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BullPens: Jamal Crawford's Crib

Do you remember what you were doing at the age of 21? Most people that age are in the middle of a college career or starting to work at their particular profession. While Bulls' guard Jamal Crawford fits into the latter of the two categories, he is also doing much more. The kid from Seattle is living out his dream and he's having the time of his life.

Just two years ago, Crawford was finishing up his senior year at Rainier Beach High School. He went on to the University of Michigan where he played in only 17 games. Jamal showed such a great deal of promise in only his third year of organized basketball that after the season he decided it was time to move to the next level- the NBA.

Having just finished his rookie season with the Chicago Bulls, Jamal Crawford is anxiously awaiting next season. After seeing limited time at the start of last year, Crawford's court minutes increased and by the end of the season he helped the Bulls win games against Charlotte and Washington. As a starter, Jamal averaged 9.8 points per game and 3.2 assists per game. More importantly, he boosted his confidence- showing everyone he belonged and giving fans a reason to be optimistic for the future.
Jamal Crawford
J.C. offers a tour, as seen on Fox Sports Chicago's Full Access:
28.8+ | ISDN+

What a View!

I recently decided to stop by Jamal's Evanston, Illinois condo to see what he has been up to this summer. His apartment, located in downtown Evanston, is very close to Northwestern University and Lake Michigan. Those were both factors that Crawford considered when looking for a place to live. As we stood in his living room and took in his amazing view, he explained:

"One of the reasons I like this place is for the view of Lake Michigan. The view's really beautiful and it helps to me to relax. If I have a stressful day, I know I can come home and look out there and everything's a little bit better. More importantly, it reminds me of home- Seattle. Some places you like to visit, but Seattle is definitely a place you'd want to call home. Don't get me wrong, Chicago's a great city too- I love living here as well. But Seattle is where I was born and raised and it will always be close to my heart."

As we toured Jamal's place, a movie staring Martin Lawrence played in the background on his big screen television.

"When I'm not playing basketball, I'm usually home relaxing," said Jamal. "I've got a lot of movies I like to watch- Love Jones, When We Were Kings with Casius Clay, American Pie, which is hilarious, and Rush Hour with Chris Tucker, just to name a few."

Number One Fan

Click on the thumbnails below to take a photo tour through Jamal's place.

A couple of plush black leather couches and a small table fill the rest of the room. A few pictures are displayed on top of the table. Two recent pictures of his son, Eric, show him donning some of his finest Bulls apparel:

"His favorite player, of course, is me," Jamal said with a smile. "He also likes Michael Jordan."

Also on the table was a photo of Jamal and his girlfriend, Ginnie Powell. "We've been together for a few years now. Everything is good with her."

Jamal got to see her and the rest of his friends and family back in Seattle when he went home after this past season. He claims those few weeks of rest and relaxation in the city he loves was the perfect way to reenergize him for the task at hand- rebuilding the Bulls into title contenders. Now, it's back to business in Chicago with daily workouts at the Berto Center.

Beneath the glass top of the table was a collection of magazines. Jamal said he loves to read and that declaration is backed by a wide range of subscriptions: I saw everything from Sports Illustrated and ESPN The Magazine to Ebony and Essence in his apartment.

We next checked out his kitchen. It is arranged simply, with a table on the side close to the window. When I first arrived, I sat with Jamal as he signed hundreds of basketball cards. The cards, which also features Marcus Fizer's signature, will be randomly inserted into packs and will be a valuable commodity for young fans lucky enough to get one.

Almost Famous- In Cleveland

One of the unique things in Jamal's place is found on a chair seated at the kitchen table. It's a cover from one of the seats at last year's NBA Draft in Minnesota. "It brings back memories of an exciting time for me. It was a lot of fun."

Jamal also mentioned that right before he changed into his suit for draft night, he was wearing a certain NBA team's gear. Want to take a guess which team? That's right, he was decked out in the Bulls' black and red. Crawford said that coming to Chicago was something he was thrilled to do- even if it required a quick "pit stop" in Cleveland. The Bulls selected center Chris Mihm at the seven spot. The Cavs picked Crawford at number eight and minutes later, he was dealt to Chicago.

"I was doing a press conference for a Cleveland station when somebody told me I was traded," Crawford recalled. "I thought they were joking. (Chicago) was my first choice. I had a really good visit with those guys. I kept them laughing, they kept me laughing- it was great. And I actually told them that I wanted to wear a red suit so they could pick me. It was funny how things worked out."

One of the smaller rooms in Jamal's place is set up as an office. He has a new computer where he says he often surfs the net- an easy way to stay in tune with everything happening in Seattle and on the West Coast. Jamal explained that he also communicates with a lot of people back home via e-mail and his two-way pagers- both ways to keep his normally high phone bills down.

Permanent Guest

Jamal then led us into his guestroom. There is only one permanent guest in his condo. Quick to describe him as "the best player ever," Jamal stood next to a life size Michael Jordan cut-out in his guest room and talked about him with a great deal of admiration and respect:

"He gives everybody inspiration. He wore the same (Bulls) jersey I do now and that's definitely big for me."

As we walked from room to room, Jamal pointed out some of the photographs he selected to cover his walls. In the living room is a stunning picture of the Seattle skyline. Posters of his favorite musicians, Tupac Shakur and Jay-Z, are located in his bedroom. He also talked about a couple figures that have made an impact on his life:

"I've got pictures in here of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. I try to give the place some culture and they are also something nice to look at. I think they were both great leaders - they definitely stood for what they believed in and gave people a lot of inspiration and hope all around the world."

Riding in Style

While at Jamal's pad, we also got a look at his newest possession: a brand new 2002 Cadillac Escalade. This SUV was fully loaded and even had a personal touch- Crawford's nickname, "Jay Cee"- was sewn into the leather headrests. The luxury vehicle isn't his first, though. Jamal owns another Escalade and a Mercedes to take care of all his transportation needs.

Just as we were about to leave, there was a knock at the door. It was David Terrell, the Chicago Bears' recent top pick. Crawford and Terrell met at the University of Michigan and have stayed close ever since. It was great news for both of them when the Bears took Terrell with the eighth overall pick in this year's NFL Draft. Crawford was also selected eighth overall and the two both wear the same number, "1." Is Chicago ready for what these young exciting athletes have to offer? Only time will tell.

For now, though, Crawford is taking life in Chicago one day at a time. He hopes a summer of hard work will pay off - he's looking forward to improving his game as an individual and helping the Bulls win more games in the season to come. If Crawford's basketball career at all reflects the type of person he is, he's got a lot of winning down the road.

- Adam Fluck, Bulls.com

All Photos Courtesy of Bill Smith, Chicago Bulls