It is no secret that the Chicago Bulls have had great success on the basketball court over the past few years as they have led the Eastern Conference in wins two of the past three seasons. However, this weekend the Bulls showed that they are also winners off the court during the second annual Peace Tournament. There were several NBA players in attendance during the tournament, but the Bulls in particular were well represented at the event.
Chicago Bulls All-Stars Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah were both in attendance at St. Sabina’s Church on Saturday, which is where the Peace Tournament was held. The primary purpose of the tournament is to get teenage and young adult gang members off the streets and onto the basketball court in an effort to reduce citywide violence and preach peace.
Noah and Rose both played large roles in the Peace Tournament. Noah was an honorary coach for the second year in a row. The All-Star center has also been a big believer in peace and anti-violence. Not only is he known by many as somewhat of a modern day hippie, but Joakim also stopped using his finger gun gesture to celebrate making a jump shot. Noah used to have one of the most popular celebrations in the NBA, as he would pretend to use his fingers as guns, shoot them, and put them in an imaginary holster after making a jumper. However, Noah put an end to this celebration after the December 14 tragedy which took place at a Connecticut elementary school when a shooting took the life of 27 innocent victims. Thus, Noah has showed his support towards anti-violence long before Saturday’s Peace Tournament.
Rose, on the other hand, did not coach during the tournament, but he was one of the biggest stars and storylines of the event. Rose grew up in Englewood, which is one of the most dangerous neighborhoods on Chicago’s south side, and by attending the event he showed support to his hometown. Rose’s attendance at the Peace Tournament was also one of his first public appearances in Chicago since tearing his ACL during the 2012 playoffs.
The Chicago Bulls organization demonstrated on Saturday that their winning attitude does not only apply to basketball but it also translates off the court as well. Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose have both done their part in making a positive impact on the city of Chicago by leading the Bulls to the playoffs each of the past five seasons, but Saturday they took on a different role. Neither Rose nor Noah needed to be in attendance at the Peace Tournament this weekend, and with the preseason less than two weeks away I’m sure they have very little free time. However, by both of them taking part in this good cause they showed that they are not only committed to the Bulls organization but the safety and well-being of the city of Chicago.
Jon Keller is a writer for rantsports.com. Follow him on twitter @jkell2005.