FOX TV’s Lou Canellis Visits Midtown Center – Shares Life and Career Advice, As Well As a Treasure Trove of Chicago Sports History

Fox TV Chicago’s Lou Canellis stopped by the Midtown Center for boys to talk to the high school apprenticeship program during the last week of the summer program. Canellis spoke of his time growing up in Oak Lawn and of the arc of his career path, expressing how lucky he is to do what he loves the most in the city where he grew up. He also told personal stories of hardship and overcoming hurdles along the way.

Canellis covered highlights (from covering the Bulls through the peak of the Michael Jordan years to currently cover the Bears) and the lows (being let go by the Bulls after the final championship run) of his career that have come to define him as a person. Using sports metaphors to further connect with the boys, Canellis encouraged the Midtown students to be nice to those around them and to be a great teammate in everything they do. He explained that these two things, plus hard work, have made all of the difference in his career path.

Canellis also connected with the boys through telling stories of growing up in Oak Lawn and the importance of respecting family and parents. Canellis’ professional career started at his dad’s dry cleaner, where he learned the importance of hard work (as well as the fact that he did not want to work in a dry cleaner when he grew up).

What’s your dream job? Find it and chase it forever.
— Lou Canellis

Despite his incredibly busy schedule, Canellis, who is a lifelong Bears fan, says that he is again working his dream job. He also owns a restaurant (Avli Taverna in Lincoln Park) and will soon be opening a second location in River North. He recapped through his daily schedule, which includes long days with stops at each location. Even though his schedule is hectic, he never feels like he works a day in his life. When speaking about this aspect of his life, he posed the question, “What’s your dream job?” to the boys, following up with “Find it, and chase it forever.”

As for recent Chicago sports history and his time reporting in Chicago, Canellis offered many insights during his talk and in the Q&A session that. Below are some of the more interesting anecdotes he provided to the Midtown boys’ questions:

Question: Were you there for Michael Jordan’s flu game?
Lou: I was there, and I helped carry Michael back to the plane afterward. He couldn’t even walk on his own.

Q: When was the first time you met LeBron James?
Lou: When Michael was training in downtown Chicago to come back to the Wizard’s, I was one of two reporters who Michael allowed in the gym. There was an all-star list of Chicago players training with him at the time (Antoine Walker, Dwayne Wade, Ron Harper and more). One day I came into where Michael was lifting and there was a young kid there with his mother. I didn’t know who it was at the time, but at one point, he drifted off while Michael was talking, and his mom slapped him and told him to pay attention. Later, someone told me that was LeBron James, and that he was the next big thing. I had no idea I was standing next to two of the greatest to ever play the game at that moment.

Q: Is Dennis Rodman as weird as he seems?
Lou: Weirder. BUT, he is also one of the most loyal people I have ever met.

Q: Do you have any crazy stories of your time with the Bulls?
Lou: Of course I do. I had access to almost everything and I saw a lot. But I’ll tell you the reason the guys let me hang around: I kept my mouth shut and respected their privacy. I understood how lucky I was to be there, and didn’t want to ruin that. I was actually offered $200,000 to write a book about those years, but turned it down. Those memories and relationships are priceless to me.

Q: Predictions for the upcoming Bears’ season?
Lou: I think if number 52, Kahlil Mack stays healthy, then the Bears go to the Super Bowl. He’s just that good. They have a tough schedule, so their record may not even be as good as last year, BUT, if Mack is healthy, you heard it here first, they’ll make it back to the big game.