Chicago Bulls boss talks business, Rose’s return at Buffalo Grove chamber event
Gar Forman, general manager of the Chicago Bulls, addresses the Buffalo Grove Area Chamber Of Commerce on Feb. 5 at the Arboretum Club in Buffalo Grove. | Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media
The Forman Files
• Will the Bulls make a second attempt at signing Lebron James? “Oh, that’s so far in the future,” he said. “We did that once.”
• His 29 golf handicap and the trouble he gets into at the Arboretum Club: “There’s way too much water on this course,” Forman reported. “I lose thousands of dollars a year on lost balls.”
• Forman declined to give a date for Rose’s return: “We knew it was going to be a difficult year when Derrick went down with his ACL last spring,” he said.
• But, once Rose is back ... “We think we’ve got a chance to be very competitive this year.”
Updated: March 15, 2013 6:02AM
BUFFALO GROVE — It was obvious that Chicago Bulls General Manager Gar Forman had not stood before a crowd like this in a long time.
About 15 minutes into his question-and-answer session with the Buffalo Grove Area Chamber of Commerce on Feb. 5, no one had asked what he said is the first query he gets everywhere he goes.
“Isn’t anyone going to ask when Derrick Rose is coming back?” Forman joked. “This is the first time I’ve ever spoken and no one’s asked when he’s coming back.”
Forman, a 10-year Buffalo Grove resident, was speaking with about 50 chamber members in a venue he would like to rename the Garboretum Club.
He talked about life in the Buffalo Grove and Lincolnshire, his past residence. He also discussed his golf game, the Buffalo Grove Park District basketball team he coaches and, of course, the professional team he leads.
Lynne Schneider, the chamber’s executive director, reported in late January that the chamber had long been trying to book Forman for a speaking engagement at the village’s Arboretum Club.
“He told us last year that he would come when things quieted down,” she said.
For Forman, “quieted down” must mean only a few weeks before the NBA’s trade deadline while his team was on a road trip that spanned three time zones.
Forman is in his 15th season with the Bulls, his fourth as general manager. He won the NBA’s Executive of the Year award for the 2010-11 season, the same year that Rose, whom he helped draft, won the league’s Most Valuable Player award.
For the Buffalo Grove business crowd, he spoke about everyday life at home.
“We’ve really enjoyed the city of Buffalo Grove,” he said. “I try to get involved as much as I can.”
That involvement includes coaching his own weekend hoops squad.
“My team’s 0-5 so far,” he confessed. “I’m blaming it all on my assistant coaches.”
The talk also covered his role as an executive of a high-profile business, and what a room full of small business owners could do to turn their operations into multimillion-dollar enterprises as well.
One of the keys, Forman said, is employee selection. When considering who to draft or which coach to hire, Forman said he looks for a mixture of talent and integrity.
That formula brought in Tom Thibodeau, who last year reached 100 wins faster than any coach in NBA history.
“Just like you guys build your businesses with character guys,” he said.
He then addressed the importance of rebounding — when an employee’s talent or integrity level turns out to be lower than he scouted.
“The talent level of some of these guys can be intoxicating,” he said. “It’s not an exact science, especially when you’re evaluating talent. I never want to miss on somebody’s character.”
Off the basketball court, Forman again addressed his desire to rename the Arboretum in his honor. He mentioned how he entered the club championship last summer — against friends’ advice — and claimed that title, even if it was in a roundabout way.
“What I want to know is, can we rename this club the Garboretum?” he asked. “Or is that not possible?”
Village Trustee Mike Terson played along.
“Oh, it’s possible,” Terson responded.