Bulls Insider

Karnišovas shows competitive side in message to fans


The Chicago Bulls play in Paris on Thursday, their first regular-season game out of the country and first trip to Paris since playing in the 1997 McDonald’s Championship as part of their preseason schedule.

That game featured a final in which the Bulls defeated Olympiacos, 104-78.

Leading scorer for the Greece professional team? None other than Artūras Karnišovas, who is now the Bulls’ executive vice president of basketball operations.

Karnišovas also faced Michael Jordan at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics as a member of Lithuania’s first foray as an independent country after seceding from the former Soviet Union.

“It’s amazing to think about it that it came to fruition. I could never imagine that I was going to come to this. Being a fan of the Bulls in the ‘90s and a fan of MJ and Scottie (Pippen) and now working for Bulls organization, I’m living the dream,” Karnišovas said in an appearance on the Bulls Talk podcast. “I feel like I have a connection to the organization. Very proud to be here, but there’s a lot of work to be done.”

Indeed, while Karnišovas appeared on the podcast mostly to detail his compelling backstory and international matchups against either the Bulls or Bulls playing on the 1992 Dream Team, he also delivered a message to the fan base.

“I enjoy the fan base and how much they love the team and how involved they are,” Karnišovas said. “We deeply care about this organization. . . . It’s not fun when we lose. I’m a very competitive person. That’s what you need to know. I don’t take losses lightly. I get emotional just like you. We’re trying to turn this around.

“I’m really proud to be part of this and chasing the success of this organization and trying to get to winning ways. How we’re going to do it, when we’re going to do it, it’s still to be seen. But I enjoy the process with people that I work with. And I enjoy working for this ownership.”

Karnišovas came to basketball management after initially putting his economics degree from Seton Hall University to use and working in the financial world following retirement from international professional basketball.

Karnišovas first worked for the NBA league office, working a variety of tasks including helping its now-robust Basketball Without Borders program gain momentum. The Houston Rockets initially hired him as an international scout. He rose in his five years there to become director of scouting before the Denver Nuggets hired him in 2013 to become assistant general manager.

Karnišovas later became general manager in Denver before Bulls president Michael Reinsdorf hired him in April 2020. How has Karnišovas viewed the move from being No. 2 in the decision-making process to No. 1?

“I think the experience in Denver was really good for me. A lot of stuff that I do with the Bulls are some of the philosophies we had in Denver. But I think it’s more your name goes one very decision as the No. 1. The responsibility is the difference,” Karnišovas said. “You gonna get praised if you’re successful. And you’re going to get criticized if you’re not successful. And it’s OK. I accept that.”

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