Big Sexy. The White Panther. The White Flag. Theose are just a few…okay, they’re the only nicknames for Chicago’s favorite human victory cigar, Mr. Aaron Michael Gray. In tribute to this giant of a man (7’0″, 270 pounds), I have chronicled his best five games of the recently deceased season.
1. December 26, 2008:Santa must have left something extra special in Aaron’s stocking, because the big fella had his best game of the season on the day after Christmas: 12 points (5-for-7), 11 rebounds and an assist in 25 minutes. In fact, when that line is compared to the output of Derrick Rose (10 points, 3-for-14, 3 assists), Ben Gordon (15 points, 6-for-16, 1 assist) and Luol Deng (8 points, 4-for-10, 8 boards), it sure seems like Aaron was the Bulls’ player of the game. Which probably explains why they dropped a 90-77 decision to the Miami Heat. This was the second and last time Aaron would have a double-digit rebounding game.
2. January 3, 2009:Aaron played a season-high 32 minutes in a home game against the Minnesota Timberwolves and responded with 10 points (4-for-9), 9 rebounds, an assist and a steal. Unfortunately, the Bulls lost 102-92 to a Minnesota team that came into the game 7-25 on the season. Note that this was the third and last time this season Aaron would reach double figures in points.
3. November 28, 2008:On the road against the Los Angeles Lakers, Aaron got 21 minutes of daylight and managed to put up 11 points (5-for-9) to go along with 5 rebounds and a steal. Only two other Bulls players (Ben Gordon and Derrick Rose) scored in double figures. Sadly, the Lakers made a mess in Aaron’s Wheaties by winning 116-109.
4. January 20, 2009: Aaron had an extremely effective 12-minute stint against the Atlanta Hawks, with 9 points (4-for-4), 5 boards, an assist, a block and 4 fouls. However — and I’m sure you’ve probably noticed a pattern forming here — the Bulls still lost 105-102 to the Hawks in Chicago.
5. November 11, 2008: Another home game against the Hawks, and another loss, this time by the score of 113-108. Aaron logged 17 minutes and finished with 6 points (3-for-6), 10 rebounds (5 offensive), a block and 5 fouls. His 5 offensive boards tied him (with Derrick Rose) for a team-high.
Bonus Game! The absolute best game of Aaron’s career came during the 2007-08 season. It was an April 16, 2008 home game against the Toronto Raptors. Aaron set career-highs in minutes played (35), scoring (19), rebounds (22), shot attempts (13), free throws made (9) and attempted (9). His virtuoso performance led the Bulls to a 107-97 win over the playoff-bound Raptors.