COMMENTARY | To whom much is given, much is required. Such is the case with professional athletes, entertainers and otherwise wealthy individuals. We as a society often hold this group to unreachable standards. No matter how much they are doing, they're never doing enough. No matter whom they are helping, they are not helping the right people. We can be so hasty in finding a negative within the positive that charitable efforts of those that do give back often occur without much fanfare.
The Chicago Bulls, for instance, founded Chicago Bulls Charities in 1987 with a mission to enhance the lives of Chicago's youth by actively creating and supporting educational, recreational and social programs. Since then, among other notable endeavors, the Bulls have implemented a ticket donation system for those that would otherwise be unable to attend a game, and opened the James Jordan Boys and Girls Club in honor of Michael Jordan's late father. Several members of the Bulls' organization participate in its various philanthropic activities. There are also a number of athletes on the roster that generously offer of themselves, their time and money aside from team and NBA sponsored events.
For starters, Joakim Noah has his Noah's Arc Foundation. This cause is dedicated to helping children develop a stronger sense of self. Through art and sports, Noah's Arc aims to provide a constructive outlet for expression in hopes that all children, regardless of race, religion and economic background will become more conscious of their abilities. This is not simply a "band-aid." Noah's foundation addresses the roots of poor self-image among youth which often lead to negative behavior. It's fitting, that such an eclectic athlete would want to encourage individuality in his efforts.
Then there is the Luol Deng Foundation. The charitable contributions of Deng extend internationally as his foundation uses sport and education as vehicles of community empowerment, with added attention directed towards Africa. A native of Sudan, he is committed to not only including but focusing on the welfare of those in his homeland. Deng obviously has not forgotten where he came from as he has even received a Humanitarian of the Year Award from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Richard Hamilton, one of the best mid-range shooters in the game, gives back through his Rip City Foundation. With a special emphasis on healthy living, Hamilton's organization seeks to touch the lives of individuals in the geographical areas where he has lived and played. Caring, respect and integrity are some of the core values relative to his foundation.
And finally, the humble and gracious persona of Chicago's superstar point guard, Derrick Rose, has been well-documented. This attitude is apparent in his community activism. Rose has been involved with local initiatives such as the Greater Chicago Food Depository, as well as global projects including contributions to relief efforts for earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan.
Athletes can sometimes be so eager to help those less fortunate that their generosity is targeted and taken advantage of. Carlos Boozer, who frequently engages in charitable activities as well, recently had this happen to him after investing $1 million in what was believed to be a reconstruction project for earthquake-decimated Haiti. Though the effort proved futile, this serves as an example of how much the forward is willing to give in assistance.
So, you see, the Bulls do a great deal for the community and society as a whole. The desire to be of service is always admirable, no matter how small the actual deed. It is important that this is remembered the next time that we feel compelled to criticize one's gestures as not "good enough"-- or when humanity gets the best of a member of the Bulls and a mistake is made. Remember all the good that they do, because they will not remind us. And that's what makes it beautiful.
Acamea Deadwiler is a Chicago-area native with several years experience covering the NBA, including the Chicago Bulls, for Examiner.com. She has also been featured in Bounce magazine, SLAM Online, and various other publications. Follow Acamea on Twitter @AcameaLD.
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