Bulls players take time to sign

By Adam Fluck | 10.22.2014 | 4:40 p.m. CT | Archive | @AdamFluck 

Pau Gasol still remembers the first time he was asked for his autograph. 

“I was still a kid,” recalled Gasol. “I was probably 16 years old and had just started playing for FC Barcelona. We were at a tournament when someone approached me for my autograph. 

“He was probably asking every guy on the team,” Gasol laughed, “but it was still surprising and memorable at the same time.” 

In the 18 years that have followed, Gasol has become far more accustomed to signing autographs. He put that skill to use on Wednesday when he and his teammates participated in the first of two autograph sessions this season following practice. 

With each of the Bulls autograph sessions, there are 500 team signed items, meaning the entire roster will each sign between 250-300 basketballs and 200 pennants. 

In addition to those, players sign between 100 and 500 individual items. Each session typically totals over 5,000 signatures. 

All of the items are signed for the benefit of Chicago Bulls Charities. They are used for specific events such as the in-game auction and merchandise sales. But the large majority goes to Chicagoland community organizations that are seeking to raise funds with their own charity fundraisers via silent auctions, live auctions and raffles. The Bulls donate approximately 250 items per month that are autographed by one or multiple players to such organizations. 

“It’s always important to take some time to dedicate it to the community as well as the various events and initiatives that the team carries on to have a positive impact in the city of Chicago,” said Gasol. “We’re obviously in the middle of a busy schedule, but it is really just a small sacrifice, time-wise. But it’s important for us as a team to do it.” 

That mentality is one that is appreciated by Nancy Reinsdorf and Leslie Forman, who serve as President and Vice President of Chicago Bulls Charities. 

“It's so wonderful to see the entire team take time out of their busy schedules to do this,” Reinsdorf and Forman said. “Their efforts truly make a difference and the reach is so impactful when you consider all of the groups and various causes that Chicago Bulls Charities works to benefit.”

Derrick Rose signs basketballs for Chicago Bulls Charities following practice.

A photo posted by Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) on

Chicago's All-Star center takes part in the team's autograph session following practice

A photo posted by Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) on

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