Nazr Mohammed, pilule our favorite back-up center of the Chicago Bulls, case hosted his second annual Nazr Mohammed Fundraiser event on Friday night at Pazzo’s in the Loop. It was a night filled with great music, diagnosis yummy appetizers and most importantly, fundraising for the deserving youth of Chicago.
Mohammed, a 16-year NBA veteran, Chicago native and back-up center behind Joakim Noah, launched the Nazr Mohammed Foundation in 2012 as a gateway to giving back to the community, helping improve Chicagoland schools and
other educational initiatives.
During an offseason where the Bulls parted ways with several key members of the beloved ‘Bench Mob”, the 6’10” 250 lb Mohammed re-signed with the Bulls, making the upcoming 2013-14 season his second year as the back-up center on the team.
After a relatively quiet regular Bulls season where Mohammed saw minimal playing time, Mohammed was a force during the playoffs as a result of Joakim Noah’s nagging plantar fasciitis.
Some of you may remember Mohammed from his altercation with Lebron James in game three of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. James was called for a technical foul for tying up with Mohammed in transition. Mohammed shoved James hard to the floor in retaliation, bringing Bulls fans to their feet in elation. Mohammed was ejected from the game but gained thousands of fans and an overnight cult following in response.
Mohammed will most likely see more minutes in the upcoming season, but for now he is putting much of his offseason time into raising money for children in Chicago.
Some may think Mohammed started his foundation simply because he is playing for the Bulls but he said it’s so much more than that.
“It’s not just because I’m a Bulls player. My fuel is the fact that I’m a father and a husband. I just feel that I’m at a point in my life now where I need to give back and I need to do things for other people. I’ve done things in the past but I want to do things bigger.”
And he is doing just that. On Friday night Bulls play-by-play radio announcer, Chuck Swirsky, introduced Mohammed and he presented three foundations, CircEsteem , Mercy Home for Boys & Girls and Sue Duncan’s Children Center, with $5,000 grants at the event.
Mohammed is a very quiet man and not one for public speaking but he was not at all hesitant to open up about how close Sue Duncan’s Children Center is to his heart. Mohammed told the crowd that as a kid the Center was where he went to play basketball in the winter, adding that if he wanted to play, he had to first read a book or write a book report.
The extra ball time in the winter obviously paid off for the Bulls player who sent the message on just how important any form of education is to children, especially those in need. In a pretty emotional moment, Tina Battle, Program Director at the Center, thanked Mohammed for not forgetting about them.
The giving didn’t end there. Raffle proceeds are set to go to Kenwood Academy in Hyde Park, where Mohammed graduated in 1995. Accompanying the raffle was a silent auction in the back of Pazzo’s to raise even more money for at risk children.
Raffle give aways included everything from a baseball signed by NY Yankees Derek Jeter to two Penthouse Luxury Level Suite tickets to the Bulls vs. Lakers game on January 20, 2014.
The silent auction included signed Michael Jordan, Jay Cutler and Jonathan Toews jerseys, among a ton of other valuable Chicago sports memorabilia.
At $75 per ticket, the event had a lot to offer. St. Claire Vodka, Curvoisier and Dos Equis provided drinks for guests but if none of those were to your liking, the Pazzo’s bar was fully stacked! I for one, loved the St. Claire Green Tea vodka, and it only has 57 calories. Appetizers ranged from goat burgers & sesame teriyaki skewers to cheese balls & assorted pizza. Let’s just say I came hungry and left very satisfied.
When the opportunity to speak one-on-one with Nazr arose, of course I had to sneak in a couple questions about the coming Bulls season.
Mohammed said he is extremely excited to have “one of the best, if not the best” NBA player back on the court. He is of course talking about Derrick Rose. Rose tore his ACL in the first game of the playoffs on April 28, 2012 and missed all of last season but he will be definitely be back on the court on October 5th for the 2014 pre-season opener against Indiana. Mohammed said “I’m just going to go out there and do what I can to help him to what he do.”