People You Should Know in Chicago

Lauri Markkanen

Lauri Markkanen

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Howard Ankin: I’m Howard Ankin with another edition of Chicagoans You Should Know and we’re here today with Lauri Markkanen. Lauri, it’d be hard to believe that people don’t know who you are, but what do you do for a living?

Lauri Markkanen: I play basketball for Chicago Bulls.

Howard: And it’s your third season now?

Lauri: Absolutely.

Howard: What position do you play?

Lauri: I play power forward.

Howard: Is that always the position you played, or is that just uh as you got older, that’s the one you rotated into?

Lauri: I started as a guard, I was, believe it or not, I wasn’t always as tall as I am now, so I was a guard and kind of slowly moved up.

Howard: When you grew up, did you grow up in the United States?

Lauri: No, I grew up back in Finland, so I just moved a couple years back.

Howard: What is like the big sport of Finland?

Lauri: To play ice hockey, that’s our thing.

Howard: Gotcha, so you grew up playing ice hockey, obviously.

Lauri: Yeah, a lot and especially on the pond like outside with friends, and not necessarily on the team but spend a lot of time on the ice.

Howard: So you’re now a fan of the [Chicago] Blackhawks?

Lauri: Oh yeah, I’ve been to plenty of games. I was playing hockey, soccer and basketball, but I enjoy basketball the most so I decided to go that way.

Howard: What’s it like growing up playing basketball in Finland?

Lauri: It’s awesome, the fans are really into it, so they give a great atmosphere every game so it’s fun.

Howard: When you play basketball in Finland, is it like in the United States where the high schools have a basketball team?

Lauri: No, we actually do like club teams, so it’s a little different. My high school coach did a really great job to stay in contact with schools so I chose the best one for me. That was University of Arizona and I stayed there for a year. Now I got drafted to Minnesota and then traded into the Bulls so it was mixed emotions, but I was just happy to come here.

Howard: How are you enjoying playing for the Chicago Bulls?

Lauri: It’s been awesome!

Howard: So my understanding is you have a sneaker collection.

Lauri: Yes, uh a small one.

Howard: What do you collect?

Lauri: Well right now I’m with all Nikes and Jordans, [be]cause I’m signed with Nike so…I’ve always loved shoes and love to collect them.

Howard: So are they coming out with a special sneaker for you?

Lauri: Not yet, I gotta have a couple of good years to hit that but I’m working on it.

Howard: So how many pairs of Jordans do you have in your collection?

Lauri: I’ve given some to Goodwill actually, so I probably have a couple hundred.

Howard: Before I start going running down to Goodwill, what size shoe are you?

Lauri: I’m a fourteen so I got…I got small feet.

Howard: Okay, so if you’re a fourteen, people should you know go check them out.

Lauri: Absolutely.

Howard: What’s it like here for you in Chicago next to being in Finland in the wintertime?

Lauri: I think it’s really similar, like guys are joking around about me when the first day of snow hits because I’m the happiest person and I love winter so I got…I got nothing against Chicago’s cold weather.

Howard: So since…it’s reported it’s going to be a cold one this year, this could be your season.

Lauri: Yeah, I’m looking forward to it.

Howard: This has been another edition of Chicagoans You Should Know. Lauri, it’s been great talking with you today…

Lauri: Thanks for having me

Howard: …And we look forward to Lauri having another great season.

Background music gets louder, end interview.