Markka­nen ad­dresses climate is­sues while work­ing to­ward re­turn

Daily Southtown (Sunday) - - SPORTS - By K.C. John­son kcjohn­[email protected]­bune.com Twit­ter @kcjhoop

DETROIT – Bar­ring a set­back, Bulls for­ward Lauri Markka­nen re­mains on track to make his season de­but at some point next week.

Markka­nen has been do­ing more than just re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing his right el­bow, though. He has been try­ing to af­fect change.

Markka­nen filmed a se­ries of pub­lic ser­vice an­nounce­ments for Neste, an en­ergy com­pany based in Fin­land, to raise aware­ness about climate change.

“I feel like I have the plat­form,” Markka­nen said Fri­day be­fore the Bulls lost to the Pistons 107-86. “And that (is­sue) is re­ally close to my heart. Just look­ing at where I grew up, hav­ing na­ture all around me, that was re­ally im­por­tant. We used to have all the snow in the world. But I don’t think we even have snow right now in Fin­land. And it’s al­most De­cem­ber. That’s one ob­vi­ous sign that some­thing is hap­pen­ing.

“Peo­ple­have been talk­ing about it a lot back home. Of course when you voice your opin­ions, there are go­ing to be neg­a­tive things. But I was will­ing to take that risk be­cause I want peo­ple to do some­thing.”

Markka­nen also ad­dressed a tweet that appeared to tweak Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump. Markka­nen pledged a do­na­tion to the Amer­i­can Red Cross to sup­port those af­fected by the Cal­i­for­nia wild­fires with a pic­ture of him hold­ing a rake and the line: “Any­body need their floors raked?” He added the hash­tag #Fin­nishRak­ingSea­son.

Trump raised eye­brows when he claimed Fin­land doesn’t have wild­fire is­sues be­cause the coun­try spends “a lot of time on rak­ing and clean­ing.”

“I was just hav­ing fun,” Markka­nen said. “That was a care­fully thought post, I’ll say that. I want peo­ple to see my per­son­al­ity. But I want to be cau­tious be­cause there are peo­ple who have lost ev­ery­thing. So I didn’t want to go too far. Just have a lit­tle fun. AndI did do­nate too. I felt like Chicago Bulls for­ward Lauri Markka­nen walks on the court be­fore a game at the United Cen­ter Mon­day in Chicago.

that­was the­way to go.”

Hoiberg said Markka­nen “get­ting closer” to play­ing.

Sager style

The coach­ing staff wore mul­ti­col­ored T-shirts un­der­neath their suit jack­ets to honor late TNT broad­caster Craig Sager, a Batavia na­tive who was known for his col­or­ful wardrobe. It’s part of the league’s “Sager Strong” ini­tia­tive to raise aware­ness for can­cer re­search. Sager suf­fered from acute myeloid leukemia be­fore dy­ing in 2016 at age 65.

“Craig was such a good per­son and did so much for the game,” Hoiberg said. “We’ve all been touched by this dis­ease oneway or an­other. To be able to honor Craig is very im­por­tant.’’

Layups

Hoiberg said Kris Dunn par­tic­i­pated in por­tions of Thurs­day’s con­tact prac­tice. … The Bulls an­nounced more fill-in an­nounc­ers to work along­side Stacey King as Neil Funk takes se­lect games off. John Sadak worked Fri­day and will again Satur­day. Kyle Draper will work Dec. 4, Bran­don Gaudin on Dec. 28, Mark Schanowski on Dec. 30 and Adam Amin on Jan. 29-30.… The Pac­ers, whom the Bulls face Tues­day, an­nounced All-Star guard Vic­tor Oladipo is out in­def­i­nitely with right knee sore­ness.

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AR­MANDO L. SANCHEZ CHICAGO TRI­BUNE

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