Bulls celebrate 25th annual An Evening with the Chicago Bulls

Photos: Bill Smith & Carolina Sanchez/Chicago Bulls

On February 12, 2014, the Bulls hosted the team’s 25th annual charity gala, An Evening with the Chicago Bulls. The team honored John W. Rogers, Jr., Chairman, CEO and Chief Investment Officer of Ariel Investments, LLC for his achievements and civic contributions. The 2013-2014 Bulls team attended along with Bulls coaches, broadcasters and alumni. The event was sold out, with over 800 guests in attendance.

The gala included a cocktail reception and dinner on the floor of the United Center, along with live entertainment and a silent auction. Saturday Night Live and Second City alum Tim Meadows served as the event’s emcee and guests enjoyed a comedy set by popular comedian Hannibal Buress.

During the cocktail reception, a red carpet was stationed on the concourse for players and special VIP guests to have their photos taken and interview with BullsTV as well as the media. Guests watched from nearby taking pictures of the special guests who walked the carpet including cast members from Chicago Fire and Chicago PD, Val Warner and Ryan Chiaverini from Windy City LIVE and all Bulls players, coaches, broadcasters and alumni in attendance.

Meadows opened the night by challenging Benny the Bull to a “t-shirt cannon shooting contest.” Benny the Bull eagerly accepted the challenge and clapped his hands twice to reveal a target in Section 110 and nailed it. Meadows joked with Benny about how nice it must be to be able to practice 41 home games a year before bringing his own target on stage and shooting from five feet away.

At the beginning of the program, Meadows highlighted honoree John Rogers’ basketball abilities and introduced a video of Rogers holding his own in a game of one-on-one with Michael Jordan from the early 90’s. A surprise tribute video to Rogers was played during the event as well. It featured testimonials from Rogers’ friends and colleagues, including U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, White House advisor Valerie Jarrett, Ariel Investments President Mellody Hobson, and McDonald’s President and CEO Don Thompson, among others.

Lindsay Avner, Founder and CEO of Bright Pink, a Chicago Bulls charitable partner, spoke at the event and highlighted the mission of Bright Pink and the importance of their partnership with Chicago Bulls Charities.

Meadows issued a challenge to the audience that if 100 or more bids were placed between the silent auction and paddle raise that – just like Bulls fans do when the team wins scoring 100+ points – that everyone would win a Big Mac. Guests took the challenge on and placed more than 100 bids, so everyone walked out receiving a coupon for a Big Mac.

All proceeds from An Evening with the Chicago Bulls support Chicago Bulls Charities. Under the leadership of Nancy Reinsdorf, the charity’s president, and Leslie Forman, its vice president, Chicago Bulls Charities provides annual financial support to Chicagoland nonprofit organizations that share the Bulls’ commitment to youth education, health and wellness and violence prevention. Chicago Bulls Charities and the entire Bulls basketball family work to address community concerns and find ways for the organization to make a positive impact on the lives of those in need.