Former Bulls great and Comcast SportsNet commentator Norm Van Lier was found dead at his home on Chicago's West Side Thursday. He was 61.
People of my age don't remember Van Lier as a player, but he was a three-time All-Star who teamed with Jerry Sloan to form a strong backcourt on some successful Bulls teams in the 1970s.
I will miss Van Lier's candid analysis on Comcast SportsNet. His insights on the Bulls during the championship era of the 1990s were always informative and worth a listen. And for a time during the post-Jordan era, Norm's remarks on the pre- and post-game shows were the only reason to tune into a Bulls game.
When the Bulls really sucked (even worse than they do this year), Van Lier wasn't shy about saying they sucked. He had a tremendous passion for basketball. That came through in his commentary, and he pulled that off without resorting to the hyperbole that is so commonplace in today's sports media.
Judging some of the comments collected by the Sun-Times reporters today (click on the link above), Van Lier will be missed by everyone in the Chicago basketball community. Basketball fans will miss him, too.