Chicago, IL (April 27, 2020) – In support of Chicago’s fight against COVID-19 and to aid the on-going efforts by United Way of Metro Chicago and The Chicago Community Trust, NBC Sports Chicago has announced a special fundraising event, Be Chicago: Together We Can, airing on Wednesday, April 29 at 7:00 PM CT (live stream also available to authenticated NBC Sports Chicago subscribers at NBCSportsChicago.com/WatchLive or via the “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app). This special four-hour telecast, benefiting the “Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund,” will feature appearances by Chicago’s beloved athletes from the Blackhawks, Bulls, White Sox, Bears and Cubs, music and comedy performances, special segments honoring the Chicago-area’s frontline heroes and much more.
Be Chicago: Together We Can is hosted by NBC Sports Chicago’s David Kaplan and NBC Sports Chicago & “NHL on NBC” analyst Eddie Olczyk, along with Pat Boyle, Chuck Garfien, Jason Goff, Laurence Holmes, Jamal Mayers and Leila Rahimi.
Following is a list of the exclusive special guest interviews, segments and performances:
CHICAGO SPORTS “REUNION” & “TEAM UP” SEGMENTS/GUESTS
- 1990s BULLS — Featuring Horace Grant, Will Perdue, Bill Wennington, along with NBC Sports Chicago Bulls “Insider” K.C. Johnson, these former Bulls and other key team members reunite to chat about dual three-peat glory years of the 90’s.
- 2005 WHITE SOX — Featuring Jermaine Dye, A.J. Pierzynski, Jon Garland, Cliff Politte, Geoff Blum and NBC Sports Chicago White Sox analyst Ozzie Guillen, members of the ’05 squad reflect back on the team’s amazing start, their late season bump in the road and eventual 11-1 playoff run to capture the franchise’s first World Series title in 88 years.
- 2010 BLACKHAWKS — Featuring Dave Bolland, Troy Brouwer, Andrew Ladd and Kris Versteeg, these 2010 Blackhawks season standouts reflect on life 10 years after bringing the city its first Stanley Cup title since 1961.
- BEARS LINEBACKER LEGENDS — Featuring Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs, this dynamic duo spent ten seasons together as teammates (2003-12), combining for 1,600 tackles and 35 sacks, two NFC Championship Games (2007 & 2010) and a trip to Super Bowl XLI.
- BLACKHAWKS BIGGEST TRADE of the 90s — Blackhawks legends Denis Savard and Chris Chelios reflect back to the summer of 1990 when Savard was traded to his hometown Montreal Canadiens and, in turn, sent Chelios home to his native Chicago. They also served as Blackhawks teammates from 1995-97.
- CHICAGO HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL LEGENDS — Featuring Isiah Thomas (St. Joseph H.S.), Jabari Parker (Simeon Career Academy) and NBC Sports Chicago Bulls analyst Kendall Gill (Rich Central H.S.), the trio discuss the successes and challenges of preps hoops in their time, along with how today’s high school athletes have to adjust to a new practice/game experience in the wake of COVID-19.
- NORTHWESTERN ALUMNI CHAT — Featuring four-time World Series champion and Philadelphia Phillies Manager Joe Girardi, two-time All-American linebacker/current NU Football Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald and veteran ESPN host/journalist Michael Wilbon, these NU greats discuss their student days on the Evanston campus and how the school helped shape their professional careers.
- WHITE SOX/BULLS/BEARS TEAM UP — Featuring White Sox 2019 AL Batting Champion Tim Anderson, Bulls rookie guard Coby White and Bears running back Tarik Cohen, the three young stars of their respective teams discuss their professional and personal adjustments during the COVID-19 pandemic and how this experience has changed their lives forever.
- CHICAGO – Featuring founding members Robert Lamm, Lee Loughnane and James Pankow, Chicago is one of the most successful acts in music history with album sales of over 100 million, including 47 gold and platinum album awards, along with inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Songwriters Hall of Fame and Grammy Hall of Fame.
- BRETT ELDREDGE – Country music superstar and Illinois native Eldredge, a recipient of multiple industry honors including a “Male Vocalist of the Year” nomination by the Academy of Country Music, will be releasing his fifth studio album entitled Sunday Drive on July 10.
- PLAIN WHITE T’s – From Lombard, Ill., Grammy nominee Plain White T’s lead singer/guitarist Tom Higgenson delivers an acoustic performance.
- FREDDY JONES BAND – Founded in Chicago in the early 1990’s by lead vocalist/guitarist Marty Lloyd, and featuring Rich Ross, Michael J and Goose LaPoint, the Freddy Jones Band is one America’s premiere “roots” rock bands best known for their hits “In a Daydream” and “One World.”
- JIM PETERIK – In a music career spanning more than 50 years, the Berwyn, Ill. native wrote/sang “Vehicle” with The Ides of March, founded the band Survivor, and penned one the 80’s biggest hits, “Eye of the Tiger.” The song reached #1 on the Billboard Top 100 charts in 1982, earning Peterik and his bandmates an Oscar and Grammy nomination.
HONORING CHICAGO’S FRONTLINE HEROES
Throughout Be Chicago: Together We Can, several of Chicago’s COVID-19 frontline heroes will share how they are battling and continuing their fight to help those in need during this critical time. With each of these interviews, NBC Sports Chicago has brought in a “surprise special guest” to thank these heroes for their selfless efforts, which include appearances by Bulls guard Zach LaVine, Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook, Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester, former Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano and NBC Sports Chicago White Sox analysts Ozzie Guillen and Scott Podsednik.
Additional guest appearances in the show include segments featuring WWE legend/mixed martial artist CM Punk, Grammy-nominated alt-rock band Fall Out Boy lead vocalist/guitarist Patrick Stump, WWE superstar Seth Rollins, comedian Pat McGann, actor/comedian Jake Johnson, former Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville and former Bears stars Kyle Long, Israel Idonije, Zach Miller and Tom Waddle.
“We have all been impacted by this crisis and we can get past it at some point, but we have to do it together,” said Kevin Cross, Senior Vice President/General Manager, NBC Sports Chicago. “Our commitment at NBC Sports Chicago is to be a part of our community through sports and if we can help those in need through this special event, then we will be living up to our commitment. United Way of Metro Chicago and The Chicago Community Trust have done an outstanding job providing for those in need through the ‘Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund’ and we couldn’t be prouder and more honored to assist them in their on-going efforts. On behalf of our entire network, I would like to thank the teams, athletes, musical artists and all the guests who immediately offered up their support to be a part of this special event, along with an additional thank you to our local NBCUniversal partners, NBC 5 and Telemundo Chicago, for their gracious promotional support.”
“When we started the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund in partnership with The Chicago Community Trust and the City of Chicago, we were confident that Chicagoans would step up to support their neighbors in whatever way they could,” added Sean Garrett, President and CEO of United Way of Metro Chicago. “We’ve been encouraged by how individuals and organizations have gone above and beyond to do their part. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but thanks to partners like NBC Sports Chicago, we’re able to provide essential resources to those in our region who are hit hardest by the crisis.”
To donate to NBC Sports Chicago’s Be Chicago: Together We Can” fundraiser benefiting the “Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund,” text Help4ChiCovid to 41444 or visit NBCSportsChicago.com/BeChicago.
Established on March 16, 2020, the “Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund” was created in tandem by the Chicago Community Trust and the United Way of Metro Chicago. In partnership with the City of Chicago, Chicago philanthropy, business leaders, and generous donors, the “Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund” has been rapidly deploying flexible resources to local nonprofit organizations serving those who are the most vulnerable in the region. Currently, this includes access to emergency food and basic supplies, rent and mortgage assistance, utility assistance and direct financial assistance for household expenses and medicine.
Among the populations being served via the “Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund” include the elderly, individuals with disabilities, medically-fragile individuals, individuals/families experiencing homelessness or unstable housing, households experiencing wage loss, immigrants and many others. Among the more than 140 local nonprofit organizations awarded grants through the “Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund” include Metropolitan Family Services, Meals on Wheels, Greater Chicago Food Depository, Salvation Army, Chicago Federation of Labor, Cradles to Crayons, American Red Cross, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Children First Fund: The Chicago Public Schools Foundation, and the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago. To date, the “Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund” has raised over $25 million for the region’s neediest individuals and families. For more information, including a full list of local nonprofits being served by the “Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund,” please visit chicagocovid19responsefund.org.
- NBC Sports Chicago will re-air Be Chicago: Together We Can on the following dates/times:
- Wed, Apr. 29 at 11:00 PM (subject to change)
- Thu, Apr. 30 at 6:00 AM & 9:00 PM
- Fans can also find exclusive Be Chicago: Together We Can interviews and performances on NBCSportsChicago.com and the “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app.
About NBC Sports Chicago
NBC Sports Chicago, a partnership between the Chicago Blackhawks (NHL), Chicago Bulls (NBA), Chicago White Sox (MLB) and the NBC Sports Group, features over 275 live pro games in high definition each year. In addition, NBC Sports Chicago delivers extensive pre/post-game coverage for its core pro team partners, as well as Chicago Bears and Chicago Cubs multi-platform coverage, plus – local sports discussion programs that includes SportsTalk Live, and massive cross-platform coverage provided by the network’s growing digital platform, NBCSportsChicago.com, the “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app, and its variety of fan-focused social media outlets. Fans can follow the network on Twitter via @NBCSChicago.
About United Way of Metro Chicago
United Way of Metro Chicago brings together businesses, government, nonprofits, and community leaders to deliver funding, resources, and expertise to nonprofit organizations across greater Chicago. We are working alongside our partners at the neighborhood level to tackle the systemic issues that have plagued our region, creating communities where children and families can thrive. United Way’s Neighborhood Network Initiative supports and coordinates investment and programming in 10 city and suburban communities to address community challenges and improve the lives of residents. United, we’re building stronger neighborhoods for a stronger Chicago region. For more information, visit LIVEUNITEDchicago.org.