Chicago Bulls host inaugural Pride Night in partnership with BMO Harris Bank
Bulls and BMO Harris Bank hold basketball skills clinic at Center on Halsted (COH) and host COH staff, volunteers and students at the game
The Chicago Bulls will host the organization’s inaugural Pride Night in partnership with BMO Harris Bank tonight when the team hosts the Miami Heat at the United Center. The night will feature special national anthem and halftime performances by stars of the Broadway hit, Kinky Boots, Alan Mingo, Jr. and American Idol winner, David Cook, along with a Pride-themed warmup shirt, lapel pins for staff, pregame player address, rainbow flag presentation and more.
“We are proud to be part of the NBA, a league that prioritizes diversity and inclusion, and at the Bulls we aim to promote a culture of acceptance for who you are,” said Michael Reinsdorf, Chicago Bulls President and Chief Operating Officer. “Tonight creates an opportunity for the team and our fans to celebrate and embrace diversity, inclusion and acceptance alongside members and allies of the LGBTQ community here in Chicago.”
As part of the night’s celebration, the Bulls will host 200 people from Center on Halsted, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing community and securing the health and well-being of LGBTQ individuals in Chicagoland. Center on Halsted provides resources and support to 1,400 people per day and 45,000 people per year. The Bulls brought Pride Night into the community earlier this week, hosting a basketball skills clinic at Center on Halsted for 70 students from neighboring schools who COH engages throughout the year. Bulls front office volunteers along with ambassador Horace Grant ran basketball drills while Benny the Bull, the Luvabulls and the Incredibulls provided entertainment.
Longtime Bulls partner BMO Harris Bank is the official sponsor of Pride Night. Since June 2016, the Bulls and BMO Harris Bank have partnered on a float in the city’s annual Pride Parade, with Benny the Bull, the Luvabulls, the Incredibulls, and Bulls and BMO Harris Bank staff marching alongside the parade. The Bulls have participated in the Chicago Pride Parade since 2013.
"At BMO we support efforts that foster inclusion in the workplace and we proudly celebrate diversity with our employees, customers and communities,” said Paul Dilda, Head of Deposits, Segments and Customer Acquisition, BMO Harris Bank and U.S. Employee Resource Group Pride Executive Sponsor. "We’re excited to unite with the Chicago Bulls on Pride Night to share the positive impact diversity and equality has in our local LGBT communities.”
As part of the Bulls’ ongoing front office speaker series designed to bring in diverse perspectives, Jason Collins, NBA Cares Ambassador and the first male active player to come out amongst U.S. professional sports leagues, will speak to Bulls players and staff next month around the theme of acceptance and inclusion in sports.