We know who was the most important Bulls player, Michael Jordan, obviously. We know who was the fastest Bulls player, Derrick Rose, probably. And now we know who is the most romantic Bulls player, Derrick Jones Jr., certainly.
“Once I knew we were coming here to Paris, I had it planned,” Jones Jr. was saying Wednesday morning after he chose the Bulls trip to what is widely regarded as the world’s most romantic place to propose marriage to his longtime girlfriend, Shakara. “It’s such a beautiful city and beautiful people out there; everybody is nice, the most romantic city. I really like it here. We were on a walk the other day and I was able to see the beauty of the city wherever you look. I loved it. It gave me even more motivation to do it.”
And so during a team dinner Tuesday night, the 25-year-old Bulls everyman decided to dedicate himself to one woman. In a moment filmed by bulls.com, Jones walked up to Shakara at their table and said, “It’s about that time. So I just got a question for Shakara: Will you make me the luckiest man in the world?”
With that Jones appropriately got down on one knee and said, “Will you marry me,” as cheers from his teammates erupted around him.
She was so cute, a startled expression and then shyly pointing a finger at herself as if to say, “You mean me?”
She then enthused, “Hell, yeah.”
Jones then stood and exulted, “She said yes, She said yes!”
And in no better place. The Pont des Arts is a bridge near the famed Notre Dame cathedral that is being rebuilt after a recent fire. The bridge was where visitors over the years have placed so called padlocks of love attached to the bridge to declare their love. Mur des Je t’aime in a square in the Montmartre neighborhood known for its art and tangle of beautiful streets. It has a wall where people have written “I Love You” in all the languages of the world.
French artists like Edith Piaf and Charles Aznavour sang wonderful songs about Paris and love. Ella Fitzgerald famously sang, “I love Paris in the springtime;
I love Paris in the fall;
I love Paris in the winter when it drizzles;
I love Paris in the summer when it sizzles;
I love Paris every moment, every moment of the year.”
From Gene Kelly in An American in Paris to Woody Allen and Midnight in Paris and Billy Crystal and Forget Paris, the latter about an NBA referee, Paris has been the focus of great love stories in the movies.
Just listening to people speak sounds romantic in Paris like no other language. There’s a museum, Musee de la vie Romantique, that features romantic canvases and mementos. The Paris Opera House near where the Bulls are staying is said to be the inspiration for the enduring Phantom of the Opera love story. There’s the intimacy of the ubiquitous cafes and the romance in the art and even the love in the way the meals are prepared.
And then came Derrick Jones Jr.
“I had the ring for a little while,” Jones Jr. added. “It’s just real hard to hide the ring. We met during my predraft in Cleveland. I was with my agent and out one night and we met; just like that. We’ve been together seven years. She knew it was coming eventually, but she didn’t know it was coming that night and out here. I felt like it was the perfect timing.
“I just like to treat my fiancee well,” Jones Jr. said. “I want to make sure she’s treated well and happy at all points. I wanted to do everything I could to make sure she was happy.”
Derrick knows the slam dunk. He powered one in big time in Paris in the biggest game of all.
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