Freddie Gibbs technically grew up in Indiana, but don’t think for a second that he’s a Pacers or Colts fan. Only about 40 minutes from downtown Chicago, Northwest Indiana isn’t like the rest of the corn-laden state. It’s called the Chicagoland area for a reason. Gibbs grew up a Bulls and Bears fan and has remained loyal throughout the rough times of Eddy Curry and Kordell Stewart.
With the NBA All-Star Game around the corner, Gangster Gibbs took some time to let us know who his all-time favorite NBA players and teams are, and what it was like growing up during the Jordan era. Switching sports he spoke about how he could solve Chicago’s problems if the Bears made him general manager and why Peyton Manning should be content with his one ring instead of trying to chase Tom Brady and Ben “Rapelisberger." Finally, Gibbs touched on his life as an artist, talking about what it’s been like working with Madlib, what upcoming projects to expect, and how he deals with the industry label bullshit.
Who is your current favorite NBA player?
It’s gotta be Derrick Rose. He’s from my home turf and plays for the home turf, so it’s gotta be Derrick Rose. He’s gonna get those back-to-back MVPs.
Why do you think he deserves it over players like LeBron, or Kobe, or Dwight?
He just changes the whole dimension of the game. He is the most valuable player to his team in the league. Without LeBron, the Heat still got an identity, without D-Wade, the Heat still have an identity, but without Rose, the Bulls have no direction at all. He puts that team on his back every night, and he handles it. That’s why he won MVP last year.
Where do you think they would be if they didn’t get that lucky draft pick?
The bottom of the East. Rose is just a factor. It’s not even about the numbers that he puts up, it's about the way he changes the game with his quickness going to the hole. He opens it up for a lot of guys. The other motherfuckers on the Bulls need to step up and make shots.
With Rose’s injuries, who do you think needs to step up?
Luol Deng, maybe John Lucas. It’s definitely not going to be C.J. Watson, I don’t like him. We need to trade him. [Carlos] Boozer got to step up, too. We just need somebody to put some points on the board and we’ll be fine.
Do you think with Rose in the lineup that they have the pieces to get to the championship?
Definitely. I think we can make it to the Finals, we just got to get past the Heat. The Knicks ain’t soft either, so it’s going to be a tough matchup, but if we get past the Heat and the Knicks, I think we’ll be alright. There’s no other guard in the game that’s as dynamic as Derrick Rose. There aren’t too many people that can matchup with him alone.
Last year LeBron was able to hold him a bit.
Yeah, a little bit. He slowed him down in the playoffs. I’m pretty sure they’ll try to use that same strategy having LeBron guard Rose in the end. They’re smart. LeBron definitely is one of the best players in the league—if not the best—so to have him on Rose just makes sense. LeBron is quick, he can keep up. If I were the coach, I’d use that same strategy, but we’ll work around it. For him to draw LeBron and whoever else, that just opens it up for somebody else to step up and score.
The other motherfuckers on the Bulls need to step up and make shots.
Aside from Jordan, who is your favorite player of all time?
Charles Barkley. I just like the way he played the game. He was fierce and went for his. Chuck carried every team he was on. The tenacity he played with, it was just unmatched. And he never got a ring. I always was rooting for him to get a ring. When we played the Suns in ‘93, I was like “Hmmm, should I root for Chuck?” But nah, man, I didn’t want him to win it that year. When him and Scottie [Pippen] were on the same team in Houston, I wanted him to win one. I was like, "OK, that’d be cool if they win the championship," but it didn’t happen. Chuck is one of the greatest players ever, and definitely the greatest player that never won a championship.
Which of the Bulls teams would you say is your favorite?
Probably the ‘96 team. The team that won 72 games. That’s probably the best and my favorite team ever. Rodman, Pippen, Jordan all together in unison. That was something to see.
Were you able to go to some of the games?
Yeah, a couple, but it was hard. When you could get Bulls tickets back then, it was like striking gold. I went to a Bulls game when it was still in Chicago Stadium before they built the United Center.
What was that like?
That shit was crazy, man. The Madhouse on Madison. That was when they were winning the first round of championships, the first three. I think that was like ‘92 when I went to that game.
How old were you?
I think I was about 10.
How was it different?
The United Center is a fairly new arena, so the Chicago Stadium was just old. It had been there for a while, and it was just smaller. There was definitely plenty of magic there, though.