It didn't hurt that I grew up in the Golden Era of Bulls basketball and Braves baseball. The Bulls teams of the early/mid-90's are some of the greatest in the history of the game and the Braves were dominating the National League and regularly playing in the World Series. I knew everything about the starting five for the Bulls and their second unit, and I could roll through the Braves lineup and give you the starting rotation - important priorities for a 7 year old. As I look back on it, it's funny to me that those were my teams, even though I had never seen either of them play in person.
I watched the two teams religiously on what were essentially their home tv networks and had strong loyalty. I grew up listening to Johnny "Red" Kerr announce Bulls games and Skip Caray cover the Braves. I have memories of Michael Jordan chalking his hands in front of Red Kerr before tip-off and Kerr yelling "MICHAEL" when Jordan would hit another back-breaking shot during those dominant seasons. I have memories of Skip Caray calling the masterpiece pitching performances of Maddux, Smoltz, & Glavine and announcing "BRAVES WIN! BRAVES WIN!" when Sid Bream slid safely into home to put the Braves into the World Series in 1992. Those are the sports memories I grew up on and part of what made me so passionate about sports. Those two announcers brought sports to life for me and made me feel like I was part of the game. Both have passed away in the last couple years, and sports broadcasting isn't the same without them. They were two of the greats and they were the two primary sports voices of my childhood.
Even though I'd no longer consider myself a huge fan, I still want the Bulls & the Braves to do well. I was fortunate to be able to attend a number of Braves games while going to school in Athens, and the Bulls have a couple former Duke players, Luol Deng & Carlos Boozer, who are both doing well. The hatred I used to have for the New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets, & Los Angeles Dodgers still lingers from the 90's and I hardly ever pull against the Braves or Bulls. I'm not nearly as passionate as I used to be, but those were the teams I grew up with - and, in a way, I guess they'll always be "my teams."