Joao Meira

Joao Meira soaking up Chicago sports scene

Joao Meira is enjoying all the benefits of living in a sports-rich city like Chicago. 

A self-proclaimed basketball fan, the Portuguese centerback made it a point early on to get out and see the six-time NBA champions in person upon his arrival in Chicago, and he was back at the United Center for opening night against Boston on Oct. 27.

“I love basketball,” he said. “Sometimes in Portugal I used to go to watch some games, but here it’s so different. The NBA is another world. It’s amazing. The Chicago Bulls are a fantastic team. They have a lot of history, a big past. I enjoyed it a lot.”

While he’s no stranger to professional basketball, the differences between the sport here and overseas have been noticeable.

“We have a league (in Portugal), but it’s not so good. It’s not one of the best in Europe. In Europe, you have like (a version of) the Champions League. They are really good, but yeah it’s still another world.”

The 29-year-old has been a staple at sporting events around town in recent weeks. Most recently, Meira made an attempt to get into the American version of football on Monday night, a 20-10 Bears victory at Soldier Field.

“Yesterday I went to the Bears game,” he said. “It’s different. I don’t know the rules, I just went to have some fun and to enjoy the game a little bit.”

Slowly but surely, he’s checking each Chicago team off of his list.

“Also the Cubs game, I went, and the White Sox. Now I’m trying to go to the Blackhawks, but I think I can’t do it because I leave Saturday for Portugal. But maybe this Thursday I’ll go to the Bulls game again with my brother.”