The Bulls teamed up with the United Service Organization earlier today to throw a holiday party for 100 children, including 65 who either have a parent deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan or who have lost a family member during his or her time in service.
It was a special afternoon at the Berto Center, as members of the Bulls and its organization came out to spend time with the children, decorating cookies, signing autographs, taking pictures and coloring.
Each child also received a gift, personally donated by point guard Nate Robinson.
"It's great to have the kids here. I've been making cookies, putting smiles on kids' faces. It's a great event for the kids. They deserve it," Robinson said. "When I was a kid I didn't have a lot of toys. For them to have something they can get their hands on to play all day and all night, I thought it was a big deal for them."
It was also a special opportunity for a few soldiers, as loved ones brought along smartphones and used Skype to speak with players such as Jimmy Butler and Luol Deng, and general manager Gar Forman.
Forward Valadimir Radmanovic took part in the festivities, and said he can relate to the children because when he was drafted in 2001, he came alone from Yugoslavia and left his family behind.
"Holidays are always a great part of the year and having kids and the families of the troops is a pleasure," he said, "because my family wasn't with me, so I know what it means for them and what it means for me."
Kirk Hinrich, who injured his left elbow in Saturday night's 93-85 win over the Knicks, was also moved to see children who will be spending the holiday season without a loved one.
"It's real special to see all these kids. You think about a family member not being around for the holiday. The service they're doing hits home. Seeing these kids, you really think about how hard that would be," he said. "We let them know that we're here and we appreciate the sacrifice that they're making as well."