought, maybe that was an easy takeaway from the day. Maybe the Gar Forman-John Paxson confusion has reached such a level of frustration that it brings clarity.

What I’m referring to is Taj Gibson. There is one thing that is easy to takeaway from the day thanks to him.

He was true till the end.

Unlike many who get traded, Gibson was willing and gracious to meet with the outgoing media of the city. In his second question, he was quick to mention the emotional meeting with Paxson as he was told about his trade to Oklahoma City.

Later on, he made a point to salute everyone who helped him during his eight years with the Bulls on his Instagram account.

Today was such an emotional day for me. From the time I heard my name called by David Stern, I have been so proud and honored to be a Chicago Bull. To Jerry Reinsdorf, John Paxson, Gar Forman, Coach Thibs, and Coach Hoiberg, you have all helped me grow into who I am today. There is no way I can ever thank you enough for the opportunities you have presented to me. I will be indebted to all of you forever! To the Fans of Chicago, you have made playing for the Bulls everything I could've dreamed of and more. From the incredible support that we get every night at the United Center to the reaction I always receive walking down the streets, it would be impossible for all of you to make me feel more special. Every single one of you will always have a piece of my heart. I have also had such an incredible group of teammates and assistant coaches, who all created moments that I could have never imagined coming true. So, here is just a real heartfelt thank you to all of you for letting a New York City kid live out his dreams as a Chicago Bull. Now, it's off to OKC and a new chapter in my life and I'm so excited to see what lies ahead. All I can tell the Thunder fans is that you'll get everything I've got every single day and I'm looking forward to our journey together! #thankyouchicago #heaveyheart #seerednation #thunderup

A post shared by Taj Gibson (@tajgibson22) on

You might see these as typical salutes of someone heading out of a city where they spent their entire career. But for Gibson it just cements the person that he was during eight years with the Bulls that were full of hope and heartache all at the same time.

Whether in the bench or the starting lineup, fans who were asked constantly to “See Red” by the franchise saw “Blue Collar” when it came to Gibson. His trademark effort, aggression along with self accountability were constants through the Vinny Del Negro, Tom Thibodeau and Fred Hoiberg eras of the franchise.

Even a few players who remained across the three eras changed in some ways, whether their games on the floor or their attitudes. Gibson never did. The effort you got in 2009 was the same he put forth in what turned out to be his final game with the Bulls on February 16 against the Celtics at the United Center.

Fittingly, the forward started his career with the Thunder with the same attitude which he had in Chicago. Unwilling to take a break, he along with McDermott have made themselves available for Oklahoma City’s game against the Lakers tonight.

Not that we should be surprise. From his first to his last day with the Bulls, Taj’s attitude was always true.