The Bulls underwent their annual media training session following Monday's practice, which is a mandatory meeting that offers pointers on how to deal with reporters. The event offered an opportunity to acknowledge the ongoing effort being made by third-year forward Tyrus Thomas, whose cooperation and accessibility have been constants this season.
General manager John Paxson fined Thomas $10,000 in February 2007 after he explained his participation in the slam dunk contest as part of All-Star weekend thusly: "I'm just into the free money." The Tribune's story and its fallout seemed to push Thomas further into a shell of distrust.
Those who know Thomas well say he always has taken time to trust and open up to people. Whether that process is finally taking hold or whether his agents have finally convinced him to open up or whether his time spent at IMG Academy basketball program in Florida last summer have helped change Thomas is unknown. More likely, it's a combination.
This is certain: Thomas has been professional and pleasant off the court all season. That obviously means little to those who merely care about his on-the-court production. But for those who deal with Thomas daily, it's a change worth recognizing.