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Charity Bullish on youth

Joakim Noah poses with Grant Zirlduring Chicago Bulls Charities event April 3 United Center.

Joakim Noah poses with Grant Zirlin during the Chicago Bulls Charities event April 3 at the United Center.

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Updated: May 11, 2012 8:10AM

The Chicago Bulls, currently the No. 1 team in the NBA, had more than its hot streak to celebrate last Tuesday night as more than 800 fans and supporters gathered at the United Center to relaunch the team’s charity, formerly known as CharitaBulls, with a swanky dinner and team meet-and-greet.

The new organization, now simply known as the Chicago Bulls Charities, got not only a new name but also new leadership under the watchful eyes of president Nancy Reinsdorf, wife of team president Michael Reinsdorf, and vice president Leslie Forman, who is married to Bulls general manager Gar Forman.

The evening began with cocktails on the concourses, where past and present Chicago Bulls took time to mingle with fans, posing for photos and signing various memorabilia. The entire current roster was on hand, with the longest lines being, of course, to meet superstars Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer.

Later, guests were directed to the arena floor, where the hardwood had been covered and tables set up for a dinner of roasted chicken and ice cream sundaes. The team was introduced during the program, with each player running the Luvabulls’ gantlet to make his way onstage. The annual Charles Lubin Memorial Award was presented to the entire roster for its commitment to improving the Chicago community through charitable work. Boozer accepted the prize on behalf of the team.

Other familiar faces spotted among the jersey-clad crowd included former Bull Scottie Pippen and his wife, Larsa Pippen, of “The Real Housewives of Miami”; former Bulls assistant coach Johnny Bach, and Matt Pritzker, heir to the Pritzker family fortune, who recently has been conspicuously seated courtside at most Bulls games.

Tickets to the sports soiree began at $250, with bigger sponsors who purchased tables getting the chance to sit with the Bulls player of their choice. Money raised will go to Chicago Bulls Charities and its new focus on providing funds to organizations dedicated to youth education, health and wellness, and violence prevention.

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